There is a really famous story, that I heard in Thailand, and I wanna share it with the whole world I could. This is the story about the Buddha and the homeless man.
One day there was a homeless man and he’s been trying to gather food, and he keeps noticing every day his food disappears. One day he caught the mouse that kept stealing his food.
He asked the mouse, “Why are you stealing from me?” “I’m a homeless man”, you can steal from richer people than me and it won’t have any effect on them.
The mouse then told the homeless man, “It’s in your destiny that you can only have eight items in your possession, no matter how much you beg, no matter how much you gather, this is all you’ll be able to have.”
The homeless man was shocked and said, “Why is that my destiny?”
And the mouse said, “I don’t know. You should try and ask the Buddha.”
So the homeless man goes on his journey to go find Buddha and as he’s going, it gets late. So he ends up at a wealthy family’s house and he asks if he could stay the night. They let him in and they ask him.
“Young man, why are you travelling so late?”
and he answered, “I have a question for the Buddha and tomorrow I’ll be on my way.”
The family then says, “Can we give you a question to ask the Buddha?”
We have a sixteen-year-old daughter who can’t speak, we just want to ask what do we have to do to make her speak?
So the homeless man thanks them for a shelter and tells them “Of course, I’ll ask your question for you.”
So the next morning he goes and continues his journey, and sees a sea of mountains that he has to cross. He climbs up one mountain and he meets a wizard. And the wizard decides to use his staff, to take the young man and himself fly them across the sea of mountains.
And the wizard asks the young man, “Where are you going? Why are you deciding to cross the mountains?”
The young man said, “I am going to ask the Buddha a question about my destiny.”
The wizard then says, “Can I please give you a question to ask the Buddha?”
I have been trying to go to heaven for a thousand years. According to my teachings, I should be able to go to heaven now. Can you please ask the Buddha, what do I have to do to get to heaven?
“Of course I’ll ask your question, for you.”
And as he continues on his journey, he runs into his last obstacle, which is a river that he cannot cross. Luckily he meets a giant turtle, who decides to take him across the river. As they’re crossing the river the turtle asks, “Where are you going?”
The homeless man said, “I am going to see the Buddha, I’m going to ask him a question about my destiny.”
The turtle then says, “Can you please ask a question for me too?”
I’ve been trying to become a dragon for 500 years. According to my teachings, I should have become a dragon by now. Can you please ask the Buddha, what do I have to do to become a dragon?
The young man thanked the turtle for taking him across the river and says “Of course I’ll ask your question, for you.”
The homeless man finally meets the Buddha. And the Buddha tells everybody, “I will answer three questions for everybody here. But only three questions.”
And the young man is shocked, he has four questions to ask, so he thinks carefully.
He thinks about the turtle living for 500 hundred years trying to become a dragon. The wizard has been living for 1000 years trying to get to heaven. The girl has to live her whole life unable to speak. And then he looks at himself and he says “I am just a homeless beggar. I can just go back and continue begging.”
So as he looks at everybody else’s problems, his problem suddenly seems so small. He feels sorry for the turtle, the wizard, and the girl. And decides to ask all of the three questions.
So he asked the Buddha and the Buddha answers
“The turtle is unwilling to leave his shell, as long as he’s unwilling to leave the comfort of the shell, he will never become a dragon.”
“The wizard always carries his staff and never puts it down, it acts as an anchor keeping him from heaven.”
And as for the girl, she’ll be able to speak, when she meets her soulmate.”
So the homeless man bowed to the Buddha and went on his journey back home.
He reunites with the turtle, and he tells the turtle, “Hey you just have to take off your shell and you become a dragon.
The turtle then takes off his shell and inside his shell were priceless pearls found in the deepest parts of the ocean. And he gives it to the homeless man and tells him. “Thank you, I no longer need this because I’m now a dragon,” and flies away.
The homeless man reunites with the wizard and says, “Hey you just have to put down your staff and you’ll be able to go to heaven.” The wizard lets go of his staff by giving it to the young man. He says, “Thank you,” and ascends to heaven.
The young man now has wealth from the turtle and the power from the wizard.
He goes back to the family that gave him shelter. And he tells them that, “The Buddha said your daughter will be able to speak when she meets her soulmate.” And at that moment the daughter came downstairs and said, “Hey! is that the man that was here last week?”
The young girl and the once homeless man have found their soulmate.
This story tells us so many things, so many lessons. But for me, I think that sometimes we have to give things, in order to get some things. Sometimes if we want to become a dragon, we want to become a lion, we have to be willing to leave behind what makes us most comfortable, what makes us feel most safe. We have to leave our comfort zone, just like the turtle did.
And in order to find true love, we must become somebody who is willing to put others before ourselves. When you’re alone and when you’re lost in your thoughts. Sometimes your problem seems so big and it may seem like it’s the end of the world. But if we look at the other people’s lives, other people who don’t have as much opportunity as us, who have it worse than us makes our problems seem so much smaller.
And if we’re willing to lend a hand to those who are struggling more than us and are willing to help them, it may change the course of your life, your destiny, and the universe may repay you in such a way that you never would have imagined.
It will come back to you. All the good that you do in the world will come back to you. So, if you’re going through hard times right now.
I hope this story helps.
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