The master and the mountain

In which a master and his pupils think about life.

The cold wind was blowing incessantly and with its strength, it had cleared all clouds from the sky: perfect blue now being painted with black spots where a flock of birds was moving South. The sun was setting, painting the skyline red and turning the snow-covered mountain tops pink. The shadows were growing longer and the only noises were the cicadas song and the wind blowing among the tree leaves.

Near the woods, on a small grassy hill, the master sat in meditation in front of his three young pupils. The face of the master, a complicated web of wrinkles, was quiet. His shoulders were straight and his body was still and relaxed. Inside the shell of quiet calm that was the master’s body, strong energy stirred, so intense that it radiated outside. The master sat like a mountain. The pupils' faces looked calm, but the lines of their mouths were hard because their jaws were slightly clenched. Their backs were straight, but their muscles were becoming tense. They, too, possessed warm energy, but it was stormy, like boiling lava of a volcano. The pupils sat like animals ready to run. The wind pushed a dry leaf; it twirled, went up, down, then spiralled to the ground in front of the master. He picked it up and showed it to his pupils, saying: “Like this leaf, soon we shall fall. Our life is just as short, and the sign of our existence will fade, like that of this leaf”. The master then put the leave back on the ground and waited silently for an answer from his pupils.

Huyu spoke first: “Everything dies. Death is our only certainty and living is just dying day after day. Everything is meaningless, because, after all, everything will end. We don’t have to suffer, become angry, be driven by emotions. Wise is the person that doesn’t let emotions prevail. No reason to fight. No reason to put so much effort into things”.

Natu spoke second: “Everything dies. Death is our only certainty and one day we will be dust and all our actions will be forgotten. The end could reach us at any moment and making big projects for the future is useless. Wise are the persons that take everything they can, as soon as they can; that satisfy their instincts and don’t worry about the consequences of their actions. No reason to worry. No reason to put so much effort into things”.

Haru, at last, expressed his thoughts: “Everything dies. Death is our only certainty, because our life is short and frail, like that of every being walking this Earth. Every instant could be our last. Wise are the persons that use their time as well as they can, giving all they can and living each moment of their life without wasting any”.

What path should we follow?” Asked then the pupils. “Which of us is right?” “How can we tell what is wrong from what is right?” “If everything ends, why should Wrong and Right even exist?” “Our lives have no purpose, then?” “Is it so, that the path we follow doesn’t matter at all?

The minutes passed and the master didn’t answer. He sat in silence, quiet, his eyes lost in the distance. Finally, when his pupils were starting to grow restless, he spoke: “Feel the wind blowing through your hair, caressing your skin. Touch the wet grass. Look at the first stars shining in the sky above. Listen to the owl’s whistle, to the song of the mother lulling his son to sleep down at the village. Feel your breath and the breath of each living creature. The answer to your questions is in your hearts.


~ Melyanna