During the Qin Dinasty there was a scholar with the surname Qin who enjoyed collecting antiques. Once he heard something was from a classical period, he had to buy it at any cost. One day, someone brought a beat-up mat to his house and told him, "Have you seen this mat before ? Don't think it's just a beat-up mat because this mat was once used as a seat by Confucius himself !" Qin the Scholar was very happy and immediately traded his land surrounding his house near the city walls for the beat-up mat.
Some time afterwards, another person came to him with a walking stick and said to him, "This walking stick was used by an emperor during the Zhou Dinasty ! It's older than the mat used by Confucius by hundreds of years ! How much are you willing to pay for it ?" Qin the Scholar took the walking stick into his hands and couldn't resist buying it. Gritting his teeth, he took out all his valuables from his house and traded it for the walking stick.
Not long afterwards, yet another person came to him with an old bowl and said to him, "Compared to this old bowl I have here, your mat and your walking stick can't even be considered antiques. This old bowl was made during the Xia Dinasty, and everyone knows that the Xia Dinasty preceded the Zhou by hundreds of years !" So Qin the Scholar had no choice but to trade the very house he lived in for the antique bowl. Qin the Scholar had nothing to his name but three antiques.
So everyday with his mat once used by Confucius draped over his shoulders, leaning on the Zhou emperor's walking stick with the Xia dinasty bowl in his hand he begged for food from passerby along the intersection.
I think the story sounds familiar to us in nowadays. There are many people who cannot keep a good balance between enjoying life (spending their finances on things they love) and managing their finances wisely.
What we realize from the story is when Qin the Scholar started to spend his money on the first antique, the following antique sellers came to him and offering more antiques.
This is the reality that we face nowadays. We are being offered continually and consistently from marketers around the world by email, mail, brochures, credit cards companies, and other medias for items that we know we love to buy. Because these marketers have learned our shopping behaviors and put us in his well designed database to keep track of our interests. I don't think that's a wrong thing to do. It's just the game we play in this world, we are being teased and tempted everyday to spend money into their pockets. Are we wise enough or end up like Qin the Scholar ?
Zhongguo Gudai Yuyan Gushi