The Story of a Donkey
Once there was a donkey who lived in a temple on a mountain. He had to work hard in the mill every day. Over time, he became so tired of his dull life that he started to dream about going out to see the world instead of working in the mill. How wonderful that would be!
Soon enough an opportunity came along- a monk wanted to use the donkey to carry something down from the mountain. The donkey was very excited.
The monk put something on the donkey’s back when they reached the bottom of the mountain. As they walked through the village, people on both sides of the street knelt down to the donkey. The donkey did not know what to do, and he started to try to avoidthe people. But that did not stop them from worshipping. Slowly, the donkey’s ego became inflated: 「Wow! People really think I am someone important!」
Thus, he walked in the middle of the road and put on an arrogant air, with his head held high and a straight back.. Once the donkey returned to the temple, he thought that he should live like nobility, and he refused to do any more hard work. So the monks had no other choice but to let him go.
When he got back down the mountain, the donkey saw a group of people beating drums and gongs far away. He thought, 「People are coming to welcome me.」 He stood in the middle of the road and waited, but the people turned out to be in a wedding procession. When they saw a donkey blocking their way, they were very angry and beat him with sticks and clubs to make him move.
The donkey fled back to the temple in a hurry. Dying from the assault, the donkey told the monk indignantly, 「People are so unpredictable and dangerous. Last time, they worshipped me, but today they wanted to kill me.」
The monk signed: "You are a dumb ass! People did not worship you last time; they knelt down to the Buddha statue on your back, not you!!"
The greatest misfortune is that people do not know who they are. Once they leave their positions, they are nothing.
Every day when we look in the mirror, we should ask ourselves, 「Do I know who I am?」
If you are rich, others admire only your wealth, not you.
If you have the power, others worship only your power, not you. Don’t misinterpret the admiration of others.
If you are beautiful, others will admire your beauty. They want to be with you to inflate their own egos.
When wealth, power, and beauty leave you, you become worthless, and you will be abandoned-- for others are only using you to fulfill their own needs.
So, it is important to know who you really are!
Ability is very important, but there may be something more important than ability, and that is character.
Character is a rare treasure in today’s society and it provides the basis to fully expand one’s abilities throughout one’s lifetime.