A famous spiritual teacher came to the front door of the King's palace. None of the guards tried to stop him as he entered and made his way to where the King himself was sitting on his throne.
"What do you want?" asked the King, immediately recognizing the visitor.
"I would like a place to sleep in this inn," replied the teacher.
"But this is not an inn," said the King, "It is my palace."
"May I ask who owned this palace before you?"
"My father. He is dead."
"And who owned it before him?"
"My grandfather. He too is dead."
"And this place where people live for a short time and then move on - did I hear you say that it is NOT an inn?"
People's reactions to this story:
"We are ALL here for just a short time, and then move on."
"This is more like a riddle than a story... a riddle about life."
"I like this story because it shows that people in power think that their power or status is permanent. But nothing in life is permanent. People like this need to be put in their place."
"I couldn't tell if this man is ready to die or just needs a place to sleep."
"We live and die and never really own anything. How many people today think this deeply?"
"Materialism and wealth makes you think things will last forever. It's all a defense against the realization that everything eventually passes away."
"An entertaining story. But it doesn't mean much."
"The teacher is trying to show the king that the palace is not his. If the palace represents life itself, then who does it belong to? Does life belong to any one person?"
"Maybe the teacher wanted the king to understand how he should be sharing the wealth."
"People on the road, like the teacher, may have a better grasp of what life is about
than people who have entrenched themselves in their possessions and positions."
"This story doesn't remind me of anything, except maybe a dumb joke I might have
been told once."
"We are all just passing through 'this thing called life' and time is very short. We
should make the best of it while we're here."
"Sooner or later, we all have to move on, both during this life and afterwards."