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  • Writer's pictureNathan

Master Buys His Time

Updated: Jan 9

The new disciples had yet to hear a teaching from their master. They had waited and waited then pleaded and begged, but their master remained silent, preferring to be left alone. Until one day, the disciples, so desperate for understanding, surrounded their master in a corner of his courtyard. Here the disciples lamented to their teacher, “We have followed you for nearly a year while you have kept your wisdom to yourself. We are not leaving until you give us something to know.”

“If I promise to sit with you and teach, will you then let me go?” asked the master.

The disciples agreed and sat with their teacher.

The teacher began with this inquiry, “Are You the sounds you hear?”

“No.” said the disciples together as they exchanged curious glances, hesitation in their reply.

“Are You the aroma you smell?”


“The sights You see?”


“If one of Your appendages is removed, will a friend place it in their pocket to converse with it as they would You?”

“No.” came the answer, this time with some restrained laughter.

“Why then should You suppose that You are made of thoughts, transient as the senses?”

The disciples sat silently for a moment, eyes brooding in reflective thought.

“Are You made of memories then?” the master continued. “Or perhaps You are stitched together in a tapestry of ethereal emotion?”

The master leaned in to glance around at the faces before him, “No. Thoughts and feelings⁠—they come and go. They too cannot be You. If You are not the physical body and the workings of the mind, then what are You?” At this, the teacher, now self-satisfied, stood to tiptoe over and through his young students who were still staring at the courtyard wall before them.

The cliche ponderings weren't something a first-rate wiseman would be proud to share. Still, he had been sufficiently clever to confound the students before slipping awayimparting enough curiosity to not be bothered again for some time.

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