The king was very much impressed. He said, “I will immediately order the same. Just give me the names of the architects, to make the same palace for me in my kingdom.”
Talking with each other, they came out to where the chariot of the king was waiting. And when he said, “I’m going to make exactly the same palace. I loved it, the very idea. It is so safe and secure…” a beggar by the side of the road started laughing madly.
Both were stunned. For a moment there was silence.
They both asked the beggar, “Why are you laughing?”
He said, “I’m laughing because there is a loophole in all this, and I know the loophole. I have been sitting in this place for years, begging, so I have been watching the building of the palace.”
The emperor asked, “What is the loophole?”
He said, “That one door!”
The emperor laughed. He said, “I have placed seven guards on it. They are guarding on each other, nobody can betray. What is the fear?”
The beggar said, “With due respect, I want to tell you that death will enter and your guards will not be able to see it. And death is the only insecurity. What else? Do you have any protection against death?”
The emperor was at a loss.
The beggar said, “My suggestion is that if you want really to be secure, tell your builders to raise a wall in place of that door! I still cannot guarantee that death will not enter – but at least you have made as much effort as possible; close the door and be inside.”
The emperor said, “But that means I’m already dead! It becomes a grave, not a palace, if I cannot come out.”
The beggar said, “If you think just by closing one door your life will be finished, don’t you think that by closing other doors, parts of your life are finished? By closing the windows, other parts of your life are finished? You are going to live at the minimum, while the maximum was available.”
Both the kings were surprised to see the intelligence of the beggar. They came close to him and they asked him, “From where have you come?”
He said, “You will not understand. Your fathers were my friends. Once I also used to be an emperor. But seeing the whole unnecessary trouble, I made myself completely secure – I dropped all walls, all worries, opened all windows. Now for almost half a century nobody has harmed me. I’m just a beggar – why should anyone harm me? I have nothing to be stolen. I sleep as I have never slept before.”
If you really want to be living at the maximum, don’t listen to the duality of the mind.
The only security in existence is going beyond the mind.
The beggar was a great Taoist master. His name was Lieh Tzu. But people had forgotten that fifty years before he had dropped his kingdom.