Both Object of Envy and a NuisanceA friend who visited the United States told me about his travels. Since he knew that I had a considerable amount of interest in the sea, he told me about a conversation he had with an American who owned a luxury sailboat at the San Diego Marina. There are three things that people want to have when they do not have them, but become a nuisance when they own them. They are a yacht, a country house and a mistress. I agree with that statement.
Recently, I purchased a yacht at a very cheap price, which a yacht-lover's association purchased 10 years ago. Since the yacht-lover's association turned over the boat at a low price, I thought there must be a great defect in the boat and asked the reason for the price.
The person in charge replied that people want to buy boats because other people on them look grand, but after learning that it is not so easy to manage them as to admire them, people begin to avoid them. After this yacht-lover's association purchased the boat, they were on it only 10 times and had a hard time managing it － so much so that in the end they considered the boat a nuisance.
Managing country houses would not be much different from managing boats; about taking care of mistresses, I am not in a position to speak openly.
The three things mentioned are not the objects I want to own when I don't have them, nor will they become a source of anxiety when I possess them. Under the justification of saving mankind by following Buddha's teachings, I have been hiding my worldly minds and have grasped chances over the head of others. However, the meditating Buddhist monks, whose minds are clear and simple, have pure sensitivity. They recognize immediately that there is something that I should not have eaten when I eat a bowl of noodles made with anchovy soup. Also, I speak one word and the training monks recognize my whole thought.
A few days ago, when concentrated study of Zen meditation during the three months of winter was almost over, I asked the Zen priests, "Can I photograph the retreating figure of the priests passing the alder woods, bearing despair in their backs and publish the photo in the newspaper?"
At that remark, they replied gently but firmly, "I think making up the images of training monks is too worldly." It was as if they sharply pointed out that I was a priest only in appearance and am not different at all from laymen who calculate the publicity gains of the photo.
It is an agonizing experience to have my thoughts read by keen eyes. I am envious of those who depict the life of no gains by moving from place to place to meditate with only a surplice and a broad-sleeved Buddhist robe in their backpack.
Any elected seat, including being elected a congressman, will bring great joy to the winner. But it is a very difficult task to take care of district residents and to show loyalty to party leaders, getting ready for the next election and in addition moving step by step toward one's ideal at the same time.
It would be several hundred times more difficult than taking care of yachts and mistresses. They maintain their position not because there is only joy in there, but because everyone wants to be in their shoes.
There is nothing that is easy to manage. Honor, money, children are what tie us down like hampers. Even freedom is hard to manage. When one quits a job because of intense labor and starts to idle, after a while he finds that it is quite difficult to remain idle.
Thinking of what I want and working hard to attain them are positive. But not everyone can achieve what they want and many never do. Those who achieve them are few. Recalling what the American said will be a way to guard one's peace of mind. If an object looks fancy, one wants to have it, as seeing is wanting, but when one has it at last, it becomes a burden.