11:44am Monday 19th December 2011
ANTHONY de Mello was an Indian Jesuit priest, renowned for his spiritual insights, which he imparted to others by stories. One such story is this about a sannyasi (wise man).
The sannyasi had reached the outskirts of a village and settled down under a tree for the night. A villager came running up to him and said ‘Last night the Lord Shiva appeared to me in a dream and told me that if I went to the outskirts of the village I would meet a sannyasi who would give me a precious stone that would make me rich forever’.
The sannyasi rummaged in his bag and pulled out a stone.
‘He probably meant this one,’ he said, as he handed the stone over to the villager. ‘I found it on the forest path some days ago. You can certainly have it’.
The man gazed at the stone in wonder. It was a diamond, probably the largest diamond in the whole world. He took the diamond and walked away.
Next day he came back to the sannyasi and said, ‘Take back the diamond and give me the wealth that makes it possible for you to give this diamond away so easily.’ This year we in the west have lived on the edge of economic disaster.
Times are undoubtedly hard for many people trying to make end’s meet and provide for the family. Christmas puts added pressure onto the purse strings and for some this Christmas will be difficult. It might be that this Christmas we realise that our real wealth lies, not so much in the money we have accumulated, but in the relationships we have with family and friends, in the simple goodness and generosity of heart we find in them. There can be a real liberation, re-adjusting our priorities.
Michael Jackson, Buddhist
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