A Deal with the Devil
- TheDailyEnlightenment.comWeekly 04/03/05
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Realisation: A Deal with the Devil
Be careful what you wish for - you might get it! -Popular Expression
A demon decided to test Zeph by offering him the usual three wishes. Zeph was so greedy that he thought he needed only "one" wish. Without second thought, he said, "May all my wishes come true!" Immediately, Zeph found himself on a beautiful beach. It was exactly what he had in mind. Wishing for more, a tall glass of icy lemonade appeared in his hand. Next appeared the girl of his dreams, followed by his favourite snack, a perfect breeze, music... As he got more and more excited, he surrounded himself with more and more of what he wanted.
Just when he felt ready to sit back to enjoy it all, he discovered something peculiar. As he was about to sip his drink, it changed its colour. As it flowed down his throat, it tasted like a horrible concoction of conflicting flavours. Observing his drink closer, he realised that it was changing from moment to moment. Looking around, everything around was likewise changing... so rapidly that it was hard to really see anything. Puzzled, it took him a while to figure out that this was exactly what he wished for - to have all his wishes come true. His mind was so fickle that each time he wanted something, it would manifest, only to last a few moments - before he changed his mind for something "better"... again and again. Instead of getting all the happiness in the world, he got endless dissatisfaction instead.
Regretful for his wish, he thankfully remembered he had two more wishes. Wanting things to be normal again, he immediately wished, "May my first wish stop working!" Instantly, things became normal. After a long reflection, he realised what was troubling him was not getting what he wanted, but that he wanted endlessly. A saying of the Buddha came to his mind, "Contentment is the greatest wealth." Suddenly it made a lot of sense. A content person is already happy with whatever available. Instead of needing endless things to be happy, one is happy without dependence on anything in particular.
Confidently, he asked the demon for his last wish, "May I have contentment... so that I will have no more wishes!" The demon frowned, "Oh! That wish! I see! You have become wiser! Too bad - that is the one wish I cannot fulfil. In fact, true contentment is an aspect of Enlightenment! You have to work towards that. I can only give things, not lead you to Enlightenment. I can only feed your greed." Finally seeing the demon's deviousness, Zeph wished for what seemed to be the only right thing, "May you, evil demon, never tempt anyone again!" Suddenly, the demon's body started disintegrating, as he yelled in desperation, "Not only have you become wiser, you have become a kinder person too! I can't stand it!" Everything around began to swirl wildly. Zeph had to close his eyes.
When he opened his eyes, he was in bed. But what happened was so vivid he wasn't sure if it was merely a dream. But it doesn't matter since the lessons he learnt were real. Maybe the demon was a manifestation of his inner demon of greed, vanquished by his wisdom and kindness. It struck him that to wish "to have no more wishes" is itself a wish. What he needed was to not to cling to "wanting or not-wanting." He might as well enjoy the moment with equanimity, without like and dislike, and make the best of it, to become even wiser and kinder... till he attained True Happiness in Enlightenment. With that thought, he jumped out of bed. -Shen Shi'an (pic:mijnposter.nl)
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