Honor Each Person’s Truth

By | May 22, 2011

A Beggar sitting beside the road asked a passing Sage for alms.

“Are you extravagant?” asked the Sage.

“Yes,” replied the Beggar.

“Do you like lounging around drinking coffee and smoking?”

“Yes,” the Beggar stated again.

“What about going to the hot springs every day?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Also having a good time drinking with your friends?”

“I do like all of those things.”

With a frown the Sage handed him a large gold coin.

Next to him was another Beggar, who also asked for alms.

“Are you extravagant?” asked the Sage.

“No,” stated the Beggar.

“Do you like loafing around smoking and drinking coffee?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Maybe you go often to the hot springs?”

“No.”

“But do you go drinking with your friends?”

“I do not. I only want to live simply and meditate.”

The Sage smiled and gave him a small copper coin.

“Why only this,” whined the Beggar, “for a frugal Seeker devoted to his practice, when you were so kind to that loafer?”

“His needs,” the Sage replied, “were greater than yours.”

The first Beggar is of no mind and aware, like clear water. The thinking mind of the second Beggar is muddied with preferences and prejudices. He can embrace neither his own truth nor the truth of another. The Sage respects each Beggar’s truth, even though it might not be his.


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