Fame, Fortune And Dignity
Fame, fortune and dignity are things that mankind long for. This will not be any problem unless they have a strong desire or high expectation, of having them. When strong desire or high expectation dominates mankind, they only chase after what they want, without wisdom. They don’t know that fame, fortune and dignity are empty and impermanent. Fame, fortune and dignity are like shadow; without wisdom, they chase after the fame, fortune and dignity like chasing after their own shadow. They never grab it. We can long for fame, fortune and dignity, but not with strong desire or high expectation. It must be based on wisdom; realising things are impermanent. With realization or wisdom, fame or defamation, fortune and dignity do not matter; they are acceptable.
Those, who do not realise impermanence, cannot accept the truth. They still expect and long for fame, fortune and dignity, but they grab nothing, only disappointment. It is like the story of man who chases after fame, fortune and dignity. Here is the detail:
There was a government official who longed for fame, fortune and dignity. He served the old king who loved poetry. When he knew that, he tried in many ways to please the king, for example, he strove to learn to write a poem. He thought, “This is one way for me to get promotion or fame, fortune and dignity”. While he was learning to be a poet, the king passed away. The prince was crowned king. But this king did not like poetry, he liked military matters or going to war. Therefore, he had to change his attitude. He strove to learn to be a warrior, to serve the new king. He thought, “This is one way to gain fame, fortune and dignity, or get promoted”. He learned very hard.
Because this king liked to make war, he was killed in the battlefield and his son was crowned king. The young king did not like either poetry or military matters or going to war, he liked playing chess. He was fond of whoever could play chess or be good at playing chess. He did not care for a poet or military officials.
At this point the official was old and hopeless, the thought arose in his mind, “Three kings I have tried to serve to get fame, fortune and dignity, or promotion. But all I have done is in vain. I have taken trouble to learn this and that, and change my life style according to all these kings. But I can gain nothing from what I have tried. I wasted my whole life for fame, fortune and dignity and promotion; now I am like an old bird watching fish. I have no power to catch any fish, even dead fish”. Shortly after that, he died in confusion.
The moral of the story is; chasing after fame, fortune and dignity without wisdom, you grab nothing, just like chasing after your own shadow.
Knowing this, we should not work with strong desire and high expectations. On the contrary, we should work with wisdom, so we don’t end up in trouble like the official in the story.
Work with wisdom, and we will see the consequences of our actions.