The old father was dying and his family was gathered around the bed waiting for him to take his last breath. As the old man wheezed away life, his oldest son said to one and all, “When Papa goes, if it’s tonight, we can bury him early tomorrow from the big funeral parlor downtown. Since the funeral will be early in the morning, we won’t be able to get in touch with too many people, so we won’t need a lot of cars or the big room, and it won’t cost too much.”
His daughter was standing there and she said to the brother, “You know, death to me is a very personal thing. Why do we have to call a bunch of strangers together to witness such a sad scene — if you two boys are there and I’m there, who needs anyone else?”
The youngest son looked at them both and said, “I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, why do we need the expense of taking Papa to an undertaker? He is dying in the house, let’s bury him from the house.”
All of a sudden the old man’s eyes flew wide open. He looked at his three children and shouted, “Give me my pants!”
They answered in a chorus, “Papa, you are a very sick man. Where do you want to go?”
He replied, “Give me my pants. I’ll walk to the cemetery — I am a businessman.”
The whole life people simply go on saving, saving — for what? The life is slipping by; each moment a precious moment is gone and it cannot be reclaimed. Buddha says: Don’t waste it in foolish things.
Fame is foolish, it is pointless, meaningless. Even if the whole world knows you, how does it make you richer? How does it make your life more blissful? How does it help you to be more understanding? to be more aware? to be more alert? to be more alive?
If you are not practicing the Way:
“Your labors are wrongfully applied and your energy is wasted. It is like unto burning an incense stick. However much its pleasing odor be admired, the fire that consumes is steadily burning up the stick.”