A discussion on the four keys to human virtue transpired in the Assembly of the Wise.
The post-modernist philosopher stood up and said, "The four keys are sex, food, money and death." The people applauded with
Next the moral philosopher stood and proclaimed, "The four keys are prudence, temperance, harmony, and fortitude." There was a general murmur, because these words had not been heard for a thousand
years and no one could quite remember what they meant.
Then the Yogi spoke. "The four keys to are
dispassion, loving-kindness, non-violence, and contentment." Some of the
people smiled, but the rest whispered among themselves. Finally someone said, "This is hardly philosophy!"
Finally the Fool stood up. He said,
"The key to human virtue is being grateful." The assembly waited impatiently, then began to grumble. Someone shouted, "What are the other keys,
Fool?" To which the Fool replied, "There are no other keys. Just gratitude, gratitude, gratitude, and more gratitude," to which the assembly responded with uproarious
When the uproar settled down, all the wise 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 the heart melting inside them. But they could not fathom the meaning of this, for as their hearts grew warm, their minds became 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 again, head resting on his elbow. There was a profound and glowing silence in the air.
Since no one else rose to interpret the Dharma, the Fool stood up again. 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.
"The active virtues of human life are standing, walking, sitting, and lieing down. If you stand, walk, sit, and lie down with an undivided heart, full of gratitude and dwelling without resistance in the present moment, and you welcome with a gentle breath whatever appears, whatever dissolves, well then, justice, wisdom, compassion and contentment, as will as the finest pleasure, will arise naturally in your body, without any discipline at all."