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Story: The Wise Master


There once was a teacher who lived with a great number of students in a
run-down
​old school​
. The students supported themselves by begging for food in the bustling streets of a nearby town. Some of the students grumbled about their humble living conditions. In response, the old master said one day, "We must repair the walls of this temple. Since we occupy ourselves with study and meditation, there is no time to earn the money we will need. I have thought of a simple solution."

All the students eagerly gathered closer to hear the words of their teacher.

The master said, "Each of you must go into the town and steal goods that can be sold for money. In this way, we will be able to do the good work of repairing our temple."

The students were startled at this suggestion from their wise master. But
​ ​
since they respected him greatly, they assumed he must have good judgment and did not
​ ​
protest.

The wise master said sternly, "In order not to defile our excellent reputation by committing illegal and immoral acts, please be certain to steal when no one is looking. I
do not want anyone to be caught."

When the teacher walked away, the students discussed the plan among
​ ​
themselves. "It is wrong to steal," said one. "Why has our wise master asked us to do
​ ​
this?"

Another retorted, "It will allow us to build our temple, which is a good result. "

They all agreed that their teacher was wise and just and must have a sensible reason for
​ ​
making such an unusual request. They set out eagerly for the town, promising each other
​ ​
that they would not disgrace their school by getting caught. "Be careful," they called to
​ ​
one another. "Do not let anyone see you stealing. "

All the students except one young boy set forth. The wise master approached
​ ​
him and asked, "Why do you stay behind?"

The boy responded, "I cannot follow your instructions to steal where no one
​ ​
will see me. Wherever I go, I am always there watching. My own eyes will see me steal."

The wise master tearfully embraced the boy. "I was just testing the integrity
​ ​
of my students," he said. "You are the only one who has passed the test!"

The boy went on to become a great teacher himself.

Tales from Ancient India
​ - ​
Jataka tales

Story - The Farmer's daughter
Story - Sharpen your skills
Story - Keeping Others Happy
Story - The Pond of Milk
Story - Self appraisal
Story - The Power of Positive Talk
Story - From Stress to Strength
Story - A Good Lesson
Story - The Wise Farmer of China
Story - Stay focused
Story – The Two brothers - Concluding Good and Bad