Insights on Life: Desire Nothing and Be Carefree

Guan Ming

PureInsight | May 6, 2007

[] A few days
ago a colleague suddenly asked me, "You don't earn more than I, but I
notice that you and your friends are all at peace. You are all
easygoing and without any emotional stress. Would you mind telling me
your secret?" His sincerity moved me, and I calmly answered with a
smile, "I have no desires in my heart. Would you be able to do that?"
He immediately had an uncomfortable expression on his face and said,
"How can that be done? I have been very tired for the last few days and
need to go back to work tomorrow. My child flunked math and I don't
know how to deal with it. Recently I have recently charged a lot on my
credit cards and I don't have enough money in the bank to cover it. So
much to worry about! If I don't deal with this, my life will get

I calmly told him "Only when you desire nothing can you be truly carefree."

And I told him the following story:

Once a rich merchant ran into a beggar. The beggar said, "You and I are
old acquaintances. Would you please give me some money?" The merchant
looked carefully at the beggar and said, "I recognize you. You were
quite well-to-do. What happened?"

The beggar said, "Well, last year there was a big fire and all my fortune went up in smoke."

The merchant asked, "Then why did you become a beggar?"

The beggar said, "So I can have money to buy a drink."

The merchant asked again, "Why do you want to drink?"

The beggar said, "So I can have the courage to beg!"

Hearing that the merchant suddenly became enlightened.  In that
instant he had seen the truth about ordinary people who were so lost in
this mundane world. He sighed deeply and said, "All people in this
world are obsessed with wine, women and money; so they waste their
lives. In the end, all end up six feet under; but why live like this?"

He told the beggar, "When you decide that you no longer want to drink you can come to see me." Then the merchant left.  

The beggar was quite discouraged because he did not get any money even
from an old acquaintance. Right then a Taoist making his rounds came
along and the beggar immediately asked him, "Would you please tell me
what tomorrow will bring?"

The Taoist said to him with a smile, "You have nothing, yet you worry
about tomorrow? Why do you want to bother with those little things? We
Taoists only want to be kind, compassionate, tolerant, and not harbor
resentments or desires. We have more food every day than we can eat.
Even if we don't receive anything on our rounds we won't feel hungry.
Why can't you be carefree?"

After I finished my story, my heart was filled emotion. My colleague
seemed to have a slight awareness and said, "I won't worry about those
matters for time being."

I knew that he was temporarily relieved and said, "You try this: just
be compassionate, kind, tolerant, bear no grudges or resentments, and
carry no complaints or hatreds. Then you can slowly learn to desire
nothing. I hope that you, too, will be carefree."

I thought it over carefully later on, that only compassionate, honest,
tolerant people can become carefree. When the heart/mind desires
nothing, one can see the truth of life. Then one can live a carefree
life. Only when one desires nothing can one's spirit become noble.

Translated from:

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