After years of urging from his village, a bright young man went his way to seek a legendary master. He worked in rice fields before he could walk – sifting and separating.
To all of the villagers it was clear that he had outgrown the tiny valley hugged by three peaks. But nothing they did could get him to leave his family a moment sooner. They even swore to care for the needs of his sisters and parents should he never return. They insisted that the young man was more valuable to the village bringing back knowledge and wisdom than the money he could save. But he left when he had personally saved enough money for them.
Many hardships and life threatening challenges confronted his journey to see the legendary master. But his sojourn was successful. Although beaten, bleeding, exhausted and famished (as masters prefer calling dangerous mountains their home for the sake of privacy) the young man found himself at the fabled front door of the master he sought.
Not surprisingly, the young man did not get a very good look at the front door as it quickly gave way to powerful medicinal arms. The master seemed to know of the young man’s arrival and condition upon arrival. A bed and medicine were prepared. The young man wondered why the master with such clairevoyance did not meet him half way. The young man wondered why the master did not slay the tigers and bandits that left him with nothing but bone on his left arm and right ankle. The young man wondered and slept. In his dreams, the young man became resentful and angry with the master he had not yet formally met.
When he woke, the master presented the young man with a bottle and a chicken egg. The young man wanted to eat the egg whole. The master instructed him to place it into the bottle.
The young man’s true nature prevaled and he faithfully did what the master instructed.
The master asked the young man if he wanted the egg. The famished young man simply nodded his head with hunger.
The master handed the young man a hammer. The young man tried to simply pour the egg out of the bottle but he could not orient the egg at the angle needed to slide out as he had slid it into the bottle. The young man lifted the hammer but quickly realized that the slightest impact from shattering glass would break the egg and pepper it with shards of glass. The young man had never found himself so helpless.
The master asked the young man, “how would you propose to get the egg out of the bottle?”
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