Assembly of the Wise

A discussion on the Four Keys to Human Existence was held in the assembly of those who were thought wise.

The modern philosopher stood up and said, "The four keys are sex, food, money and death." The people applauded with great enthusiasm.

Next the moral philosopher stood and said, "The four keys  are prudence, temperance, harmony, and fortitude." There was general murmuring, because these words had not been heard for a thousand years and no one could remember what they meant.

Then the Yogi spoke. "The four keys to a good life are dispassion, loving-kindness, non-violence, and contentment." Some of the people smiled, but the rest whispered among themselves. Finally someone said , "This is not philosophy!"

Now the Fool stood up and spoke. "The keys to human existence consist in being grateful." The whole assembly waited. Then they began to grumble. Someone shouted, "What are the other keys, Fool?" To which the Fool replied, "There are no others, just gratefulness, gratefulness, gratefulness, and more gratefulness," to which the assembly replied with uproarious laughter.

When things settled down, the philosophers turned toward the Tattagatta, was was reclining on his elbow, listening. One of them addressed him. "They say you are the Awakened One. We haven't heard your opinion yet!"
The Tattagatta gently smiled. With patience and dignity, he came to a sitting position. Then he stood. After a pause, he began to walk slowly through the assembly. The gathered guests all felt the strange sensation of their hearts melting inside them. But they could not fathom the meaning of this, for their minds had become mysteriously empty of all thought.
Then the Buddha, saying nothing at all, returned to his place, stood quietly before them, sat down, and reclined gently on his right side, head at rest on his elbow. There was profound and glowing silence in the air.

Since no one else rose to interpret the Dharma, the Fool stood up. The philosophers scoffed. He waited for their laughter to subside, then spoke.
"One who is awake needs no thought. One who is present requires no philosophy. The river flows all by itself, the moon rises and sets, weightless as a feather on a breath of air.
"The mountain has been bowing to the cloud for countless ages, and the cloud melts gently at the mountain's caress. How sweetly flowers spring up for no reason, and frogs sing songs without meaning.
"What can a human do but stand, walk, sit, and lie down? If you stand, walk, sit, and lie down with an undivided heart, dwelling without resistance in the present moment, welcoming with a gentle breath whatever appears, whatever dissolves, well then - justice, wisdom, compassion, contentment, and all the finest virtues will arise in your body naturally, without any discipline at all."

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