How the Master Taught the Student to Learn From a Tree

The teacher was about to visit another city for a few days. The student asked: “Master, how can I learn while you are gone?”

“Repeat what you learned so far,” the master said.

“But what if I have questions?” the student asked. 

The master laughed, as the student always had many questions.

“Do you see that tree?” the master asked. 

Photo by Sean Afnan

Photo by Sean Afnan

“Yes, I do.”

“Then go ask the tree!”

The student insisted, humbly: “Master, the tree will not respond.”

“If the tree does not answer,” the master said, “it means your question was not very good. If your question is honest and well thought through, the tree will answer.”

The master left, and on the same day a question formed in the student’s mind.

The student felt the urge to ask the master. Then he realized that the master was gone!

As he had been told, the student asked the tree. It was awkward at first.

The tree did not answer.

The student rephrased the question.

Still no answer.

The student thought hard, and while he was asking his question for the third time, in new and more precise words, right in the middle of the question the answer popped into his head.

Now it was for the student to smile. The tree had answered, just as the master had promised.

When searching for answers, think your question through. If your question is bad, a thousand masters cannot answer. If your question is well thought through, even the trees will come to teach you.