The Cart Horse & The Donkey
Once upon a time there were two cart-horses. They worked together for many years, pulling the cart of a peasant. Over the years, they often argued with each other, complaining that the other was not keeping to its side, or was going just a little too quickly or just a little too slow.
One day, one of the two horses suddenly died.
The remaining horse was very upset about this.
It realized that in all the time that they had worked together, it had not once told the other horse how much it valued its company and its faithful help in pulling the cart. Now the chance was gone forever.
The horse also reflected on all the squabbles they had had. It suddenly understood that it need not have taken offence as easily as it had done, that it need not have borne as many grudges, that it could have been less arrogant, in short, it realized that it had wasted all the energy that had been available for friendship and kindness on unworthy and unnecessary thoughts and emotions.
The horse was ashamed and resolved to lead a different life in future. Whoever its new partner was going to be, things were going to be different.
But time passed, and the horse forgot. One day, it caught itself in exactly the same kind of behavior that it had sworn never to engage in again.
The horse could not understand why it had returned to its old ways.
That evening, in the stable, the horse decided to seek out the peasant's donkey, which had a reputation for wisdom among the animals.
The donkey listened to the horse's story. Eventually, it replied. "It is good that you have noticed what has happened. If you truly want to change, this is possible; but it will, for a long time, cost you your peace of mind. Are you prepared to accept this?"
The horse replied that it definitely did not want to return to its old ways. Anything was better than that.
So the donkey continued, "There is one very simple, and at the same time very hard thing that you have to do. Remember every day that one day, perhaps today, perhaps many years from now, you will die.
Remember every day that the horse next to you will die.
Remember every day that every other creature you will see, will one day die.
Remember that all animals alive today are part of a wave, which will soon break and be lost on the beach forever, to be followed by a new wave, and another, and another.
No wave is permanent. The only thing that is permanent is the ocean."
There were tears in the horse's eyes.
The donkey continued, "Only if you remember death will you become strong-willed and alert enough not to postpone love. This is my advice to you, and in following it, perhaps one day you may come to know that which is deathless."