It was common for ancient cultivators to practice in solitude in a cave.
A young man was determined to cultivate and searched for a suitable cave for his cultivation. He finally found one after a long search and cleaned it up.
An old man entered the cave just as he was ready to start and said, “You are still young and have a lot of time to cultivate. I am old and have to hurry up with my cultivation. Can you please let me have this cave?” He thought about it and gave the cave to the old man.
The young man continued his search, and after some time and effort, he found another one. A disabled man entered the readied cave and said, “You are young and strong and can search for a new one. I have a hard time walking and have no strength in my arms. Can I have this cave?”
The young man was reluctant, but helped the disabled man nevertheless.
Year after year the young man would look for a cave, and someone would always ask for it after he found one and got it ready.
The young man grew old as the years went by, and he finally found a cave he really liked. As he settled down in the cave, a young man came in and said, “You are an old man, so there isn't enough time for you to cultivate and succeed. I am young and have a better chance at succeeding in my cultivation since I still have time. Why not let me have the cave?”
The old man thought, “I am old and don't have the strength to look for another cave.” He contemplated his situation and decided to leave the cave to the young man.
As he was about to exit the cave, a golden Buddha appeared before him and said, “Your have completed your cultivation. You can follow me.”
Helping others succeed is really forging one's own attainment. One becomes more open and selfless by placing others' needs first. Sometimes what we shoulder and endure makes us feel that life is hard. The future looks bleak and the intended results are nowhere to be found.
However, being a good person and thinking of others may lead us to what we would like to achieve via a different route, just like what happened to the old man in this cultivation story.