The Book of Wisdom

Books - Photo by Lin Pernille Kristensen

An elderly monk became famous in his town because of the appropriate and wise advice he would give to those who sought his counsel. Even the other monks and the head monk himself would go to him for advice on many matters. They always marveled at his words and the ease with which he seemingly plucked them from the air.

The words would always hit their mark. If someone needed inspiration, he would find it. If another needed brutal frankness, she would get it as well.

The elderly monk got seriously ill one day and the other monks were concerned. What would happen when this holy man was gone? Where would they turn to for advice and counsel? The sick monk inadvertently heard their whispered fears and immediately understood their concern. He called them and said, “I shall record all the wisdom that you need in a book so that when I pass away, you will have something to guide you. But you have to promise to only open it when I am gone. Now, hurry and bring me pen and paper.”

The other monks gave him a thick notebook and a pen so he could spend his waking hours writing and recording his wisdom. For the next few days, the monks who visited would see him sitting up in bed with the notebook open, and they would not stay overly long for fear of disturbing him from his work.

Three weeks after, on a fine Sunday morning, they found him sleeping peacefully in bed, his hands folded over the notebook in his chest. They understood with great sadness that this was the sleep from which no one wakes. The head monk came and reverently lifted the precious notebook from underneath the folded hands. He opened it and to his surprise, found that all the pages were blank except the last one.

And what was written there was this:

“What is in me is also in you.

You are no more than me and I no more than you.

Look within.

Search deep within.

There lies the fount of all wisdom.”

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