Roads

Photo by Anita Ritenour
Photo by Anita Ritenour

“What is the way to enlightenment?” asked a seeker.

“Where is the path to genuine contentment and happiness?” asked another.

“Where is the road to inner peace and joy?” asked another.

The master replied, “I will tell you a secret. There are no paths. There are no roads. Roads are made by walking.”

River Water

Photo courtesy of Jenny Downing, Flickr
Photo courtesy of Jenny Downing, Flickr

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.”

Life After Death

Photo courtesy of takomabibelot, Flickr
Photo courtesy of takomabibelot, Flickr

“Master,” said the disciple. “Is there life after death?”

“Why do you ask?” said the master.

“I was just thinking how horrible it would be not to love or laugh or sing or dream,” said the disciple.

The master laughed. “Most people don’t even do those things before death. Or if they do, they do them only superficially. The right question is, ‘Is there life before death?'”

Fire

One night, the old master lay in bed, knowing that hisĀ  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.

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