The story is told of a young monk who developed a peculiar penchant for climbing a certain tree and sitting for hours on end in its uppermost branches to meditate. No matter the weather — cold, heat, rain or shine — he faithfully assumed his perch to sit and meditate. Over time, the village folk became accustomed to this strange quirk of his and nicknamed him “Birdsnest.” And as they passed below him while foraging or hunting, they would sometimes ask a question of him — questions pertaining to some great need they had, or some sage advice they sought.
As a result of the sometimes provocative but always sound advice he dispensed, his reputation grew. People came from his village and many outlying villages just to seek his counsel. Because of his notoriety as a shaman and prophet whose word could be counted on, the name of “Birdsnest-The-Monk-Who-Sat-In-A-Tree-Giving-Sound-Counsel” reached the governor of the province.
Wishing to test this young monk, the governor traveled two days to seek him out. Upon finding him perched atop his favorite tree, he looked up and yelled a question to the wise one.
“Birdsnest, I am the governor of this province and I have come a great distance to speak with you! I have a most important question.”
There was only silence. Undaunted, the governor pushed on with his question.
“Tell me Birdsnest, what is it that all the wise ones have taught? Can you tell me the most important thing ever said?” Again silence, only the sound of nature in the wind.
Breaking the long silence, the young monk called down from the tree.
“Here is your answer, Governor. Don’t do bad things. Always do good things. That is the wisest of all things ever taught.”
“Unacceptable, unsatisfactory and insufficient!” thought the governor, as he considered the answer thrown down to him from the monk who sat far up above him in the tree.
In response, the governor cupped his hands and yelled up to him, “I walked two days’ journey to hear this, Monk? I’ve known this from a child!” Looking down and eyeing the governor with discernment and a bit of sarcasm, the monk responded.
“Yes, the three year-old knows it, but the eighty-year-old still finds it hard to do.”
(source: Excuses Begone by Dr. Wayne W.Dyer)
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