This Will Also Change


          Once upon a time there were two siblings who lived together in their father's house. Upon the death of their father it was his wish that they split all of his assets fifty-fifty. When the time came, they divided his houses, his livestock and his money equally.
          After this was done, however, they discovered two rings which had not been mentioned in the will. The first ring was made of pure gold, encrusted with diamonds and it sparkled from a great distance. The second ring was made of plain silver. It was old with many scratches and any shine it may have had at one time was long gone.
          The older sibling immediately took charge and said, "As the oldest one in the family the gold ring should be mine, I will give it to my oldest child when the time is right." The younger sibling did not complain and so they received the silver ring.
          Many years passed. The older sibling had sold the diamond ring and made a great fortune out of what their father had left to them. They had a huge house and a fancy car, and yet they were dissatisfied with their life. The younger sibling, on the other hand, lived in a modest house and drove a modest car. They had endured many hardships in their life and yet they were very happy.
          One day the older sibling could not stand it any longer. They went to their younger sibling's and said, "I do not understand, you have suffered many losses and have not made much of yourself in this world and yet you are happy. I have had an easy life and have made a great fortune and yet I am miserable. What is your secret?"
          The younger sibling just smiled and reached into their pocket. They pulled out the old silver ring, even more scratched and dull now than it was when they inherited it. "It's this ring. It has made all the difference in my life."
          The older sibling grabbed the ring and inspected it closely. "This ring?! What about this ring makes you so happy? There is nothing special about it at all."
          "Not on the outside," the younger sibling began, as they gently took the ring and pointed inside. On the inside of the ring was an inscription. It read, "This will also change."
          The older sibling read it over a couple of times and still looked puzzled. Looking up at their younger sibling they said, "I don't understand. How has this ring made you happy?"
          The younger sibling smiled again and said, "I kept this ring with me always as a reminder of our father. When things were going badly, I took it out and held it. One day I noticed the inscription inside and it reminded me that, 'This will also change.' This reminder helped me get through the hard times, because I knew they would not last. Likewise when times were good and I was happy I would take the ring out and think of papa and read the inscription, 'This will also change.' It reminded me that this happy time would not last forever, and that I should enjoy it fully."
          The older sibling resisted the urge to grab the ring from the younger sibling's hand. All of a sudden they were struck with the thought, 'This will also change,' and they knew that the wisdom of the ring would always be theirs.
--My retelling of a Burmese folktale told by SN Goenka 

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