Two Monks and a Woman

March 7, 2012 Nick Engvall

Two Monks and a Woman

Tibetan Monks Mandala

Sometimes I need reminders to let my mind know that running a marathon when the race is only a few hundred meters is not exactly efficient. I woke up with the scenes from the story below playing repeatedly in my head this morning. After a few disturbing dreams last night, which are a friendly reminder for me to sleep less, it was odd that this story is what I woke up seeing in my mind because I’ve been doing a lot of letting go in the past couple of weeks.

Expectations of what I want in life don’t always pan out as planned but when I cut out the “stuff” and stick to the core of what makes me happy, I’m very blessed. Maybe not with the societal norms of material goods, fancy cars and jewelry, but people, love, and the energy that those people share with me is enough to keep a smile on my face and laughter in my heart during the toughest of times.

As I continue soul searching for the chapters in my real life “choose your own adventure” book, the story below, and the mandala above are helping to create the next path. Ironically, they both come from my past, or previous chapters, where I may have chosen a different path to get to where I am today.  The two key points that I’ve come to after this morning are:

1. The right thing to do isn’t always the same as what the societal rules would suggest. (Story below)

2. Just because I put in the effort to create something beautiful, something I can be proud of, doesn’t mean it has to remain in the physical sense but rather it remains in my heart. Seeing the Buddhist Monks create the mandala in person and knowing that it is such a short lived entity before being blown away, makes me realize that the work I put into things is minimally significant compared to the joy its results may bring myself and others.


Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.

As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!”

“Brother,” the second monk replied, “I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.”

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Nick Engvall

Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector, and Sneaker News, helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, StockX, and Stadium Goods better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.

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