Who Am I

There was once a man whom became an ordained monk. After many years of being a monk, he never once practiced towards becoming enlightened. He felt that he was wasting his time, therefore, went to his master and asked if he could no longer be a monk. The master, whom has a special supernatural ability of having no worries, saw that his disciple’s future with Buddhism was not over yet and that there remain opportunities for him to reach enlightenment in the future. So the master said to his disciple that he could go ahead and leave. Upon leaving, it was already pretty late in the evening and he came across an abandoned temple, so he decided to stay at the temple overnight and set off to leave the mountains in the morning.

Soon after the disciple settled down in the abandoned temple, he suddenly heard a loud noise outside which seemed to sound like 2 people arguing. He got very afraid, for he knew that there was nobody around. He got very frantic and decided to hide under the table.

In came a little ghost whom was dragging a fresh corpse followed by a big ghost. The two ghosts were arguing who the corpse belonged to. Suddenly in the midst of arguing, the big ghost suddenly sniffed around said “Hey, there is human being in here. Let’s ask him to be our witness.” So they call out the disciple and ask him who the corpse belonged to. The disciple hesitated and thought to himself; “I did indeed see the little ghost drag in the corpse. But if I say that the corpse belongs to the little ghost, the big ghost will eat me. If I say that it belongs to the big ghost then I would be lying and the little ghost will eat me. Either way I am going to die, so I should just tell the truth and not lie.” Finally after awhile the disciple said “The corpse indeed does belong to the little ghost.”

The big ghost got very angry and ripped off the disciple’s right arm and ate it. The little ghost immediately took the right arm of the corpse and placed it on the disciple causing him to have an arm again. Then the big ghost ripped off the disciple’s left arm and ate it. The little ghost again replaced the missing arm with the corpse’s arm. For every part the big ghost would rip off and eat, the little ghost would replace with a part from the corpse. Finally there was nothing more the big ghost could eat on the disciple, so he left. The little ghost realized he was left with nothing and said “What do I eat now?” and left.

Finally the disciple was left all alone and asked “Who am I?” He was very confused and did not know who he was. Therefore, he realized there was so much more he could learn from his wise master. So first thing in the morning he immediately returned to his master and asked him “Who am I?” His master then told him “Nothing is permanent, and nothing belongs to anyone. Even I do not belong to myself. The nature of everything is emptiness.” At that moment, the disciple became enlightened and decided to continue practicing under his master.