Learning to Listen – A Zen Buddhist Spiritual Story

Once, the Bodhisattva was born as an ascetic. He had five hundred followers, who lived with him in his mountain abode. Once day, half of his followers, including their chief had gone away looking for food. Suddenly, the Bodhisattva fell sick and took to bed.

The followers who had remained with him at the abode reached his bedside to tent to him. They asked him what his life’s achievement was. The Bodhisattva replied, “Nothing.” The followers failed to understand the true meaning of the wise man’s words.

They considered him to be a failure because he had achieved nothing. Soon after, the Bodhisattva died. The foolish followers gave him a simple burial, without any ceremony. When the chief of the other half of the followers returned, he explained to the others that their master had achieved such divinity that he could see beyond the ordinary appearance of things. But they did not understand him either.

One night, the Bodhisattva appeared before his followers and said, “The one who hears the Truth and understands it immediately is far better off than a hundred fools who spend a hundred years thinking.” The followers then realized that one should listen when the wise speak.

The author of this story is unknown and greatly appreciated!