Three Questions of Life

Once there lived a king. He had everything he wished for. But as they say, humans are never satisfied; a few thoughts crossed his mind. He wanted to know about the most fundamental questions in life. He wanted to know

·        What is the most important time?

·        Who is the most important person?

·        What is the most important thing to do?

Looking for answers, he went to his ministers and asked them these questions. The ministers replied, “Oh, your holiness, the most important time is the time you became the king”. To his next question they replied, “You are the most important person because you’re the king.” And to his last question they replied, “King please expand your kingdom; that is the most important thing to do”.

These answers didn’t satisfy him. Realizing this, the chief minister suggested that the king meet the sage who lives on the mountain at the edge of the kingdom. The chief minister knew these questions were the intense kind and only that sage could answer them.

The next day the king went along with his soldiers and reached the foot of the mountain by dusk. He thought it would be inappropriate to meet the sage with so many soldiers so he ordered them to stay there and began to climb alone. As he reached the top he got very tired, but somehow he reached the cave where the sage was meditating. So he waited for him to complete the meditation. However, after a long three hour wait the sage didn’t open his eyes. He decided  to have a chat with him in the morning. So, he put down his turban and sword and went to sleep.

The next morning he woke up with sunlight streaming in the cave, with the beautiful sounds of the birds and fresh air. He got up only to find that the sage was not there. So, he walked out of the cave and went to the edge of the cliff. To his amazement, he saw a glorious sight, the sight of his whole kingdom! He was struck with joy and he wondered why ever he was the chosen one to rule that kingdom. As the majestic view took his breath away, he began to feel that he has been made king to serve, love and care for his people. In his palace every morning was so different. The first thing he always got was bad news, all his ministers and spies would come and tell him about all the wrong and suffering  taking place in his kingdom. His day would begin with worry after worry. But today was different and much better.

As he stood at the edge of the cliff admiring his kingdom, he found someone tapping his shoulder. The king turned around to see the sage right there. He stood there pointing his sword at him. The sage said, “King, tell me, what is the most important time? Who is the most important person? What is the most important thing to do?”

These three questions overwhelmed the king and he said, “I have come all the way here to ask you just these questions?” The sage said, “You will get your answers very soon…”

Now you may be wondering what the answers can be.

If you were the king, what would you have said with the sage pointing the sword at you?

1. What is the most important time?

All our concepts about time – past, present and future – dissolve in the moment; there is only the NOW; all thoughts vanished when the king saw the sword pointed at him. So, there is only the now, the present! Everything else is a story and the quality of the story is the quality of our life.

2. Who is the most important person?

Some may say jokingly, “The guy pointing the sword” or some others may say, “Yourself,” But actually “the person you are with” is the right answer. However when we are with someone, we are preoccupied with ourselves, we are thinking about our own matters tending to ignore the person we are with. So, if we think about it, it really is the person we are with.

3. What is the most important thing to do?

Remember before the sage came, the king felt tremendous love and care for his kingdom. The most important thing to do is to love and care. The Dalai Lama once said, “My religion is kindness”. Live in the present, give your 100% to the person you’re with and be kind and caring. That is all that matters.

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Seema Chinchore

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