The Master loved a game of cards and once sat through an all-night air-raid totally absorbed in playing poker with some of his disciples.
When they stopped for drinks the conversation turned on the subject of death.
"If I were to drop down dead in the middle of this game, what would you do?" asked the Master.
"What would you wish us to do?"
"Two things. First: Get the body out of the way."
"And the second?"
"Deal" said the Master.
"Why did you come to the Master?"
"Because my life was going nowhere, giving me nothing."
"So where's it going now?"
"And what's it giving you now?"
"So, what's the difference?"
"Now I'm going nowhere because the's nowhere to go;
I'm getting nothing, because there's nothing to desire."
To a man who spent years studying the Law of his religion the Master said:
"It is love that is the key to the good life, not religion or the law."
Then he told of two Sunday-school students who were sick of religious instructions, so one suggested they run away.
"Run away?… But our father will get hold of us and thrash us."
"We'll hit them back."
"What? Hit your father? You must be out of your mind.
Have you forgotten that God commands us to honour our father and mother?"
"True… O.K., you hit my father, and I'll hit yours."
The Master claimed that it made no sense at all to define oneself as Indian, Chinese, African, American, Hindu, Christian, or Moslem for these are merely labels.
To a disciple who claimed he was Jewish first, last and above all else, the Master said benignly "Your conditioning is Jewish, not your identity."
"What's my identity?"
"Nothing" said the Master
"You mean I am an emptiness and a void?" said the incredulous disciple.
"Nothing that can be labelled" said the Master.
At the Master's birthday party a disciple somewhat pointedly refused a glass of wine.
As he moved around the room he happened to run into the Master who gave him a wink and whispered "You still have some interesting things to learn my friend."
"What, for instance?"
"For instance, this: You could dye your prayer rug in wine and it would still be soaked with God."
The Master enjoined, not austerity, but moderation. If we truly enjoyed things, he claimed, we would be spontaneously moderate.
Asked why he was so opposed to ascetical practices, he replied "Because they produce pleasure-haters who always become people-haters - rigid and cruel."
"But lots of pleasure-lovers are rigid and cruel."
"Not so. It is not pleasure they love for they stuff themselves with it.
What they love is the punishment they inflict on their bodies through excessive pleasure."
The Master taught mostly in parables and stories. Someone asked a disciple where he got them from.
From God was the reply. "When God means you to be a healer, he sends you patients;
when he makes you a teacher he sends you pupils;
when he destines you to be a Master he esnds you stories."
When asked about Jesus injunction to his disciples to hate their parents, the Master said "You will rarely find a greater enemey than a parent."
And he told how he once met a woman at the supermarket pushing a prarn with two little boys in it.
"What cute little kids you have" said the Master.
"How old are they?"
"The doctor" said the lady, "is three, and the lawyer two."
To those disciples who were naively confident that there was nothing they couldn't achieve if they went at it with a will the Master would say:
"The best things in life cannot be willed into being."
"You can will to put food in your mouth
but you cannot will an appetite.
You can will to lie in bed
but you cannot will sleep.
You can will to pay someone a compliment,
but you cannot will admiration.
You can will to tell a secret,
but you cannot will trust.
You can will an act of service,
but you cannot will love."
Each time you seek to change another, said the Master, ask yourself this:
"What will be served by this change - my pride, my pleasure or my profit?"
And he told them the following story:
A man was about to jum off a bridge when a policeman rushed up to him
"No, no!" he cried
"Please don't do it.
Why would a young fellow like you who hasn't even lived thing of jumping into the water?"
"Because I'm sick of life."
"Now listen to me, please.
If you jump into the river,
I'll have to go in after you to save you. Right?
Well, the water is freezing cold and I've only just recovered from a bout of double pneumonia.
Do you know what that means? I will die.
I have a wife and four kids. Would you want to live with a thing like that on your conscience?
No of course not. So listen to me. Be good.
Repent and God will forgive you. Go back home.
And in the privacy and quiet of your home, hang yourself."