The King With One Gray Hair
A very very long time ago， there were people wholived much longer than they do today. They lived manythousand years. At that time， the Enlightenment Beingwas born as a baby named Makhadeva. He lived 84，000years as a child and crown prince. At the time of ourstory， he had been a youngfor 80，000 years.
One day， Makhadeva told the royal barber， “If yousee anyon my head， you must tell meimmediately！” Of course， the barber promised to do so. Another 4，000 years passed， until Makhadeva hadbeen a young for 84，000 years. Then one day， whilehe was cutting the king’s ， the royal barber saw justone little hair on all the king’s head. So he said， “Ohmy lord， I see one hair on your head.” The king said，”If this be so， pull it out and put it in my hand.” Thebarber got his golden tweezers， plucked out the singlelittle gray hair， and put it in the king’s hand.
At that time， the king still had at least another84，000 years left to live as an old king！ Looking at the onegray hair in his hand， he became very afraid of dying. Hefelt like death was closing in on him， as if he were trappedin a burning house. He was so afraid， that the sweat rolleddown his back， and he shuddered.
King Makhadeva thought， “Oh foolish king， you havewasted all this long life and now you are near death. Youhave made no attempt to destroy your greed and envy， tolive without hating， and to get rid of your ignorance bylearning the truth and becoming wise.”
As he thought this， his body burned and the sweatkept rolling down. Then he decided once and for all， “Itis time to give up the kingship， be ordained as a monk，and practice meditation！” Thinking so， he granted theincome of a whole town to the barber. It amounted toone-hundred-thousand per year.
Then the king called his oldest son to him and said，”My son， ！ have seen a gray hair. I have become old. Ihave enjoyed the worldly pleasures of great wealth andpower. When I die， I want to be reborn in a heaven world，to enjoy the pleasures of the gods. So I will be ordainedas a monk. You must now take the responsibility of rulingthe country. I will live the life of a monk in the forest.”
Hearing of this， the royal ministers and the rest ofthe court rushed to the king and said， “Our lord， why doyou suddenly want to be ordained？”
The king held up the gray hair in his hand and said，”My ministers and subjects， I have realized that this grayhair shows that the three stages of life youth， middleage and old age――are coming to an end. This first grayhair was the messenger of death sitting on my head. Grayhairs are like angels sent by the god of death. Therefore，this very day is the time for me to be ordained.”
The people wept at the news of his departure. KingMakhadeva gave up his royal life， went into the forest，and was ordained as a monk. There he practiced whatholy men call the ‘Four Heavenly States of Mind’. First isloving-kindness， tender affection for all. Second is feelingsympathy and pity for all those who suffer. Third is feelinghappiness for all those who are joyful. And the fourthstate is balance and calm， even in the face of difficultiesor troubles.
After 84，000 years of great effort meditating andpracticing these states as a humble forest monk， theBodhisatta died. He was reborn in a high heaven world， tolive a life a million years long！
The moral is： Even a long life is too short to waste.