Once a great Zen Master stopped by a money changers shop and asked for a good deal on some foreign coins. The money changer eager to make a fast profit by acts of deceit, regretted his first impulse and bowed deeply. He asked;
“Master, I know I serve the lowliest of trades, one that most probably will send me to the unbearable hells of hungry ghosts, but please, I ask you, what do you see in this wretched soul, that in its heart, desires to find the path you walk so effortlessly?”
The master looked first above his head and then at his chest area and uttered; “I see vast ignorance at play. The path muddled by the glimmering enchantment of form and value; kindled by a constant hunger as you so aptly put it. You are indeed already a mere ghost, one wandering among its equals seeking the food of satisfaction where there is none. How can such a beast expect to sit on the golden throne of nirvana? That is simply not possible.”
“But if I left my sinful trade and immersed myself in the dharma by your words, and studied the sutras I have gathered in the past, would that ease the entrance?
“No, not a chance!”, was the laughing answer from the master, as he turned and disappeared into the crowd of people.
A nearby monk having caught ear of the conversation, approached the saddened merchant and remarked; ” I see the great sage is generous today. Never did I dream him to treat your kind with such kindness. You must indeed be blessed with vast amounts of good merit from previous lives.”