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Stories. 
The Final Test
by Sujata C
relates a story on selflessness from ancient China

In an ancient Chinese monastery there was an old Taoist master who had taught a group of students the high level principles of Taoism. The day came when the Taoist Master said to his students, “The time has come. Tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock come to the bank of the river and I will give you your final test that will enable you to teach others.

The next day all the students hurried out of the monastery so as not to be late for their master’s final test. On the way they passed a poor lady crying by a tree.

She said, “Help! My son has fallen down the well, please help!”

Fearful that they would be late for their Master all the students continued to hurry down the path towards the river, except one.

This one student stopped and looked at his fellow students hurrying away. He then looked at the lady and then again at the students. In his heart the student knew that he had to help this lady. However, he also knew that he would not make it in time for his Master’s final test. But his heart told him to help the old woman. His mind told him to carry on like the rest of the students so that he could give the test.

The boy listened to his heart. He walked towards the crying lady, jumped down the well and rescued the lady’s son. As the student came out of the well the lady approached him. At that moment to the student’s surprise the lady turned into the Taoist Master. The Taoist master said to the student that he had passed the final test and he would be the only one who would reach consummation. The Master called the other students and told them that they all had failed and only one student who helped the old woman had passed. The students asked him to explain why.

“How did the boy pass the test”, the students asked.

“Because of his selflessness,” said the master. “Selflessness is the key to receiving the abundant life, favor, and blessings of God. So start today by taking up your cross, denying yourself - your will, your dreams, your desires, your ambitions, putting others before us, thinking more highly of others than we do of ourselves, and helping our fellowmen.”

”How do we do this”, the students queried.

“We can assist the poor, the disabled, the needy, the orphans, the widows, the outcasts, the homeless children and the less fortunate. We can do this anonymously, without the need to be acknowledged as the one who helps. Why must we do that, you ask? Must you seek recognition for everything you do?

The Master went on to explain the real meaning of Taoism.

“Taoism is a 2500 year old spiritual practice. Tao merely means the natural way of the universe. Being one with the Tao means merely to live with the change and accept the way of nature; that of impermanence and flexibility.” 

Image under license with Gettyimages.com

24-Aug-2008
 
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