The people of the village always approached the master when they had troubling questions. He would always listen and respond to each in a way that brought great understanding and enlightenment.
There was only one topic that he would avoid and that was the topic of God. When people would begin to ask, “Is there a God?” or “Why is God so unfair?” and so on, he would excuse himself and walk away from the conversation.
Then someone asked him, “Why is it that when people start asking you about God, you refuse to answer them?”
“Do you see that rock there by the tree?” said the master.
“Yes,” replied the man.
“Can you tell me why it exists — what is its purpose for being?” said the master.
“Um…no,” said the man.
“Then I trust I have answered your question,” finished the master.
A young rabbi became infamous because of his unconventional methods and teachings. Because of this, he earned the ire of the elder, more traditional rabbis. One day, an elder approached him and said, “Why do you do these things? If your father were still alive, I’m not sure he would approve of what you are doing. You are nothing like him.”
The young man replied, “When my father was young, he initiated many changes and reforms that have been our custom for these past 20 years. Now, we no longer think of these as reforms because we have been so used to them. But back then, everyone was against him because he was the only one who wanted to change, who was not content with the way things were. It is not true that I am not like my father. On the contrary, I am exactly like him. He followed no one. I, too, follow no one.”
The disciples were gathered in the hall. The master, who was very old, was supposed to give his final address and name his successor.
In a few moments the the master walked in and the disciples’ idle chatter died down as they looked at the old man walking slowly up the dais. He carried a white lily blossom in his hand and looked at it intently. He didn’t look up to meet the eyes of his disciples. He didn’t utter a single word. He just looked at the lily for a very long time.
The disciples started to whisper and murmur among themselves. What does this mean? Some speculated that the master had finally gone mad. Still others debated on the symbolism and significance of the white lily.
There was one disciple, however, who just stood in a corner while the others were murmuring among themselves. He just stood there staring at the master. After a while, he began to giggle. And then when he couldn’t contain himself any longer, he gave out a big belly laugh. He laughed so hard that tears came to his eyes.
The master finally looked away from the flower and into the eyes of the disciple who had laughed. The master gestured for him to come.
When the disciple came, the master smiled as he handed the flower to him. Then he walked away from the hall, never to return.