Wise men, who have attained true wisdom, say that desires are the ones that keep us anchored to this world. We grasp after sensual pleasures and material objects. The roman poet and philosopher Lucretius said that “so long as the object of our desire is wanting, it seems more important than anything else; but later, when it is ours, we covet some other thing; and so an insatiable thirst for life keeps us always open-mouthed.”
The following story speaks:
A beggar came into the royal palace. The King was in the garden at the time and heard the gardener talking to the beggar. When the gardener wanted to give something to the beggar, the latter said:
“I have one condition. I always take from the master, never the servants.”
The King went to inspect this strange beggar, for beggars do not set demands. Upon seeing him, he noticed this was no ordinary beggar. Despite his clothes being in tatters, he had never seen such a kingly character before. His begging bowl, which he was holding in his hands, was exceptionally precious.
The King asked:
“Why are you making demands?” To which the beggar replied:
“Servants are beggars as well. Only masters have the authority to give. If you wish, you can give me something. But I have one more condition: the bowl has to be filled to the brim.”
The King smiled and said:
“Do you really think I cannot fill this little bowl?” He ordered precious stones to be brought from his treasury, and the beggar’s bowl filled to the brim. When it was done, the precious stones seemed to disappear in it without a sound. The bowl was still empty. The King felt embarrassed. He ruled an entire kingdom, but could not fill a small begging bowl. He commanded:
“Bring all the riches from the treasury and fill up this bowl. They were filling it for days, yet the bowl remained empty. The treasures were gone and the King became a beggar. He kneeled before the beggar and said:
“I too am now a beggar. Tell me, please, the secret of this magical bowl?” The beggar replied:
“It is nothing special. It is made of the human mind.”
The mind is insatiable; its desires have no end. Desires stalk us all the time. They’re connected to the material world and have nothing in common with real happiness. It’s not until we free ourselves from their grasp that we can truly taste freedom and joy.
/ From the book “Blooming of Consciousness”