The Way of the Master

An old man lived in a hut
A word he never used was “But”

No matter what the struggle
He wasn’t trapped in his bubble

Returning to his hut one day he found
A stranger prowling around

The stranger had eaten his food
And looked to be in a foul mood

His meager belongings in a sack
The stranger didn’t cut him slack

“Give me your clothes now”
He shouted with furrowed brow

The old man readily complied
His face not hurt with pride

The Stranger:
“Who are you, crazy man?
What is your name, your clan?”

The old man simply smiled
Face innocent as a child

The Old Man:
“I am you!
Does it give a clue?”

The stranger flew into a rage
Like hungry lion in a cage

The Stranger:
“Old man, are you crazy?
To answer me, are you lazy?”

The Old Man:
“With this body, be not confused
With my answer, be not amused”

The Stranger:
“Stay away from me, old man
As far from me as you can!”

The Old Man:
“From me, you think you are apart
But I am you in the heart”

The stranger stood perplexed
Wondering what’s coming next

The Old Man:
“Stealing from me, you think you gain
But not knowing yourself, it is all in vain”

The bewildered stranger, he just froze
Standing dazed, dropped the clothes

Deep within was born a stirring
Even as his mind went whirring

The Old Man:
“The heart of the heart is there is just One
Apart from this is, there is none

To That, no treasure can compare
Its value, rarer than rare

No eyes can see it
No ears can hear it
No tongue can taste it
No hands can feel it
No nostrils can smell it
No thought can touch it

To realize this, you are born
No greater crown, you can adorn

Everything else is an illusion
Born of the separation delusion

Of death you’ll remain frightened
Come into Truth, you’ll be enlightened

This knowledge is not in a bookshelf
The only way is to know yourself”

“Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha”
From the Buddha’s Sutra, the old man chanted
Leaving the stranger in a luminous “Ah ha”
In this way, awakening was planted

Doing so, the old man disappeared
From separation delusion, the stranger was cleared


The Heart Sutra of The Buddha ends with this verse:
“Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha”

It is seen as the heart of The Heart Sutra. We’ll touch on this in future posts.

From a life as a thief, a stranger is awakened, in a short encounter with an old man. This, while millions, with years of practice, struggle to awaken. How did the Master know that the stranger was indeed a ripe fruit, ready to fall? How did the Master facilitate this awakening in a stranger?

A mystery, dear One, a mystery, that is the way of the Master!



* I came across this story online some years ago, and have retold it in the way it impacted me. I don’t know the source of the original story. Grateful for wherever it came from.

* Check out the book, “What is Enlightenment? A Simple Guide“ – it brings you clarity on preparatory practices vs direct paths to Enlightenment.

* Available now, “Awaken: An Experiential Exploration of Enlightenment” – this book guides you on the direct path of Self-Inquiry, to the experiential realization of Reality, your true nature.

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