365 Days for Travelers: Mar 20


Wisdom from Chinese Literary and Buddhist Classics

FOUR-YEAR-OLD OLD MAN

One day, a young man saw an old man. He was
curious and asked, “Sir, can you tell me how old
you are?” With a smile, the old man replied,
“Oh! I am four years old.”
As it turned out, the old man was already in his
eighties, but had only discovered Buddhism by
chance and found the real meaning of life four
years ago.

Many people would like longevity, but seldom
consider their pursuits in life. It is said in the
Treatise on the Scripture of Adorning the Great
Vehicle, “It is difficult to be born as a human; it is
also difficult to cultivate faith.

It is difficult for money and valuables to bring
contentment; it is also difficult to come across a
field of merits again.” Having heard the way in
the morning, one may die content in the evening!

Being a four-year-old old man is not lamentable.
What is lamentable is speaking of the illusory in a
dream, and assume the false as real, just like the
perplexity of Zhuang Zhou dreaming that he was
a butterfly without knowing that he was Zhou.