A Parable

The fox knew the orchard was rich in luscious fruits, but it was strongly walled and there was no way in—apart from a small hole that was too tight for his body to squeeze through. However, after some careful deliberation, he reckoned that it might be possible to pass through if he slimmed sufficiently, so he fasted for three days and found he could just manage to force a passage.

Once inside, the fox feasted without restraint on the sweet grapes, figs, and other dainties that were now freely available. When his hunger and thirst were sated, it was time to escape, before the owner of the orchard returned. But by now, the fox had fattened and could no longer push himself through the hole. There was nothing to be done except to fast again, this time with the added anxiety that discovery and capture could occur at any moment.

Such are our endeavours in the world when we focus excessively on material gain. In the end, our fullness proves futile, and the only wealth we can take with us are the good thoughts and feelings that dwell in our heart as a result of the peace, wisdom and benevolence cultivated during our life in the world.

This article is from the Autumn 2022 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.