The disciple approached the master and said, “I have been with you for fifteen years and yet it seems that my stay here has yielded no fruit.”
The master replied, “It is true that you have been with me for fifteen years. Yet I have observed that in all those years, you still seek to cling to something, whether to a word I speak or to some obscure passage of scripture. Learn to have the courage to let go completely. Fruit only comes when you are no longer timid enough to shake the tree.”
The master and his disciples walked past a small gathering. A preacher was in the middle of the crowd and he declared, “We should be dismayed that God is robbed of his glory in this sinful world where people slander him and worship all sorts of idols.”
Later, the master remarked to his disciples, “If this God is indeed so great and powerful, I don’t understand how he can be robbed of his glory. Saying that God is robbed of his glory is like saying that you contaminate the entire ocean by pissing on the beach.”
A pilgrim stopped by the temple where a master resided who was known for his holiness. A disciple ushered him inside and led him to the courtyard at the back.
The pilgrim heard boisterous laughter and the sounds of merrymaking coming from a bend in the garden. He turned the bend and was surprised to see the master and several disciples seated around a small table. They were sharing a bottle of wine, singing, laughing, swapping jokes and slapping one another’s back.
The pilgrim turned to the disciple who had led him there. “This is an outrage,” he said. “I thought that this master was supposed to be a very holy man.”
“Oh, he is a holy man,” replied the smiling disciple. “But you should know that it is one thing for a man to be holy. And it is a totally different thing that he should seem holy to you. Who are you to judge what is holy or not?”
“Life’s little secret is this,” said the master to his visitor as they conversed over tea. “Never take it too seriously. Learn to laugh — at everything — and you learn to live,”
The visitor pondered on this, and the master continued, “I have had a total of four disciples under me. When they began their training, I gave them a set of rigorous physical and spiritual exercises. The first disciple was too weak and couldn’t handle the pressure so he ran away. The second was too meticulous in trying to follow every minute detail of the exercises that he drove himself crazy. The third tried to challenge himself to do more than what the exercises required and one day he injured himself fatally and died. Only the fourth disciple remained healthy and sane.”
“And how did he manage to do that?” asked the visitor.
“Well, he took one look at the exercises and said, ‘No sane man would do those things and you must be crazy if you think I’d do them,’ so he refused to do them,” replied the master, chuckling.