A beggar came to an emperor and said, “If you are going to
give me anything, there is a condition.” The emperor said, “What do you mean by
your condition?” The beggar said, “This is my condition: I accept only if you
can fill my begging bowl absolutely.” The king said, “What do you think I am?
Am I a beggar? I cannot fill this small begging bowl?” The beggar said, “It is
better to tell you before, because later, you can get into trouble. If you
think you can fill it, fill it.”
The king called his vizier and told him to fill it with
precious stones: diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Let this beggar know with whom
he is talking! But then there was difficulty. The bowl was filled but the king
was surprised — as the stone fell into it, it would disappear. It was filled
many times and each time it was again empty. Now the king was in great rage but
he told the vizier, “Even if my whole kingdom goes, if all my treasuries are
emptied, let them be —but I cannot allow this beggar to defeat me. This is too
And all the treasures, it is said, disappeared. The king had
nothing left. Finally, the king had to fall at the feet of the beggar and said,
“Forgive me, but before you leave, just tell me one thing. What is the secret
of this begging bowl? All has disappeared in it.” The beggar started laughing.
He said, “It is made of human desire. Everything disappears in it, nothing ever
The begging bowl is like the human mind filled with desires.
Only those who have understood the futility of human desires die like kings.