That which is true
can never be lost.
That which is lost
can never be true.
Once, when Sakyamuni Buddha was meditating in a forest, he heard, from a distance, the laughter of a young woman. A little later, he saw her hurrying across in front of him towards another part of the forest. Soon after, a young man appeared in pursuit. Seeing the Buddha, he urgently asked, ‘Have you seen a girl running past? She’s stolen my money.’
The Buddha asked, ‘Which is more important, to find the girl or your original self?’ The young man had obviously never thought about this problem before and was nonplussed. He turned over what the Buddha said in his mind, and finally discovered the stupidity of ‘losing oneself in pursuit of the material.’
In fact, the young man is none other than us. We spend our lives in the pursuit of fame and fortune, wine and women, to the detriment and ‘loss’ of our own treasure. Such ever growing desires make us slaves to the material… The satisfaction of the basic requirements of life is an established principle… But boundless desires will cause us to ‘lose’ our true nature. Although we live a life of unprecedented material wealth, we have ‘lost’ the most valuable treasure of all.
Chinese Zen: A Path To Peace And Happiness
Wu Yansheng (Translated By Tony Blishen)