Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai, Hsihu, Formosa,
July 12, 1992 (originally in Chinese) Videotape No. 268
This is a folk story passed down by the Jewish people. There was a very rich man who had plenty of property. One day, he suddenly fell seriously ill and couldn't recover. Since he was very rich, his family invited many famous doctors from places around the country to cure him, but none succeeded.
The man's health deteriorated and he seemed to have no hope of getting healed. Just when his family was in utter desperation, a spiritual practitioner who came from afar passed by and told them, "If you can find a very happy person, take his clothes and let your father wear them, then he'll be cured."
Upon hearing this, the rich man's family set off in all directions looking for a happy person. However, after searching high and low, they could not find a truly happy person. The so-called happy people they found weren't perfectly happy in every way so they couldn't be regarded as truly happy people. The family carried on searching until they finally gave up. Nevertheless, one of the rich man's sons was extremely filial. Unable to bear separation from his father, he was determined to see his father healed. Thus he left his hometown and went to faraway places, with his mind set on finding a truly happy person.
One day, the rich man's son became exhausted by his tedious journey. Dusk was falling so he tried to find a resting place and came upon a cave where he decided to spend the night. As he approached the mouth of the cave, he heard a resounding voice from within saying, "Oh! I'm such a happy man! I had such a wonderful day today. I'm happy every day! Everything is fine with me. I'm delighted and happy with everything! I'm the happiest person in the world! I'm a truly happy man!" These words were repeated over and over, accompanied by joyful laughter. Finally, the voice said, "Oh! I'm sleepy now. I'm going to sleep in happiness. Even if I were to die now, I would still be very happy!" (Master and everyone laugh.)
The rich man's son rejoiced to hear this and thought, "I've found the cure for my father's illness!" He then quickly slipped into the cave, hoping to find the person and take his clothes from him. But when he went inside, he found that the man was completely naked! (Master and everyone laugh.) He wasn't wearing anything! The son stood there stunned, not knowing what to do.
Seeing his disappointment and frustration, the happy man asked, "What's wrong?" And the rich man's son replied, "I failed to find something that I'm looking for." So the happy man asked, "What are you looking for?" The rich man's son replied, "My father is critically ill, and a spiritual practitioner told us that if we could find a truly happy person, we should take off his clothes and let my father wear them, then he'd be cured. That's why I'm here to take your clothes. I never dreamt that you wouldn't be wearing anything!" The happy man said, "Sigh! If I were wearing something, I wouldn't be so happy now!" (Master and everyone laugh. Everyone applauds.)
What he meant was that if he possessed any property, he would be burdened and wouldn't be so happy. Precisely because he had nothing, he was free of any pressure, not having to worry about losing anything, about his things being stolen or destroyed. He also didn't have to worry about what to do should he not have a certain thing the next day. Since he had nothing to compare with others, he didn't have to worry about other people having something better. Therefore, he was free of worries. He didn't have to worry about anything, such as people stealing his things or hurting him. That's why he was so happy.
This story is quite relevant to spiritual practice. It doesn't mean that we'll be happy if we don't have any property; it also doesn't mean that we'll have worries or be happy if we have a lot of wealth. Whether we're happy or unhappy can't be measured by our wealth. It mainly depends on our heart. If we have some wealth, but we don't cling to it and we use it in the right place, then we can say we possess no wealth and aren't attached to it. Suppose we have no wealth and can't earn money, but then we say that the grapes are sour because we have no grapes to eat (Master and everyone laugh), then we're not truly happy people.
The man in this story most probably was a truly happy person. We can tell from the way he talked. In fact, true happiness at heart is not to be derived from wealth or poverty. However, for most people, excessive wealth can easily lead to bondage. Even if they hate to be bound, sometimes, they will still be bound unknowingly. They have to take care of their wealth, develop and manage it. Besides, they worry that others may take possession of their wealth, that they may arouse jealousy, or that their wealth may be squandered by their children; many conditions worry them. It's not that we're being greedy. However, if we do have some property, we have to manage it. If we don't have anything, then we don't need to bother.