Over a thousand years ago, there once lived a man who lived in a small village just along the border of China and India. The man was a hard worker and was very successful in his trade. He was a very wealthy man but he was never happy. He was always in a bitter mood and did not smile often. He avoided the people in his village whenever possible and he would spend most of his time dug into his work.
One day the man was walking in a forest. The wind picked up and a dark cloud appeared over the forest. The man doubled backed and headed towards his home. Loud thunder and flashes of lightning illuminated the purple sky. All of a sudden, lightning struck the tree beside him and the tree came crashing down on his torso. He was trapped.
A few hours went by and the rain cleared up. A boy from the village saw the man trapped and screamed for help. The man told the boy that he was about to die and for him to listen closely to his words. The boy listened attentively and the man said “I have accumulated a lot of wealth in this world but I have been miserable my whole life. My final wish is for you not to live as I did and for you to find out how to live a happy life.” The boy in tears said, “Yes I will but where can I learn that.” The man said, “seek the wise one who lives on the mountain.” The man closed his eyes and took his last breath.
The boy frightened and inspired by the man’s words began his journey to find the wise one who lives on the mountain. The boy asked the village chancellor where this mountain was. The chancellor pointed to a large mountain in the distance. He trekked for 3 days and 3 nights until he reached the mountain. He could see a settlement about halfway up the mountain and started his hike towards it. The boy finally reached the settlement and could hear all these strange noises coming from it.
The boy approached the gates. The gates were covered in a shiny gold and the patterns were engraved into the gold with utmost detail and perfection. He knocked on the gates and the gates began to open. A man dressed in the finest clothes appeared before him. The gate keeper said “who are you and what do you seek.” The boy said “I am from the small village southwest of here and I came to seek the wise one, to ask him how I can live a happy life.” The gate keeper smiled and said “you have come to the right place.” The gatekeeper said to the boy “follow the path ahead and you will find the wise man.”
As the boy started to walk along the path he saw the most amazing things. The settlement was full of detailed sculptures, elaborate artwork, giant elephants with the most colorful rugs on them, tigers in giant silver cages and people walking around looking very happy. He finally got to the end of the path, where there was an ancient temple-like structure. The boy walked in a saw an old man sitting in the darkness.
The old man in a frail voice said “who is there and why are you here?” The boy replied “I am a boy from a small village just southwest of here and I have a question for you” The old man replied “what is your question?” The boy asked the old man “How can I live a happy life? I met a wealthy man who died in front of my eyes and his last wish was not for me not to live a miserable life like he did and find out how to live a happy life.”
The old man laughed and said “If you want to live a happy life, just look at how I live. Go look at all the art I have collected, the exotic animals, the intricate sculptures and all the happy people who live here. Come back in one hour and tell me what you see” The boy turned around to leave the temple. “Wait” the old man exclaimed. “Take this spoon.” The boy took the spoon and the old man put an egg on the spoon. The old man said, “return with egg.”
The boy looking even more confused left the temple to go explore. An hour passed and the boy returned to the temple where the old man sat. “What did you see?” the old man said. The boy full of joy and excitement said “I saw the most amazing things. I saw lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, diamonds, gold, art and so much more. All the people were so happy and friendly to me. I didn’t get to explore everything in just a single hour and I want to go see more.” The old man smiled and said, “where is the egg.” The boy was startled. He completely forgot about the egg. “I have no idea,” he said with an embarrassed voice. The old man said “I want you to go back and explore my settlement. This time focus your attention on the egg and bring it back to within the hour.” The old man put another egg on his spoon and sent him off.
An hour passed and the boy returned to the old man. The old man asked, “what did you see?” The boy said “I saw nothing. I was too busy focusing all my attention on the egg so I didn’t see anything or talk to anyone." The old man smiled again. He laughed and said, “the secret to living a happy life is to involve yourself in everything around you without dropping your egg.”
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