Here’s a lovely story from Gautama Buddha about a rich father and his poor son, it reminds me a little about the prodigal son, a parable by Jesus.
Once there was a very rich man, but due to his wealth his son was lazy and did not know how to earn money. This used to trouble his father a lot, and he lost his sleep wondering what his son would do when he died.
As the father grew older, he was more worried as his son didn’t seem to change. He had a feeling that after he passes away, his son would end up spending all his inheritance and even end up selling the house.
The father filled with worry decided to do something about it, he made a black warm jacket for himself and wore it every day until it was old and lost its shine. He told his son, my son, when I die and if you end up selling everything, only promise me that you will not sell this jacket that you will inherit.
His son agreed, soon his father passed away and as his father expected he quickly ended up spending all his inheritance without the ability to earn. After a while he sold the house and ended up spending all the money.
All he was left with was the jacket and the clothes he wore, when his money was over his friends had left too. Homeless, he walked the streets and begged for his survival. One day while lying down, he felt something poking into him, causing discomfort.
He thought it was something on the ground, but it wasn’t, he checked the pocket of his jacket, there wasn’t anything there. But he realized that it was something in the jacket, so he looked carefully and after opening the lining of the jacket he found a gem that his father had kept for him.
He was thrilled that his father had given him a second chance, and he didn’t end up spending all of it and used it to buy a house, start a business and share his wealth.
Buddha said, all of us are like the destitute son, we too have inherited great wealth but aren’t aware of it. Like the son, we are wandering around like the homeless thinking we are poor. We have treasures of enlightenment, joy, understanding and love inside us.
All we have to do is look within, rediscover our hidden gems and allow them to manifest for us to be happy.
Interesting, isn’t it? From this one short parable, I personally reflected on it and learnt three lessons.
1) When you are aware of how a person is, put yourself in the father’s shoes and be patient, plan ahead, so you don’t lose your cool and give a second chance.
2) Like the son, make the most of what you have been given when someone gives you a second chance, especially a loved one, do better than your best to never let them down again.
3) The lesson Buddha imparts, it’s very easy to forget that all the love, peace and joy within us. Don’t lose track of our gifts.
The parable has been adapted from, “A Pebble in Your Pocket” a book by Thich Nhat Hanh where he stated being mindful is the key to remembering these gifts, always remember to breath consciously to stay at the moment.