Improvement

A young man squandered all his inherited wealth. As generally happens in such cases, the moment he was penniless he found that he was friendless too.

At his wit's end, he sought the Master out and said "What is to become of me? I have no money and no friends."

"Don't worry, son. Mark my words: All will be well with you again."

Hope shone in the young man's eyes. "Will I be rich again?"

"No. You will get used to being penniless and lonely."


Pragmatism

The disciple was planning her wedding banquet and declared that out of love for the poor she had gotten her family to go against convention by seating the poor guests at the head of the table and the rich guests at the door.

She looked into the Master's eyes, expecting his approval.

The Master stopped to think, the said "That would be most unfortunate, my dear. No one would enjoy the wedding. Your family would be embarassed, your rich guests insulted and poor guests hungry, for they would be too self-conscious at the head of the table to eat their fill."


Ignorance

The young disciple was such a prodigy that scholars from everywhere sought his advice and marveled at his learning.

When the governor was looking for an adviser, he came to the Master and said "Tell me, is it true that the young man knows as much as they say he does?"

"Truth to tell" said the Master wryly, "the fellow reads so much I don't see how he could ever find the time to know anything."


Myths

The Master gave his teaching in parables and stories, which his disciples listened to with pleasure - and occasional frustration, for they longed for something deeper.

The Master was unmoved. To all their objections he would say "You have yet to understand, my dears, that the shortest distance between a human being and Truth is a story."

Another time he said "Do not despise the story. A lost gold coin is found by means of a penny candle; the deepest truth is found by means of a simple story."