There was a village close by a great river and great lake. When water was abundant, river and lake were one. When water was scarce, they were apart. Instinctively, the fish and tortoises seemed to know when the season would be rainy or when there would be a drought.
Once they knew that a drought was forth coming, when the river and lake were one they swam out from the lake to the river. However, one tortoise refused to follow along, proclaiming: “here I was born and grown up; here’s my ancestral home; leave it I shall not!”
Thus in the hot season, the drought came and all the lake water dried up. Our loner tortoise dug a hole and buried itself in the clay.
That place also happened to be the place where the villagers usually come for clay. Thus one day, one man came around and dug for clay. With a big spade, he dug down and cracked the tortoise’s shell because he thought that it was a large clump of clay.
So the tortoise lied there dying and lamenting: “here I was born and lived; I took refuge in clay refusing to go where there was life; take heed and do not stay at home for death to master thee.”
We all should take heed.
Let’s not say to ourselves: “I have a home (physical dwelling); I have sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch (my body is my home); I have a spouse, a son and daughter, men and maids at my service (my family is my home); I have money and gold (my home is my treasure)”.
Let’s not cling to externals that bind us with craving and desires and inexorably make us revolve in the wheel of reincarnation and existences that are fraught with afflictions and difficulties.
Instead, let’s resolve to cultivate and plant the causes for rebirth to the Western Bliss Pure Land this very lifetime and attain liberation and bliss in one lifetime.
That is the conduct and motivation of wise people.