I recently heard an interesting little tale on the radio.
A Chinese sage called Ee Tu lived high on a hilltop in ancient China. The sage was known far and wide, and many people flocked to him to hear his wisdom.
There was a large army that marched past the hilltop, and the General that led the army stopped so that he could also hear some of the wisdom of the sage. At the time Ee Tu was busy meditating, and nobody wanted to disturb him. The General then left a message, inviting Ee Tu for supper that evening.
When Ee Tu arrived at the army camp that night, he announced himself. The guard thought this was a beggar that wanted to imitate the great Ee Tu, and refused to let him go past. Ee Tu tried to explain, but the guard was adamant and kicked the sage until he decided to leave.
About an hour later Ee Tu arrived again, this time dressed in richly colored robes. The guard did not recognize him, and bowed before him and let him through. Ee Tu was escorted to the General's tent where he was received like royalty.
Ee Tu and the General talked about all kinds of things, and the General used the opportunity to ask many questions about things that he thought would make him a better leader.
When the food arrived, Ee Tu was offered the best food first. He calmly took some choice morsels and put them one after the other into the sleeves of his robe.
The General and the other guests looked at this with astonishment. Eventually the General said 'Ee Tu, you never told me that you are so in need of food. Please feel free to eat, and I will give orders for more food to be sent to your home. There is a lot of food here, and I will see that you are not hungry in future.'
Ee Tu smiled and said 'I am not hungry. I need very little food. I am feeding the sleeves of my robes because you invited my robes here rather than me.'
The General hung his head in shame. He realized that Ee Tu was neither a beggar nor a richly clad person. Ee Tu was a unique human being.
This reminds me of the person that wanted to learn from the wisdom of the sun. He pointed his finger to the sun so that he could open his mind and hear clearly what the sun could teach him. However, he then looked at his finger and became so intrigued with his finger that he forgot to listen to the sun, and started telling people about the wisdom that came from his finger.
We like to think about ourselves as intelligent people who are ready to receive wisdom, and when the wisdom comes to us, we often reject it for something of far lesser value and look for the more socially acceptable version.
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