Home » Excerpts » Where Are The 17 Arhats?

Sudden windfalls seldom
bring about sudden happiness;
bringing sudden unrest instead. 

Stonepeace | Books

A peasant dug up a very valuable golden statue of an Arhat from a hill. When his friends learned of the discovery, they rushed to congratulate him. But the peasant was worried. He had earned a living from tilling the soil, enough to feed and clothe himself, to be happy and carefree. But from the moment of the discovery, he neither ate of slept well.

After a month, he had become a bag of bones. This was because he was afraid that someone would steal the statue, while the other reason was that from morning till night, he racked his brains thinking, ‘There are supposed to be 18 Arhat statues, but I’ve only dug up one. Where are the other 17? If I could find them too, wouldn’t that be great?’

This is called, ‘the never satisfied mind is like a snake trying to swallow an elephant‘! With this much greed, what happiness can there be? A single desire [with worldly greed] is a fetter. A tangled multitude of desires is like links of fetters formed into a web of chains, that tightly binds us.

Chinese Zen: A Path To Peace And Happiness
Wu Yansheng (Translated By Tony Blishen)

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