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The Listless Fool

There was a rich Brahman, well advanced in years, who, unmindful
of the impermanence of earthly things and anticipating a long
life, had built himself a large house.

The Buddha wondered why a man so near to death had built a
mansion with so many apartments, and he sent Ananda to the rich
Brahman to preach to him the four noble truths and the eightfold
path of salvation.

The Brahman showed Ananda his house and explained to him the
purpose of its numerous chambers, but to the instruction of the
Buddha's teachings he gave no heed.

Ananda said: "It is the habit of fools to say, 'I have children
and wealth.' He who says so is not even master of himself; how
can he claim possession of children, riches, and servants? Many
are the anxieties of the worldly, but they know nothing of the
changes of the future."

Scarcely had Ananda left, when the old man was stricken with
apoplexy and fell dead. The Buddha said, for the instruction of
those who were ready to learn: "A fool, though he live in the
company of the wise, understands nothing of the true doctrine, as
a spoon tastes not the flavor of the soup. He thinks of himself
only, and unmindful of the advice of good counsellors is unable
to deliver himself."

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