Do you remember Alexander the Great, the leader who once unified the entire continent of Europe? With his exceptional leadership and courage, he is the very man who unified Europe, a feat which no one had ever achieved before. I want to introduce a short yet important anecdote about him. When he was sick and lying upon his deathbed after having already accomplished the unification of the Europe, his courtiers asked him what he would write in his will. He then called out some orders to his courtiers: First, rather than digging a big grave, bury him in a very plain, small grave. Second, bury his entire body instead of cremating it, and bury him with one of his hands unburied.
He commands them to deliver his message to people. “Even, I, the Great King who unified Europe, goes empty handed when he dies.” He tells them to spread these words.
It’s a well-known anecdote. Alexander was indeed, a great king who deserved respect, and was a Great King until the moment he was buried in the grave. What he meant by his message is that upon his death, man goes empty handed even though he was a great hero in life, or even though he was a billionaire. Not long ago, many people mourned the death of a number of celebrities – Whitney Houston, the queen of pop queen who left behind many hit songs, Michael Jackson, the legend who will remain forever in the history of music, and entrepreneur Steve Jobs. Even in this moment, as we draw in a breath, in this split second, countless many in the world are meeting their ends.
Every single person will eventually die. But since he is busy living out his life, man cannot recognize death. And man complains about the life he is currently living or becomes greedy. He is green with envy, envying those who possess a lot, and always longing for success. But remember Alexander the Great’s anecdote. He personally informed others that a person who once owned the whole world did not take anything with him when he died. However, we, who are always greedy, become miserable for not having more and not being more successful. Some even plummet into depression.
A renowned psychologist has newly defined depression as “a mental disorder that comes to greedy people who can’t have more of what they want.” This means greed is a cause of depression.
One who empties his mind and has no greed doesn’t become miserable or desperate, even when things don’t work out at one’s will or one doesn’t possess much. The Sun, the Moon and the planets, including our planet Earth, have an estimated lifespan ranging from 3.5 billion to 15 billion years. Let’s look into our human’s life. We can assume that we will live to roughly 100 years at most. Compared to the endless everlasting universe, our human’s life is shorter than a dayfly’s. It is just a momentary second. What are you trying to attain from this momentary second? It is worth giving this a thought. Although we could gain more, how much would we attain? And although we attain them, how long would they last? Why don’t we afford some time to self-reflect on such things? Worries and concerns you have now, those floating thoughts… these things come entirely from greed. Nature, without greed, doesn’t have delusional thoughts because it doesn’t hold the ego of the self or the mind of possession. Thus, nature just lives, just sees and just hears.
Humans, therefore, must live emptying their minds. That means we shouldn’t waste our time being furious and frustrated from not having more in this life (of not even a second) where greed, possession and everything else is futile. Don’t we come empty handed and leave empty handed? Life is momentary. Rather than desperately seeking to have more, we should empty ourselves and invest in mastering and taking care of our inner selves. The life of this body is finite and limited. However, if you find your true self, the true self might be everlasting, just as the universe is everlasting. Wouldn’t that be the case?
If we live reminding ourselves of the wisdom of Alexander the Great, life will be much easier.
It’s not important how much better or worse off you are than others or how much more or less you have because life is what everyone just passes through. If you appreciate the conditions given to you and work hard to do your best in the moment, you could also achieve success and a life as extraordinary as the life of Alexander the Great. No one knows…
As we already know, the life we live with the body is too short. While living, if we find our true mind, the real self, which will never die and disappear even after the body vanishes, would there be anything more valuable than this? Money, fame, and love in this world are not everlasting. If we find our true mind, we’ll be so happy and blissful.