A 16-year-old young man came to worship an elderly Zen master with a sad and disappointed expression. He asked the Zen master, “Sir, how do I become a happy person?”
The Zen master looked at the young man and smiled and said, “Boy! At your age, having such a wish is precious but difficult to achieve. A lot of people who are older than you, have questions like this, but no matter how much you explain it to them, they still don’t understand the essential principle.”
Peace of mind for a peaceful and happy life
The young man still listened attentively to every word of the Zen master.
The Zen master continued, “I give you four sentences. Sentence number one: Put yourself to be someone else. Do you understand the meaning of this sentence?”
The young man replied, “Is it that when we are miserable, if we consider ourselves to be others, the suffering will naturally decrease. And when I’m too happy and consider myself someone else, will I calm down and become more calm?”
The Zen master nodded and continued, “The second sentence is to put others to be yourself.”
The young man thought for a moment and then replied, “When I put others to myself, I can understand their sufferings as well as their desires and aspirations to sympathize with them and help them when needed. No?’
The Zen master happily expressed satisfaction and then continued the third sentence: “See others as themselves.”
The young man quickly replied: “Sir, does this mean: Respect each person’s privacy, do not infringe on the privacy of others.”
The Zen master burst into laughter and said, “Very well, very well, this child is also very docile! The fourth sentence is to see yourself as yourself!”
Daily life in the happiest country in the world
This sentence seemed difficult to the young man, he thought for a long time, then slowly said: “Sir, I can’t understand this sentence at the moment. But in these four sentences I see a disagreement, how do I unify them?”
The Zen master replied, “Very simple, boy! Use your own time and experience and you’ll do it!”
The young man did not ask any more questions but knelt down to say goodbye to the Zen master. Many years later, the young man has become a grown man and then a happy old man. He also often brings this lesson and his experience to the people around him, especially young people. After going through many things in life, he understood the four sayings of the old Zen master:
1. When you put yourself as another person to treat, it is selflessness.
2. When you put others as yourself to treat, that is compassion.
3. When placing others as themselves to treat, that is wisdom.
4. When you put yourself as yourself to treat, that is freedom.