A film by Sustainable Human.

In "The Story of the Chinese Farmer," philosopher Alan Watts looks at the idea of what we consider good or bad fortune with the parable of a Chinese farmer, who refuses to see anything as positive or negative. This beautifully animated video will make you question whether one can truly know if something is good or bad when you can never know the consequences.


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  • Janine Janaki

    A question that I like to invite often, particularly under apparently adverse circumstances is: what makes me think that this is not for the Highest Good? This welcomes a perspective more expansive than the one held hostage by the reasonable mind and senses!

  • Diane

    A favourite idea is "Reflect --dont react" and this simple but profound story reminds me of that.

  • Irene M Kelly

    Jane Kerschner shared it. Love the simplicity and the lack of judgment. I'm going to adopt more "maybes"!

  • ava

    "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so." Mel + azba + Jagdish = perfect!

  • Nimmi

    Positive attitude is very important. One should not be judgmental to others.

  • v.subrahmanian

    The attitude of equanimity to all situations/events in life. That is the characteristic of a sthita prajna described in the Bhagavadgita. That attitude makes a man wise.

  • mukesh

    Positive attitude keeps your mind cool.

  • Duchess

    A favorite parable but love the addition of hearing Mr. Watts narrate and the animation adds too.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    One of my favorite Folktales and a great reminder of non judgement of our experiences.

  • Neema

    Life depends on the way we look

  • Linda Comer

    Challenges in our lives can be challenging and rewarding or destroy us. It's our choice.

  • Fanny van Loggerenberg

    That one cannot predict the outcome of what happens, whether good or bad.


    do not be too glad neither too sad BEHAVE IN THE MIDDLE WAY.

  • Sosanna

    The spiritual thinkers as well as astrologers in India think that there is nothing that is good or bad. It is just circumstance in the flux of time. All that matters is how you handle it. Or not.

  • yvonne kaye

    My husband - my unexpected gift - died in June of this year. this video has put in place that which I could not comprehend. he lived this philosophy. On many occasions I would say 'I want what you have' and never achieved it. perhaps in the pain of his death, I will.

  • Jeremy

    Yes, I can agree totally, I had cancer awhile back, terrible news, but I beat it, so instead of taking life so seriously, I am just thankful for every day, the big man upstairs gives me!...and never take anything for granted....

  • vidya bhushan

    This video reinforces the theory of karma - do your job or task, don't be affected by the consequence.

  • Jeffrey Farrar Dean

    It is what it is, neither good nor bad.

  • Ari

    One of my favorite stories, but I've never seen it in animation. Grateful to have this new version to share!

  • Brian

    Thanks Guys. Happy Holidays. For some its "Maybe", for others "Let Go n' Let God"...others "The Law of Attraction"...we unify on the love that knits all our hearts together...Viva Karma Tube...peace on Earth...

  • Dennis

    The days of our lives could not be judged by anyone in this world without the wisdom of our Lord God in Heaven. I live because of God's mercy and I do trust Him always. Still the Great God's wisdom will prevail until our last days here on earth. God be the Glory in Jesus name I say these . Amen.

  • donna

    have been a long time fan of Alan Watts - lived on a houseboat in Sausalito, just north of San Francisco (where I was living as well) - he was one of the original and most influential and profound writers/teachers back in the 60s and 70s - I hope that those of you who aren't/weren't familiar with him will find a few of his books and explore the man -

  • Mel

    Like the farmer, we can have peace if we don't judge and don't expect. Throughout lifes twist and turns, we can always be at peace for we do not know what comes next.

  • Shobi

    How boring the world would be if we always new the results of it's actions. What an adventure we live in! As I approach my 80s I've learned to be in my child heart -- to cry when it hurts and laugh when I play and become eager for what is to come in this great play of life.

  • Brian

    Umm... Kind of elementary and the attempt to make it prophetic, with the "God Head" in the sky at the end makes me feel as if the narrator and the promoters of this clip doubt our own natural keen abilities to reason with even the most basic of human natures... That is... to survive and rise up when adversity weighs down upon us. We are time tested/proven already that way for these past 10,000 years or so, to survive, I'd say. I love the actual voice of the narrator though. He's was terrific in the classic film: "The Time Machine" when his character provided a great answer of why we cannot change the past. You'll have to see the film if you want to know that answer! :)

  • Jack

    In reading "When things fall apart by Pema Chodron. This idea of impermanance and not knowing is the Buddhist Theme and enlíghtening. This story is quoted in Her book. It is a difficult concept because we always to want to control things and make them Right but Really we cant and dont know. I liked the video.

  • azba

    Never judge anything,anyone:)

  • Carol

    Could have done without the "message" from the sky at the end -- it was clear from the story itself. Good otherwise!

  • Don Mega

    When all the good stuff was happening, I thought the story was good. Then when all the bad stuff happened, I thought the story kinda sucked. By the end of the story when I asked myself if I enjoyed the story, I found the most satisfying answer to be .... Maybe.

  • Jagdish

    Take Life as it comes,be Greatful

  • Jyoti

    May be! So live in now and do not speculate for you may not see the large canvass

  • Satish Kumar

    Amazing. So true. Thank you !!!

  • Deepak

    Thank you . so true .

  • Susanna Plain

    So true and I finally learnt this after a long time of not being aware.

  • Cindy

    Such wise words, wish I would have known them before I was 58 years old. Lovely thoughts indeed.

  • georgia king

    Happy to share this wisdom nosh.

  • georgia king

    This story pops up in the world of wisdom nuggets. I like the Alan Watts version.

  • satwinder

    Beautiful. Truly Gem of knowledge and wisdom. I have read about Alan Watts in, I think, zenpencils before too. Very nicely way to drive the message home.

  • Page 1

  • Learn more about Alan Watts, the philosopher and writer who narrates the parable of the Chinese farmer.
  • Join Sustainable Human to help humanity change the story of the world.
  • Before you jump to a conclusion about an event, consider the moral of this parable.

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