"One day, a young person saw a very old man. He was curious and asked, 'Sir, can you tell me how old you are?'

"With a smile, the gentlemen replied, 'Oh! I am four. I am four years old.'

"The young fellow was shocked. He looked carefully at the old gentleman, and exclaimed, 'Oh! Sir, please do not joke with me. Your hair is so white and your beard is so long. How could you be four?'

" 'Yes! I am really four!' The old man then kindly explained, 'In the past, I lived a befuddled life. I was selfish and preoccupied. I wasted away a great portion of my life. It wasn't until four years ago that I discovered Buddhism. Then, I learned to do good and be helpful. I learned to rid myself of greed, hatred, and ignorance. I realized that I should cultivate myself to uncover my true nature. My entire life had not been meaningful, valuable, or fulfilling until these past four years. You asked me my age. The reason I am only four is that I truly feel I have been a wise person for only these last four years.'

"Virtuous deeds should be done as soon as possible. People should learn the Dharma as early as possible. Consider the following question: In your brief existence in this realm of time and space, how have you been leading your life? Have you used the opportunity to do good and to seek the truth? Have you used all available time and space to benefit others and yourself?"