The master kept a cat that was so adorable that pretty soon, his disciples were divided into two factions, each wanting to claim responsibility for taking care of the cat. The rivalry between the two groups became so intense that one day, the master grabbed the cat and a sword in front of the disciples and said, “If you don’t say the right word now, I will cut this cat in two and give half to each of you so that you will stop fighting.”
There was an uproar as the disciples uttered different words in an effort to save the cat.
One shouted, “Love!”
Another said, “Compassion!”
Still another said, “No more fighting!”
All were met by a vigorous shake of the master’s head. He then lowered the cat and prepared to strike it. Suddenly, a young monk who had not been interested in the quarrels and the factions leaped to the master and slapped his face.
The other disciples stood in shocked silence, fully expecting the master’s fury at the one who had disrespected him in such a fashion.
But the master merely rubbed his cheek, smiled, and said, “This young monk has saved the cat.”
One day, the master and his disciples took a walk in the park. They passed by a small pond that had fishes swimming to and fro.
“Look how happy the fish are as they swim around in the pond,” said the master.
A bystander nearby scoffed, “How do you know the fish are happy? You’re not a fish.”
“And how do you know that I don’t know that they’re happy?” countered the master, “You are not me.”
The disciple said to the master, “All you do is tell us stories, but you never explain them. How are we supposed to learn anything?”
The master said, “Come now, no need to be so hotheaded. We can discuss over a light snack. Would you like some bread and cheese?”
“Okay,” said the disciple.
The master broke off a piece of bread and put it in his mouth. He then bit off a piece of cheese. After chewing the food for a while, he spat it out in a bowl and handed it to the disciple.
“Here’s your bread and cheese,” said the master.
“But I can’t eat that! You already chewed it and spat it out,” cried the shocked disciple.
“True,” said the master, “I cannot chew your food for you. And neither can I feed you the lessons in my stories. Those are for you to chew and taste and swallow.”
The master and his disciples passed by a small crowd where a theologian was discussing emphatically about heaven and hell. Some of the disciples stopped to listen for a while and so the master also stopped to accommodate their curiosity.
Later on, he heard some of his disciples arguing among themselves. Some said the theologian was brilliant in his arguments while others disagreed and pointed out the flaws. Finally they turned to the master to ask his opinion on the matter.
The master just smiled and said, “There is a saying–and it applies perfectly in this case–that those who say a lot do not know anything, and those who know a lot do not say anything.”
“What do you mean?” asked the disciples.
“How many of you know what a rose smells like?” asked the master.
All of the disciples raised their hands.
“Now, put it into words,” said the master.
Everyone fell silent, and understood.