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Grand Master's Books > Grand Master Lu's Book > 205_Illusion of the Alps

Walking in the Palace

\`Illusion of the Alps\`
Walking in the Palace
《阿爾卑斯山的幻想》 走在皇宮

His Holiness Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu

Translated by Shizhong Duan
Proofread by Marc Streich
Edited by Shelley Higgins and DJ Chang
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We visited the \`Beautiful Well Palace\` (Summer Palace) also known as \`Schloss Schonbrunn.\` The palace is quite spectacular.

You can easily picture the scenary of Schloss Schonbrunn Palace, if you have been to France`s \`Versailles\`.

The reception rooms designed for extravagant social gatherings are spacious and magnificent.

The residential bedrooms are sumptuous and decorative.

Schloss Schonbrunn is home to many exquisite pieces of art and sculpture by Klimt, Van Gogh, Schiller, and Gerstl, along with many portraits of emperors and empresses throughout the castle.

The splendour and magnificence of the palace is a feast for the eyes; to list just a few, there are:

acres of beautifully manicured flower beds and great lawns,

a monumental water fountain,

aesthetic statues,

more than 1000 rooms,

marble halls,

crystal halls,

and colorful murals.

This palace was renovated and expanded by the Empress Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie (also known as Princess Sisi), and it later became the power centre of the Habsburg monarchs .

While walking in the palace, I thought of a Chinese Zen koan: \`A royal palace is still here, but where are the emperors?\`

As far as I know, Empress Elisabeth was assassinated, and Emperor Franz Joseph and Prince Rudolf, the successor, were all buried under the Capuchin church.

Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne was murdered at Sarajevo in 1914.
\`A royal palace is still here, but where are the emperors?\`

I ask.

Who can answer this?

Did the Emperors all pass away? Only their portraits hang on the walls!

I once visited the \`Versailles\` in France. Now, I am at Austria`s \`Schloss Schonbrunn.\`

While most people are occupied by the magnificence of the palace, I, however, have pity on the ultimate poverty of the emperors.

Were the emperors wealthy?

Did the emperors possess anything?

Indeed, what is a real fortune?

Does anyone understand the meaning of these questions?

In contrast to the present era:

For those who became a president, I wonder if they had ever owned anything?

For tycoons on the world’s richest list, I am also not certain what they truly have?

In my eyes ── they are all beings who need mercy.

Presidents to me not only have a high fever but also lie half dead.

Whereas the wealthy are likened to ill-looking and emaciated beggars, who appeal to the people.

Among the visitors to the royal palace, who would understand the connotation of the uncertainty in the future?

The royal palace also reminded me of the Emperor Napoleon who gave a clock to \`Schloss Schonbrunn\` as a present. The clock has stopped swinging but where is the Emperor Napoleon?

A Zen Master asked, \`Those of the past come before us and we of the future are after them. How do those of the past inspire we of the future?\`

Zen Master Stone answered, \`Who are we of the future in your opinion?\`

Everyone, why not contemplate this question, \`Who are we of the future.
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