After breakfast one day, the master addressed his disciples and said:
“All I do is sit by the riverbank selling river water. And all you fools come, and line up and wait to buy this water, not realizing that any time, you can go to the river and draw water for yourselves.”
One night, the old master lay in bed, knowing that his time was near. He called his disciple over and said, “Before I die, I want you to know that you will be my successor. I have here a journal that has passed through seven generations of masters. Each one has added to the journal his own thoughts and insights into the Truth. Here, take this.”
“Master,” replied the disciple, “I have learned the Truth from you without the aid of any journal. I have no need of it.”
“Nevertheless,” said the master, “I want you to have it as a symbol that I have passed my knowledge and authority to you.”
The disciple then bowed and took the journal from the master’s outstretched hand. It did not stay in his hand for long as he promptly threw it into the fire that was keeping them warm.
At this, the master leaped up and shouted, “Are you insane? What are you doing? That was the knowledge of seven generations!”
The disciple replied, “You must be insane yourself. What are you saying?”
At this, the master clapped a hand on the disciple’s shoulder, and laughed long and hard until he had to lie down. In a moment, he passed away.