Since time immemorial, spiritual truths have been woven into stories, whether as folktale, fable, legend, parable, historical anecdote or yarn. With wit and candor, insight and delight, picturesque tales which captivate the imagination have brought a bountiful harvest to countless generations young and old.
The piquant cornucopia of tales which follows draws on stories still being told today by the living lamas of Tibet in the course of their spiritual teachings. Transmitted through the ancient oral tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, an inexhaustible repository of sacred lore as well as Buddhist law, most have never before been committed to writing. Some of these tales date from the time of the historical Buddha himself, twenty five hundred years ago; others retell interesting incidents from more recent times.
All these tantalizing stories share one thing in common: they are teaching tales, meant to edify, instruct and admonish -- and entertain. They are for scholars and sages as well as nomads, shepherds and farmers. As charming as fairy tales yet as pointed as Biblical parables, this unpublished oral material is replete with Himalayan folklore, magic, ribaldry and the exotic marvels of Oriental culture, while full of uncommon spiritual wisdom and common sense. Recorded, translated, gathered and retold in the same generous spirit in which they have traditionally been received -- as spoken instructions from teacher to student, at the feet of contemporary Tibetan masters -- these small gifts of love are like ferries to that far shore of genuine inner experience, truth itself. Tales are clues. Truth is the universal panacea -- as fabulous as the Philosopher's Stone. It must be touched and experienced, not merely heard.