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.”