Master Jun Hong Lu’s
Dharma Convention
San Francisco, US
18 September 2014

There were two brothers who lived at the top of an 80-storey skyscraper. One day, upon returning home from a trip, there was a note on the stairway which read, “Power outage. Please use the stairs”. They had no choice but to carry their heavy backpacks up the stairs. Once they reached the 20th floor, they were extremely tired; The elder brother suggested: “Let’s leave our backpacks here. Once the power is back on, we will come back and grab them.”

The younger brother agreed. With much ease, they continued to climb the stairs, laughing, and chatting. Exhausted at the 40th floor, they started to complain and blame each other as to why they didn’t check the message next to the elevator. They continued arguing as they climbed the stairs. On the 60th floor they were too exhausted to talk. The younger brother begged, “Let’s stop quarrelling and keep on climbing.” Finally, they arrived at the 80thfloor, excited, only to find out that they left their key in the backpack on the 20th floor.

This story explains life in modern society. At the age of 20, when we are immature, we live by our expectations, carrying a heavy burden and are under a lot of stress. After the age of 20, we are freed from the stress and burdens of society. We start to pursue our goals and live in joy for 20 years. Realising our youth has passed at the age of 40, we suffer from remorse and waste for another 20 years regretting and complaining. Finally, at age of 60, we start to realise that time is running out and remind ourselves to stop complaining and start to look after our senior years. Just like that our remaining years slowly pass us by. Only at the end of life do we realise that much remains undone and all our dreams were left back when we were 20. We have worked so hard our entire lives only to realise that we have achieved nothing. This is the depiction of our life.

I hope all of you will cherish your life, the affinities you have with each other and blessings that come along. Live a life that’s worth living. Seek the path to liberation and free yourself from the hardships of life.

Inspirational Short Stories: The 80-Storey Skyscraper