Saturday, June 6, 2009

Who Is Best?

Who Is Best?

A long time ago, there were three men who were close friends. The first was named Boon (Merit), the second was named Man (Diligence) and the third was named Panya (Wisdom). Once, during a time of famine, the three men decided to leave for another town to look for jobs.

At last, they found a rich farmer who would hire them to clear land for more rice fields. The rich farmer had only one condition. They must finish the task in seven days.

Every morning, a servant brought the three men food for the day. Every evening, the rich farmer came to see how much they had accomplished. The rich farmer was pleased to see that the three men worked very hard. They would be able to accomplish this task within the seven days.

On the last day, the three finished their work early, but nobody brought them their food. They waited and waited, still the servant did not come. While they waited they began to boast among themselves about their names. "My name is the best," said Mr. Boon. "If you lack boon (merit) you will not become rich and prosperous even if you are diligent and clever." Mr. Man interrupted, "No, my name is best. Even if you have boon, if you do not have man (diligence) you will starve to death." But Mr. Panya disagreed. "No. Even if you have boon and man you cannot prosper unless you have panya (wisdom)."
Suddenly, the three were attacked by hunger. Panya got up and walked around looking for something to eat. He soon noticed a trail of ants. Each ant was carrying a single grain of rice. Right away, he realized that the rich man had sent the food, but that the servant had been instructed to hide it from them. He told his friend Man, "The servant did bring the food. It is hidden. Look for it."

Mr. Man got up and looked around. He searched diligently until he discovered the packet of food, wrapped in its banana leaf covering, hidden in the forest. He brought back the food and shared it with his friend Panya, saying, "If Boon is truly blessed by his previous good deeds and merits, he will have somebody bring him food. He will not need this."
After Panya and Man were full, there was still a bit of food left. So Panya and Man tossed it to Boon. Boon accepted the food gratefully and ate hungrily. But as he finished the food, Boon discovered several pieces of gold in the bottom of the packet! The rich farmer had hidden their promised reward under the food.

Boon was delighted. He showed the money to his friends, who promptly asked for their shares. Panya said, "If it had not been for my wisdom, we would not have known the food was hidden." Man said, "If it had not been for my diligence, we would not have found the hidden food." Boon said, "You two still lack boon. Good deeds bring good in return. As you lack merit, you threw your gold away with the food scraps. You cannot say that this gold belongs to you. What is thrown away is no longer yours."

While the three quarreled, the rich farmer arrived. The three asked the rich farmer to be the judge. After hearing their story, the rich man took the six gold pieces and divided them equally among the three. He explained, "Each of you is equally important. No one alone is sufficient. All three are needed. In order to succeed and prosper, a man must have all three of your qualities: merit, diligence, and wisdom."

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