The master passed by a preacher who said, “We should not be concerned with the world but with God.”
The master remarked to his disciple, “Wouldn’t it be better to see God in the world?”
“What do you mean?” said the disciple.
“The preacher creates a dividing line between ‘the world’ and God — implying that there are ‘godly’ concerns and ‘worldly’ concerns. But that line is an illusion and is the cause of much strife. Witness the wife who complains that her husband spends too much time at church, or the family that is neglected in the name of God.
That is why I say it is better to see God in the world. See God in your neighbor. See God in your wife and family. See God in your work, in your every action and in every person you meet. That way, everything you do will be a godly concern,” concluded the master.
Teranis the Great, conqueror of the eastern lands, had heard of the master. One day, he came to the master with his royal guard, seeking wisdom.
When the master came out of his hut to see his guests, a guard announced, “You now stand in the mighty presence of Teranis the Great.”
At this proclamation, the master looked at the conqueror and began to laugh at him.
Teranis was seized with fury and drew out his sword. He pointed the sword at the master and growled, “Why do you mock me so? Explain yourself or I shall cut off your head.”
The master replied, “I laugh because anyone who sees the need to call himself great really isn’t. Anyone who needs other people to announce his mighty presence really does not have one.”
At this, the master calmly reached out with one hand and pushed the sword point away from his face. “And lastly,” he said, “Anyone who needs to point a sword and threaten another to gain respect is the most pitiful soul of all.”
Some wealthy and influential people had heard about the master and they wanted to meet him, so they sent a messenger to invite him to a special banquet.
The master arrived at the party wearing beggar’s robes and the people were immediately repulsed and shooed him away. He immediately went home, washed his face, put on an expensive cloak, and returned to the party where he was immediately ushered into the circle of the rich and powerful.
He bowed to them, took off his cloak and draped it on his seat.
“I showed up a while ago but you shooed me away, so I hope you enjoy talking to the cloak because you have obviously sent your invitation to it, and not to me.”