A young monk approached his master – the Abbot of the monastery. Bowing deeply, and giving a respectful cough, the young monk summoned his voice to speak:
“This unworthy person presumes to impose upon your boundless wisdom what can only be a tedious and no doubt foolish question”.
“Speak grasshopper”, replied the Abbot.
“Well Master, it seems to this ignorant and superficial person that there is much striving after wealth, position, and prestige, in the world of many things; this being so even when accompanied by a noble sentiment. But Master, I have pondered upon the transience of any lasting fame, which may be attached to a person’s name once they have departed the scene of their endeavours; either to join their ancestors in the celestial realms, or while living, to retire to a quiet life in a distant province of our great empire.”
“Ah, grasshopper, though rudely put I am still able to apprehend the essential nature of your question. To answer it I must first ask you to fetch me a bucket of water.”
Though perplexed the young monk obeyed the instruction, and soon returned, bearing a bucket of water, which he placed before his master.
“Now grasshopper, to answer your question, I must first ask you to roll up your right sleeve and put your arm into the bucket. Good. Now, roll up your left sleeve and place you left arm into the bucket. Good. Now, if my weed-grown memory serves me aright, your question was concerning the lasting nature of a person’s fame and influence once they have departed the scenes of their activities?”
“Now please be so good as to remove both your arms from the bucket of water, and tell me what impression they have left in the water”
The young monk smiled, touched his forehead to the ground, and quietly departed.
©D G Moody 2022