Lessons from Life: Life is Like a Boat

Guan Ming

PureInsight | June 26, 2006

[PureInsight.org] A human
being's life is like a boat. In the journey of life, if one carries too
many heavy objects, such as desires for wealth and fame, it is easy for
his boat of life to get stuck or even sink in the middle of the
journey. If one wants to reach his destination in life smoothly, he
must decrease the load he carries in a timely manner, only keeps the
minimum amount of things he need to sustain his life, and give up
things like greed and other desires.

Recently quite a few of my friends lost a lot of money after being
deceived by unethical merchants who encouraged them to either invest in
the stock market or participate in pyramid sales schemes. Those friends
who have been deceived have one shortcoming in common - they are all
very greedy. If one calmly thinks things over with a rational mind, it
is not hard to realize that the chance of making a 5000% profit from a
business investment is almost always zero. But some people allowed
their greed to overrule their common sense. They believed that they
could make a 5000% profit by investing in a certain obscure stock. In
the end, they were deceived and lost everything they put in. Others
were unclear about how a certain company that specializes in pyramid
sales operates its business and distributes its profits. But when they
see a million dollar check waved in front of them, they naively
believed that they could become millionaires by participating in
pyramid sales schemes. They believed in the promises that others made
to them before they even carefully examined the check to see if it was
genuine or not. As a result, they spent a great deal of money buying a
huge pile of merchandise that was of the poorest quality.

Supposedly the native tribesmen in Africa have a unique way to hunt for
baboons. They place some of hard-shelled nuts that baboons like to eat
the most in a small wooden box. The wooden box has a small opening that
a baboon can stick its front paw into. Once a baboon sticks its paw
into the box and tries to take out the nuts, it can't get its paw out
and is stuck. The native tribesmen in Africa often catch baboons this
way. It is because baboons have a habit – once a baboon gets hold of
something in its paws, it won't let go of it no matter what. When they
hear the story, people often laugh at the stupidity of baboons. Why
don't they just let go of the nuts and run away to save their lives?
Actually if we take a look at ourselves, we might realize that baboons
are not the only ones who make such mistakes. When I was young, I lived
in the countryside. One day a major fire broke out in the village. A
poor family had nothing to save. Everyone from the family ran away from
the fire scene quickly and survived. Their neighbor was a very wealthy
family. After he got out the first time, the head of the family ran
back to his house to save expensive furnishing and cash. He died in the

A life is like a boat. The less materialistic things that one has, the
lighter the load of his life is. Therefore, if one can give up his
greed, he is able to move ahead with a light load, and his life will be
more at ease. One can not take any material wealth with him when he
dies. If one is able to control his desires for wealth and fame, his
life will be quite smooth and he can reach his destination easily.

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