The Most Valuable Thing in the World

A student went to the Zen teacher Ts’ao-shan and asked, “What is the most valuable thing in the world?”

Ts’ao-shan replied, “The head of a dead cat.”

“Why is the head of a dead cat the most valuable thing in the world?” asked the student.

“Because no one can name its price,” said Ts’ao-shan.

zen catHow many things can you place a value on? Your house? The car in your driveway? The big-screen TV in your living room? Ironically, none of these things have value, precisely because you can name its “price.”

How many things can you not place a value on? The love of a spouse or family member? Friends who are there for you in every time of need? These things are the most valuable, because you cannot place a price on them.

Too often, we equate value with price. And that is where we go wrong. It’s like those old Mastercard Priceless commercials.

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