Today, I wanna share something inspirational. This is about the story of the begging bowl. I came across this very eye-opening analogy upon reading one of the best productivity and personal development books I’ve read which was The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The story goes like this.
The Begging Bowl
Upon coming out of his palace one morning and encountering a beggar, a king asks, “What do you want?” The beggar laughingly says, “You ask as though you can fulfill my desire!” Offended, the king replies, “Of course I can. What is it?” The beggar warns, “Think twice before you promise anything.”
Now, the beggar was no ordinary beggar but the king’s past-life master, who had promised in their former life, “I will come to try to wake you in our next life. This life you have missed, but I will come again to help you.”
The King, not recognizing his old friend, insisted, “I will fulfill anything you ask, for I am a very powerful king who can fulfill any desire.” The beggar said, “It is a very simple desire. Can you fill this begging bowl?” “Of course!” said the king, and he instructed his vizier to “Fill the mans begging bowl with money.” The vizier did, but when the money was poured into the bowl, it disappeared. So he poured more and more, but the moment he did, it would disappear.
The begging bowl remained empty.
Word spread throughout the kingdom, and a huge crowd gathered. The prestige and power of the king were at stake, so he told his vizier, “If my kingdom is to be lost, I am ready to lose it, but I cannot be defeated by this beggar.” He continued to empty his wealth into the bowl.
Diamonds, pearls, emeralds. His treasury was becoming empty.
And yet the begging bowl seemed bottomless. Everything put into it immediately disappeared!
Finally, as the crowd stood in utter silence, the king dropped at the beggar’s feet and admitted defeat. “You are victorious, but before you go, fulfill my curiosity. What is the secret of this begging bowl?”
The beggar humbly replied, ‘There is no secret. It is simply made up of human desire.”
This powerful story has a very important lesson and reminder. You cannot fulfill human desire. Period.
As a human, it is in our nature to seek more and ask for more. Our curiosity and desire to be great or to be famous are default in our DNAs. That’s what we are made up of. And there’s nothing wrong with that. For as long as you use it to help and empower other people. As long as you learn to appreciate the things or the people that you have, you’ll be happy. Remember that true happiness can be found in appreciation of life, things and people around us.
On the side note, if we continuously seek fame, money, attention and other things without appreciating its real value and presence in our life, it’ll be useless. Life without appreciation is empty. You may have all the things in the world but unhappy, unfulfilled and lonely. Don’t be like that. Don’t try to fill the begging bowl. That’s a trap.
Like the King on the begging bowl story, we will just end up wondering why we never fulfill our desire given that we have all things. Again, without appreciation you cannot find happiness. Life is wonderful and there are many blessings you have to appreciate of. Like what the quote says, “be happy with what you have while working for what you want”.
I hope this has been inspirational. Until next time, cheers!