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THERE was a rich Brahman, well advanced in years, who, unmindful of the impermanence of earthly things and anticipating a long life, had built himself a large house. The Buddha wondered why a man so near to death had built a mansion with so many apartments, and he sent Ananda to the rich Brahman to preach to him the four noble truths and the eightfold path of salvation. The Brahman showed Ananda his house and explained to him the purpose of its numerous chambers, but to the instruction of the Buddha's teachings he gave no heed. Ananda said: "It is the habit of I fools to say, 'I have children and wealth.' He who says so is not even master of himself; how can he claim possession of children, riches, and servants? Many are the anxieties of the worldly, but they know nothing of the changes of the future."

Scarcely had Ananda left, when the old man was stricken with apoplexy and fell dead. The Buddha said, for the instruction of those who were ready, to learn: "A fool, though he live in the company of the wise, understands nothing of the true doctrine, as a spoon tastes not the flavor of the soup. He thinks of himself only, and unmindful of the advice of good counselors is unable to deliver himself."

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