Posted by: Lea | October 13, 2008

Releasing The Cows

Buddha Story

As told by Master Thich Nhat Hanh

One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.

The farmer said, “Monks, I’m so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don’t know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.

The Buddha said, “My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction.”

So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, “My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don’t have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.

“That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing (laughter). You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows.”



  1. Great story thanks for sharing. By releasing we allow more abundance to enter our life because we are not afraid that it will be gone.

  2. I’m glad you liked the story. Attachments affect our lives in so many negative ways. Thank you for coming by and for your comment. Have a great day filled with many blessings

  3. I have become a fan of your blog, and have left you an award. Hope you like it.

  4. I was raised Catholic – yet also highly encouraged to learn & read Eastern Philosophy. I learned quite young that material possessions are not the goal in life. On the other hand, my hubby was raised on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. In his family there was no other meaning to life, other than acquiring wealth. Long story short – it took a bout of drug addiction & the subsequent rehab, for my husband to finally learn how to ‘release’ the cow.
    Awesome post –

  5. I love this blog. Your story, by releasing we become free of burden and therefore able to live in the moment.

  6. Hello dawn

    Sounds like he went through hard times while trying to live the capitalist dream. I’m glad to hear that he finally saw what the root of his unhappiness was. Thank you for coming by and for sharing your wisdom. Many blessings

  7. Hello jodapoet

    I’m so glad you enjoy Ocean Of Perspectives, I really appreciate your feedback. Your right, once we are able to free ourselves of attachments and distractions, then we can truly enjoy the present moment. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your nice comment. Many blessings

  8. I just recently found your blog. Angelbaby of “Your Caring Angels” recommended it for our BlogDumps Top Site Tuesday meme this week. I like your blog and the inspiring messages and posts you have. I will take the time to explore it more and read your older posts. I hope you can continue to update this site and provide more inspiring messages for all of us. It’s a wonderful blog!!!

    • Thank you Liggy, I’m glad you like my site and I appreciate your encouragement

  9. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to release all one’s cows. I started releasing mine after a divorce, and not really consciously, at first. Funny thing is, the relief of the responsibility of maintaining the cows was impetus for releasing more, until finally the releasing became easier and easier with much less grieving involved. I highly recommend it for greater peace of mind.

    • Well said Nona & thank you. Blessings


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