Mirror, Mirror

One of my favourite Buddhist teachings is the Oneness of Self and Environment. Basically, it means that your inner life creates your outer life.

I came across a cute story years ago that illustrates this fact that, quite literally, what you experience in your environment is all about your own inner life state.

Once upon a time, in a village in a land far away, stood the House of a Thousand Mirrors.

A happy little dog learned of this place, and decided to visit. When she arrived, she bounced joyfully up the stairs to the doorway, and looked through, ears lifted high and tail wagging as fast as it could go.

To her great surprise, she found herself staring at a thousand other happy little dogs, with their tails wagging just as fast as hers. She smiled a great big smile, and a thousand big smiles just as warm and friendly as hers answered her.

As she left the house, she thought to herself, “This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often.”

In this same village, another little dog, not as happy as the first one, also decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs, his head hanging low as he warily looked through the doorway.

When he saw a thousand unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he flattened his ears, bristled his fur and bared his teeth at them. He was horrified to see a thousand little dogs growl back at him.

As he left, he thought to himself, “This is a horrible place. I will never come back again.”


Life is a mirror, and we find only ourselves reflected in our associates. ~ Florence Scovel Shinn