Writing On Palm


Doseong, Lee

 When an enlightened being, travelling around the world to find people, arrived at a village, he met a ascetic who wanted to attain enlightenment. He said hello to the ascetic in the hope that the ascetic might like to listen to his words.

 “I am an enlightened being. I am looking for those who seek after truth.”

 The ascetic said in an angry voice.

 “An enlightened being stays still.”

 “If an enlightened being closes his mouth, how can people attain his wisdom? It is sin.”

 “I will check whether or not you are an enlightened being.”

 “Good. Please do so as much as you want.”

 “Tell me why we call an apple tree ‘an apple tree’?”

 “Before I answer your question, I will ask you a question. Do you know why people call a pine tree ‘a pine tree’?”

 Becoming impatient, the ascetic shouted at the enlightened being very loudly.

 “They call the tree a pine tree because people named it ‘a pine tree’!”

 “My answer is the same as yours. When we see an apple tree, because people named it an apple tree, we think it is an apple tree and call it so.”

 The ascetic said excitedly.

 “I taught you a lesson.”

 The enlightened being said to the ascetic gently.

 “You didn’t teach me anything. Everybody knows it. You just asked me a very stupid question.”