[PureInsight.org] Once upon a time there was a young man who failed to pass the government’s exam many times. With discouragement, he decided to give up his studies and seek the path of becoming an immortal. Quite a few people helped him. One day he went to a cave in the mountains and found an elderly cultivator. The cultivator took a good look at him and was quite happy. He asked the young man slowly, “What do you want to learn? I have a magic touch that can turn stones into gold, the skill of flying, and I can also disappear into thin air." The young man did not think too much and said sincerely, “I only want to learn the Tao.” Thus, the old cultivator explained the Tao to him every day and taught him to meditate, and eventually reach tranquillity.
A few years later the elderly cultivator told the young man that he wanted to build a magnificent temple, but he did not have enough money. He wanted the young man to go and sell rouge (a cosmetic) in the market at the base of the mountain. The young man did not like it, but it was an order from his master, so he had to obey. He asked the old cultivator, “Master, I am penniless, where can I get rouge to sell?” The master pointed at a pile of stones. With the blink of an eye, many boxes of high-quality rouge appeared. The young man could not understand why his master—who could turn something into anything at will—would ask him to sell rouge and make money. Despite the doubt in his mind, he still followed what his master asked him to do.
Thus, the young man, with a reluctant heart, carried his load of rouge and went down the mountain at dawn every day. He was an introvert—gentle and shy. He felt out of place at the market. He chose a quiet corner in the noisy market and tried to sell his rouge. His voice was very low and it could barely be heard. His master stood not too far away and shook his head: his disciple was so afraid of the worldly market… The young man’s master then turned into a rough butcher with a huge meat cleaver. He came to the young man and demanded to know what he was selling. The young man lowered his head and blushed. Soon he cleared his voice and said in a trembling voice, “Selling rouge.” The butcher said, “If you want to sell anything, you need to speak louder so people can hear you. With such a weak voice, who can hear you? If you keep your voice low again, I’ll destroy your container.”
The young man could not understand what had happened. A minute ago, the market was fine, then this rude butcher came from nowhere. Well, he thought, “I’ve got to accomplish what my master asked me to do.” So he overcame his shyness and could gradually shout out his products. All kinds of disturbing situations happened in the market, such as fighting, quarrelling, crying children, and trouble-making hooligans. He could not quiet down after he returned to the mountain each day. He felt too awkward to ask his master questions, but slowly he enlightened to the fact that he was a cultivator, and that he came for the “Tao,” and once he had the Tao in his heart he would not be affected by the worldly environment. Really, there was nothing he could not overcome.
One month passed, but the young man had not even made one sale. He became aware that selling rouge was actually harder than cultivation. Later on he realized that he should do whatever his master requested of him and carry it out with a happy heart. One day he realized that in order to sell the rouge, he needed to make contact with women. That was really hard; not only did he have to talk to women, but also help them to try the rouge. Slowly, he enlightened to the fact that he was a cultivator and not an ordinary person. Nothing should affect his heart for cultivation.
One day a goddess in the temple above wanted to see how steadfast he was. She turned into a beautiful young lady and made many seductive gestures toward the young man. But he was not moved at all. The goddess was pleased and changed into a plain, middle-aged woman. When she bought the rouge and put some on her face, she immediately became a beautiful young woman. Many people saw this and came to buy the miraculous rouge. Co-incidentally, at the same time, the Queen had travelled to the nearby temple to pay respect to Buddha. When she saw the excited people, she inquired about the commotion. Once she was told about the rouge, she bought all of it with a hundred pieces of gold. The young man looked at the hundred pieces of gold and thought that his master could finally build the temple. He went happily on his way back to the mountain.
Half way back to the mountain, the young man saw a group of soldiers who were attempting to violate a group of young girls. The young man immediately shouted loudly that he had gold pieces and would like to give his gold in trade for the young girls. The leader of the soldiers was happy to take the gold and let go of the girls. After this incident, the young man thought that everything was so unpredictable; a minute ago his master’s wish could have soon been fulfilled, but now all the gold pieces were gone, and so were his thoughts of building a temple.
He told his master the whole story. After hearing his disciple’s story about the group of young girls, the master pointed to the sky. The young man then saw a magnificent temple. The master said, “You have helped me build that temple. That temple was built when you had kept your heart calm and steady while selling rouge.”
Now, the young man came to understand the Tao of doing business.
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2011/10/21/78122.html