What is happiness and prosperity? Each of us has our own view on what makes us happy and prosperous. Zen philosophy has its own view too and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. As always, the message is delivered through a delightfully short Zen story. Zen stories are ancient words of wisdom from Zen masters, originating with the Buddha himself and we have covered several Zen stories at Soulful Arogya in the past. Hope you enjoy this story as well.
The Order of Things: Zen on Happiness and Prosperity
A rich man once visited a Zen master and asked him to write a few encouraging words for the happiness and prosperity of his family for years to come. These words could be something that his family would cherish for generations to come.
On a large piece of paper, the Zen master wrote, “Father dies, son dies, grandson dies.”
The rich man was furious when he saw the master’s work.
“I asked you to write something that would bring happiness and prosperity to my family for generations to come,” said the rich man. “Why did you give me something as depressing as this?”
The master replied calmly, “If your son should die before you, it would bring unbearable grief to your family. If your grandson should die before your son, this would also 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.”