The Scripture of the Fo...

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The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Four: The Way of Humanity

27

The Founding Master was visiting the agricultural department and, seeing emaciated pigs in a pen, asked for an explanation. Yi Tongan replied, “While we were feeding them barley that got a bit spoiled during this year’s rainy season, they were getting fatter every day. Starting a few days ago, we began to feed them chaff again, but they can’t change their acquired taste for barley and so they lost their appetite. So they’re getting skinnier like this.” The Founding Master said, “This is a living scripture. The sufferings of the rich who become poor or the powerful who lose their rank are no different than the sufferings of these pigs. Hence, since time immemorial, the sages have all regarded human wealth and honor matter-of-factly, and did not become overly happy when wealth and honor came their way nor overly concerned when wealth and honor left. In ancient times, the emperor Shun received the rank of the Son of Heaven after doing such lowly jobs as cultivating the fields or making pottery, but he never became arrogant. The World Honored One Śākyamuni abdicated his destined position of king and, fleeing the palace, left the household life behind; but he didn’t retain even the slightest attachment. How equanimous were their attitudes toward wealth and honor, and how admirable was their power to transcend suffering and happiness! Hence, if you too aspire to the Way and want to learn how to be a sage or a saint, do not blindly pursue comfort, joy, or power above all else but rather shun them; and even if you unavoidably find yourself in such situations, do not let yourself become attached or corrupted by them. You will then be able to enjoy eternal comfort, eternal honor, and eternal power.”