Short Stories

The order of things

several years ago, a daughter of one of our family friends died in a car accident. Another casualty of drunk driving where her friend was driving under the influence and got involved in an accident. She was a passenger as was thrown out of the car. She died after several months in coma. I saw the devastating impact on her family especially her parents. This reminds me of a Zen story that puts everything in perspective:

A rich man asked a Zen master to write something down that could encourage the prosperity of his family for years to come. It would be something that the family could cherish for generations. After a month or so the master came back and shared what he had written:

“Father dies, son dies, grandson dies.”

The rich man became angry when he saw the master’s work. “I asked you to write something down that could bring happiness and prosperity to my family. Why do you give me something depressing like this?”

“If your son should die before you,” the master answered, “this would bring unbearable grief to your family. If your grandson should die before your son, this also would bring great sorrow. If your family, generation after generation, disappears in the order I have described, it will be the natural course of life. This is true happiness and prosperity.”
I guess the Zen master was right.

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