Sorry for hijacking this thread but I just couldn't resist posting this story.
Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives. (What's new? MEN!!)
He loved the 4th wife the most, as she was Beautiful, and adored
her with rich robes, perfumes and treated her to the finest of
delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.
He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.
He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always
kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, which is ever so often, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times.
The King's 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great
contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply,
he hardly took notice of her!
One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, I now have four wives with me,
but when I die, I'll be all alone."
Thus, he asked the 4th wife , "I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm
dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"
"No way!", replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word.
Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.
The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, "I loved you all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"
"No!", replied the 3rd wife. "Life is too good! When you die,
I'm going to remarry!"
His heart sank and turned cold.
He then asked the 2nd wife, "I have always turned to you for help and you've always been there for me.
When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?"
"I'm sorry, I can't help you out this time!", replied the 2nd wife.
"At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave."
Her answer struck him like a bolt of lightning, and the King
Then a voice called out: "I'll go with you. I'll follow you no
matter where you go."
The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She looked hagged, old and neglected (as most first wives do lah!). Greatly
grieved, fearful and finally repentent (much too late lor!), the King said, "I should have taken much better care of
you when I had the chance!"
In truth, we all have the 4 wives in our lives:
Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look beautiful, it will leave us when we die.
Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others.
Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.
And our 1st wife is our Kamma. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth,
power and pleasures of the world. However, our Kamma
is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go.
Take good care of Kamma now, for it is the only thing that will follow us and continue with us throughout samsara. It is our inheritance, our constant companion and the force which makes us BECOME beings over and over again.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.