I have never heard in a funeral that this person made a lot of money or is politically very strong. They never discuss that. In a funeral, people discuss how this person was kind or gracious or had character and integrity. … I learned from the funerals that we must plan our funerals when we are young. Plan your funeral, start early, by being kind.
I desire to leave this world as I entered it — barefoot and broke. To many, that may seem like an odd, unrealistic, even foolish thing. Not to me. Too many wealthy people hoard their riches, believing that dying with a large bank account is a virtue. I read about one woman who died and left her dog $10 million. What’s a dog going to do with that kind of money? Help other dogs? I see it another way: If I die with nothing because I have given it away, humanity is the beneficiary.
We are, therefore, wisely framed to be as warmly interested for a fictitious as for a real personage. The field of imagination is thus laid open to our use and lessons may be formed to illustrate and carry home to the heart every moral rule of life. Thus a lively and lasting sense of filial duty is more effectually impressed on the mind of a son or daughter by reading King Lear, than by all the dry volumes of ethics and divinity that ever were written. This is my idea of well-written Romance, of Tragedy, Comedy and Epic poetry.
In the late 1960s, an MIT student went to a meditation class by Philip Kapleau, author of the classic, The Three Pillars of Zen. The student only went because his Ph.D. advisor had invited the speaker to campus.
No word on whether Roshi Kapleau was discouraged to see only four listeners in the large lecture hall, the organizer, his student, and two others. We do know that he effectively delivered his message because that student became Jon Kabat-Zinn, the most influential promoter, teacher, and scientific researcher of meditation in the history of the West.
It is not a speaker’s job to judge the audience. We save the world one speech, sometimes one listener, at a time.