Two Thought-Provoking Little Stories on Happiness
Once a Swiss man was fishing at Lake Geneva, but he could not catch any fish.
“You can’t catch anything, huh? How about trying to use a trawl net?” suggested a Japanese man who had been watching him for a time. The Swiss man replied, “What am I to do after I’ve caught the fish with the net?” “You can earn a lot of money if you sell them at the fish market.”
“Well, what am I to do after I’ve earned the money?”
“The view is nice, so you could buy a second house around here.”
“And what shall I do once I have the second house?”
“You can relax and fish.”
To which the Swiss man said, “But I am already fishing.”
Yuna Kim, The Oft Hailed "Queen of Figure Skating"
Yuna, a South Korean figure skater, explained in an interview after the Olympics that her expression after the competition, which seemed to bear ten thousand emotions, was “all my feelings about restraining myself flooding out as tears.” What was she restraining herself from? She continued: “I’ve hated even watching skating for a long time.” “I feel at ease now that I can live a life without worrying about competitions or training the next day, and just being able to think about the future casually.” “I can eat bread or anything else as much as I like.” For top athletes, to be able to live a normal life is such an incredible joy that it makes them shed tears. If we compare this to the example of Lake Geneva, we might say: “I have a normal life already.”
We will never be free of our suffering even if we obtain money, prestige, fame or anything else we may desire. Master Shinran taught that we are “circling among the houses of the birth and death cycle.” With these words, he likened our endless suffering that we cannot escape to a house. Just as we cannot live apart from home, we cannot be free from our suffering. The source of our suffering is far deeper.