The disciple approached the master and said, “Master, I think I am ready to leave you and begin teaching others.”

The master said, “Very well, prepare a discourse that you will deliver 3 days from now. I will invite all the villagers to come and listen. Afterwards, I shall decide whether or not you are really ready.”

Photo by Indi Samarajiva
Photo by Indi Samarajiva

So the disciple prepared for the discourse and chose to highlight all the important lessons he had learned. After 3 days, he delivered his talk in the village square. Immediately after he had spoken, the audience applauded him warmly as the talk was well-prepared and well-spoken. Then, a beggar rose from his seat and approached the disciple, who was still on the stage. The disciple immediately came down, removed his cloak, and put it around the tattered rags of the beggar. He also removed his purse and gave it to the beggar. The audience greeted him with another round of applause.

Afterwards, the master called the disciple for a private talk.

“Your words were well-crafted and you seem to have perfected the artful delivery of them,” said the master, “but you are not yet ready.”

“But why?” said the disciple.

“For two reasons. First, you did not give the beggar a chance to voice his need, choosing instead to assume that he wanted your cloak and coins. And second, you are not yet above impressing others with your own piety.”

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One thought on “Readiness”

  1. I actually learned something from that- not the showing off your piety part but the assuming what someone needs versus asking them … thanks!

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