The Mexican Fisherman

by Ajahn Brahm

In a quiet Mexican fishing village, an American on vacation was watching a local fisherman unload his morning catch. The American, a successful professor at a prestigious business school, couldn't resist giving the Mexican fisherman a little bit of free advice.

"Hey!" he began. "Why are you finishing so early?"

"Since I have caught enough fish, Senor," replied the genial Mexican, "enough to feed my family and a little extra to sell. Now I will take some lunch with my wife and, after a little siesta in the afternoon, I will play with my children. Then, after dinner, I will go to the cantina, drink a little tequila and play some guitar with my friends. It is enough for me, Senor."

"Listen to me, my friend," said the business professor. "If you stay out at sea until late afternoon, you will easily catch twice as much fish. You can sell the extra, save up the money, and in six months, maybe nine, you'll be able to buy a bigger and better boat and hire some crew. Then you'll be able to catch four times as many fish. Think of the extra money you will make! In another year or two, you will have the capital to buy a second fishing boat and hire another crew. If you follow this business plan, in six or seven years you will be the proud owner of a large fishing fleet. Just imagine that! Then you should move your head office to Mexico City, or even to L.A. After only three or four years in L.A., you float your company on the stock market, giving yourself, as CEO, a generous salary package with substantial share options. In a few more years - listen to this! - you initiate a company share buyback scheme, which will make you a multimillionaire! Guaranteed! I'm a well-known professor at a US business school; I know these things."

The Mexican fisherman listened thoughtfully at what the animated American had to say. When the professor had finished, the Mexican asked him, "But, Senor Professor, what will I do with so many millions of dollars?"

Surprisingly, the American professor hadn't thought the business plan through that far. So he quickly figured out what a person would do with millions of dollars.

"Amigo! With all that dough, you can retire. Yeah! Retire for life. You can buy a little villa in a picturesque fishing village like this one, and purchase a small boat for going fishing in the morning. You can have lunch with your wife every day, and a siesta afterwards with nothing to worry you. In the afternoon you can spend quality time with your kids and, after dinner in the evening, play guitar with your friends in the cantina, drinking tequila. Yeah, with all that money, my friend, you can retire and take it easy."

"But, Senor Professor, I do all that already."

Why do we believe we have to work so hard and get rich first, before we can find contentment?



AJAHN BRAHM grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in London. Scholarships got him to Cambridge University where he garnered a degree in Theoretical Physics. Eventually disillusioned with the world of academe, he trained as a monk in the jungles of Thailand under the highly esteemed Buddhist master Ajahn Chah. A monk for over thirty years, Ajahn Brahm is a revered spiritual guide and the abbot of one of the largest monasteries in the southern hemisphere, regularly drawing multinational audiences of thousands.


Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? by Ajahn Brahm. The 108 stories in Who Ordered this Truckload of Dung? offer thoughtful commentary on everything from love and commitment to fear and pain. Drawing from his own life experience, as well as traditional Buddhist folk tales, author Ajahn Brahm uses over 30 years of spiritual growth as a monk to spin delightful tales that can be enjoyed in silence or read aloud to friends and family. Featuring titles such as "The Two-Finger Smile" and "The Worm and His Lovely Pile of Dung," these wry and witty stories provide playful, pithy takes on the basic building blocks of everyday like. Suitable for children, adults, and anyone in between, this eloquent volume wraps insight and inspiration inside of a good old yarn.


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