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Five Children Playing The Wishing Game

Once upon a time, five children were playing the wishing game. The child who came up with the best wish would win the wishing game.

First was a young boy, maybe seven or eight, and he said if he could have any wish he would wish for a McDonalds hamburger with double fries (because his mother wouldn’t allow him to eat hamburgers).

So they asked the second child if she could you think of a better wish. And the second child was a young girl and she said that she would wish for a McDonalds restaurant so she could eat as many hamburgers as she wanted.

Then came to the third boy. He had more time to think as the others and he said that he wants a billion dollars. So he could buy a McDonalds restaurant, then buy a video game store and play all the video games he wants. Then he would buy a school so he could spend all day playing video games then give himself good grades. Then he’d buy a university and pass himself through that too. Then he still has enough money for the rest of his life. So he asked if anyone could think of a better wish than that.


The fourth child, a girl, had to think very deeply and she came up with a better wish. The fourth girl was very clever. She said if she had a wish, she would wish for 3 wishes. With the first wish she would wish for a McDonalds restaurant, with the second wish she would wish for a billion dollars, and for the last wish she would wish for 3 more wishes. So she was clearly winning the wishing game.

But there was one boy left, and he would go on to win the wishing game. But how can you find a better wish than an infinity of wishes? He said, "If I had one wish, I would wish that I was so content that I would never need another wish again." And that wish won the wishing game.

That describes nirvana, enlightenment, that you are so content that you don't want anything else. Most people in the world want an infinity of wishes, to be wealthy, to be powerful, but to be so content that you don't want any more wishes, this is enlightenment.


Enlightenment Story by Venerable Ajahn Brahm
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