Tea House

Daily Perspectives and Stories on Buddhist Trends

Category: The Art of Failing

No Tomorrow

Inspired by the Maranassati Sutta

The moment she was born Gemma knew she was about to die. By all accounts she was unlike any other child: she never got excited about Christmas and she never got upset when she was grounded. In fact her brother tells me she didn’t even bat an eyelid when her parents announced they were getting separated. It seemed Gemma had always just gone along with anything that was thrown her way, in the knowledge that she would only need to endure it for a few moments longer. And in her own way, she had breezed through life.

She had been the opposite to her brother Stuart, an excitable, feisty little boy. It was unfair really. Stuart had always cared, really badly. He cared when he found out there was no such thing as Father Christmas, and he cared when his parents were separated. And above anything else, Stuart cared that Gemma was always about to die.

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Nina Müller

Inspired by the Tittha Sutta

The night was still and fresh, and not a sound was to be heard—a perfect time for the first snowflake to make its appearance, and soon it was followed by many more until the whole village was wrapped up in winter’s soft embrace.

But as the sun rose and the first shutters opened onto the village square, it was not the snow that got the villagers running out of their homes but the curious mystery that had arrived with it that night. For in the middle of the square stood a gigantic, rectangular parcel that towered above every single rooftop. That it was a parcel was clear, for it was enveloped in white silk and long, golden ribbons shimmered down its sides. What was not so clear was how it had landed there—for not a single footprint surrounded it, and yet it must have arrived after the snowfall because its spectacular wrapping remained intact.

A meeting had been called between the village elders as soon as they were alerted of the mystery and it had been unanimously agreed that this was a matter for the armed forces. Unfortunately, despite the urgency of the situation, it would be at least a day before the required forces could be dispatched to the village and so—for the remainder of the day—the parcel stood tall and silent, dominating the square.

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Nina Müller

Inspired by the Metta Sutta


Sara woke up in a panic to the stillness of the room. Her first reaction was to glance at her brother’s empty bunk, as she had done every morning for the past two years. She felt the familiar pang of grief deep in her gut. This normally lasted a few seconds and then, as usual, her mind returned to more recent worries: would Miss Heather make her read in front of the class? Would her mother join her and her father for dinner tonight? Today, however, these worries did not occupy her thoughts long, for something seemed to be terribly wrong… Not only had her dad not woken her up, but now that she was awake, there was no sign at all that her parents were around. She did not hear her mother’s impatient high heels on the stairs, nor her parents’ habitual bickering as they set about their morning tasks.

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The Dung Beetle

Nina Müller

Inspired by the Pilahaka Sutta

untitledRonnie stood at the mirror and beamed at the pristine reflection that shone back at him. He had greased his hair and parted it down the middle and was wearing his trendiest suit, which he had ironed himself last night. He straightened himself and grinned at the thought of his entrance into the conference room. The partners would nod at him with respect, and he imagined Francine giving him a cheeky wink as he swaggered past her on his way to the whiteboard. He was meant for this position, he knew it, and his reflection confirmed that he would get it.

Now all he needed was the final touch, the tie with the yellow stripes that added a hint of adventure to his classy look—a clever combination which had brought him success time and time again. He walked to his dresser, grabbing his pungent deodorant on the way and dousing himself with it one last time. Odd, he thought, when he got to the closet and saw that his tie was not on the top shelf as it should be. He checked the two lower shelves and cast a quick glance at his watch—he had exactly eight minutes to make it to the bus stop.

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