A Parable

A parable written by Peter Rollins:

One day the temple master called his youngest disciple to sit and eat w/ him in private. This disciple had been a devotee for many years and had carefully followed the ways of his teacher, learning to emulate the life of the Master as best he could.

But the great Master was now an elderly man and knew that he was close to death. He was fond of this disciple, yet he feared that the disciple was still some way from achieving enlightenment—not despite the Master’s diligence but rather precisely because of it. And so, as they sat together the Master addressed his disciple, saying, “you have been a thoughtful and dedicated follower of my teachings for many years and you may well one day become a great teacher. However, I sense that you are in danger of betraying me in your thoughts and actions.”

“Never,” replied the disciple in shock. “Since I was young I have followed your ways, never deviating from the path that you have ploughed. I never cease to reflect upon your words, and I never tire of engaging in the rituals and prayers that you have taught. I swear to you that I would never betray you, my great teacher.”

“But you fail to understand, my young friend,” replied the Master. “The fact that you have never betrayed my teachings, and the fact that you swear never to betray them: this is to betray them already.”

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