I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighboring town of Venice, Italy, the city of lights and water.
As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, “Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.”
We heard this order with rather interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two.
When he left, the waiter put a piece of paper on the wall saying “A Cup of Coffee”.
While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he put a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee”.
It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left.
After a few days, we had a chance to go to this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man poorly dressed entered. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, “One cup of coffee from the wall.”
The waiter served coffee to this man with the customary respect and dignity. The man had his coffee and left without paying.
We were amazed to watch all this, as the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the trash bin.
Now it was no surprise for us – the matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town made our eyes well up in tears.
Ponder upon the need of what this man wanted. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem… he has no need to ask for a free cup of coffee… without asking or knowing about the one who is giving this cup of coffee to him… he only looked at the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed his coffee and left.
A truly beautiful thought. Probably the most beautiful wall you may ever see anywhere!
He who utters gentle, instructive, true words, who by his speech gives offence to none — him I call a Brahmin (Dhammapada 408).
Nothing is to be done out of jealousy or vanity; instead, out of humility of mind everyone should give preference to others, everyone pursuing not selfish interests but those of others (Philippians 2:3-4).
Hospitality should be shown to even one’s foe when he comes to one’s house. The tree withdraws not its shade from even the person that approaches it for cutting it down (Mahabharata, Shanti Parva 146, 5).
Those who act kindly in this world will have kindness (shown to them) (Qur’an 39:10).
The religious merit of visiting sixty-eight holy places, is not equal to the approved merit of mercy towards creatures (Adi Granth V, Majh Rag).