The Most Valuable
People think that when they have a lot of things that they want, they will be happy. In fact, happiness does not depend on the possession of material things: it depends on how they make use of them. We can see this in life. For instance, many people have a lot of money, but they are not happy. Why are they not happy? One of the answers is that they don’t know how to make use of their money. So it is not valuable for their life. There is a Zen story, which illustrates this well. Here is the story:
There was once a millionaire, who had a big castle and a beautiful Zen garden that cost a lot of money which was supposed to show how happy and rich he was. Every morning he walked in the garden, which was well maintained by a good gardener, just to look at it. One particular morning, he got up early and went for a walk in his Zen garden, just as usual. That morning, a beggar approached him and asked him for breakfast. The rich man said to the beggar, “Wait here a moment and I’ll fetch you the food.” Then he went to the kitchen and asked the cook for the food and brought it for the beggar.
While the beggar was waiting for his food, he walked in the garden and enjoyed the scent and beauty of it. When the millionaire came back, he called to the beggar to get his food. The beggar came to get his food and said, “Thank you very much, sir”. The beggar then commented, “Sir, you have very beautiful garden and flowers, which give out a wonderful scent throughout. I have enjoyed being here very much, thank you, sir.” The millionaire was surprised to hear the beggar say how much he enjoyed this garden in which the millionaire himself had walked every morning. For the millionaire neither enjoyed it, nor smelled any scent from the flowers. Following this, he walked back into the garden and calmed his mind; and as a result he heard the sound of silence, the good smell of the flowers and saw the beauty of nature. And then he realized that he had had many valuable things for a long time, but without this insight would not have known how to enjoy them.
From the story, we can see that there are a lot of people who are like the millionaire, who did not enjoy their possessions, or make use of them. So we should learn to realize what we have and how to make use and enjoy what we already possess. And we should not forget to be satisfied with what we have as well.
Remember: the most valuable thing in our life is what we can make use of, to enjoy it, and be satisfied with it, and not just to see the possession of it as being important in itself.