King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]
A very very
long time ago, there were people who lived much longer than they
do today. They lived many thousand years. At that time, the Enlightenment
Being was born as a baby named Makhadeva. He lived 84,000 years
as a child and crown prince. At the time of our story, he had
been a young king for 80,000 years.
One day, Makhadeva
told the royal barber, "If you see any grey hair on my head,
you must tell me immediately!" Of course, the barber promised
to do so.
years passed, until Makhadeva had been a young king for 84,000
years. Then one day, while he was cutting the king's hair, the
royal barber saw just one little grey hair on all the king's head.
So he said, "Oh my lord, I see one grey hair on your head."
The king said, "If this be so, pull it out and put it in
my hand." The barber got his golden tweezers, plucked out
the single little grey hair, and put it in the king's hand.
At that time,
the king still had at least another 84,000 years left to live
as an old king! Looking at the one grey hair in his hand, he became
very afraid of dying. He felt like death was closing in on him,
as if he were trapped in a burning house. He was so afraid, that
the sweat rolled down his back, and he shuddered.
thought, "Oh foolish king, you have wasted all this long
life and now you are near death. You have made no attempt to destroy
your greed and envy, to live without hating, and to get rid of
your ignorance by learning the truth and becoming wise."
As he thought
this, his body burned and the sweat kept rolling down. Then he
decided once and for all, "It is time to give up the kingship,
be ordained as a monk, and practice meditation!" Thinking
so, he granted the income of a whole town to the barber. It amounted
to one-hundred-thousand gold coins per year.
Then the king
called his oldest son to him and said, "My son, I have seen
a grey hair. I have become old. I have enjoyed the worldly pleasures
of great wealth and power. When I die, I want to be reborn in
a heaven world, to enjoy the pleasures of the gods. So I will
be ordained as a monk. You must now take the responsibility of
ruling the country. I will live the life of a monk in the forest."
this, the royal ministers and the rest of the court rushed to
the king and said, "Our lord, why do you suddenly want to
The king held
up the grey hair in his hand and said, "My ministers and
subjects, I have realized that this grey hair shows that the three
stages of life youth, middle age and old age are
coming to an end. This first grey hair was the messenger of death
sitting on my head. Grey hairs are like angels sent by the god
of death. Therefore, this very day is the time for me to be ordained."
wept at the news of his departure. King Makhadeva gave up his
royal life, went into the forest, and was ordained as a monk.
There he practiced what holy men call the 'Four Heavenly States
of Mind'. First is loving-kindness, tender affection for all.
Second is feeling sympathy and pity for all those who suffer.
Third is feeling happiness for all those who are joyful. And the
fourth state is balance and calm, even in the face of difficulties
years of great effort meditating and practicing these states as
a humble forest monk, the Bodhisatta died. He was reborn in a
high heaven world, to live a life a million years long!
moral is: Even a long life is too short