PeterB wrote: "A kindly monkey saw a fish in a pool and wanting to help, the monkey scooped the fish out of the water and placed it in a tree for safe keeping."
WIthout the other parts, that story I would believe *smile* but a monkey with so much awarness, seeing a worm needs shadow would not place a fish on a tree.
How ever, it is a importand issue. Let me add a story:
Balancing Wisdom and Compassion
Wisdom must always be balanced by compassion, and compassion must be balanced by wisdom. We cannot have peace without this balance. I would like to share three stories to illustrate this.
One day, a violent dragon king met a Bodhisattva on the path. The Bodhisattva said, „My son, do not kill. If you keep the five precepts and care for all life, you will be happy.“ Hearing just these few words, the dragon became totally nonviolent.
The children who tended animals at the foot of the Himalayan mountains had been very afraid of the dragon. But when the dragon became gently, they lost there fear and soon began to jump on him, pull his tail, and stuff stones and dirt into his mouth. After a while, the dragon could not eat, and became very sick.
The next time the dragon king met the Bodhisattva, he shouted, “You told me that if I kept the precepts and was compassionate, I would be happy. But now I suffer, and I am not happy at all.”
The Boddhisattva replied, “My son, if you have compassion, morality, and virtue, you must also have wisdom and intelligence. This is the way to protect yourself. The next time the children make you suffer, show them your fire. After that, they will trouble you no more.”
Who was harmed when the dragon lacked wisdom? Both the dragon and the children suffered.
The balance of wisdom and compassion is called the middle path. Here is another story. Once an old farmer found a dying cobra in his ricefield. Seeing the cobra’s suffering, the farmer was filled with compassion. He picked up the snake and carried him home. Then he fed the cobra warm milk, wrapped him in a soft blanket, and lovingly placed the snake beside him in his bed as he went to sleep. In the morning, the farmer was dead.
Why was he killed? Because he used compassion and not wisdom. If you pick up a cobra, it will bite you. When you find a way to save the dying cobra without lifting it, you have balanced wisdom with compassion. Then you are happy, and the cobra is happy, too.
Here is the third story: There was a farmer who went into the forest with his friend to gather wood. When the farmer struck a tree with his axe, he disturbed a beehive, and a swarm of angry bees flew out and began stinging him.
The farmer’s friend was filled with compassion. He grabbed his axe and killed the bees with swift, mighty blows. Unfortunately, he also killed the farmer.
Compassion without wisdom can cause great suffering. We might even say, “It is better to have a wise enemy than a foolish friend.”
Wisdom and compassion must walk together. Having one without the other is like walking with one foot. You may hop a few times, but eventually you will walk very well - slowly and elegantly, step by step.
(from “Step by Step” by Maha Ghosananda)