The Student and the Philosopher
Once there was a professor of philosophy who was renowned throughout the country for his great wisdom. One day a student came to him and said, “Oh noble philosopher, it is known far and wide that you have reached enlightenment. Therefore I seek to study under you.”
Said the philosopher, “And what will you do if I should refuse to teach you and choose to dismiss you instead?”
“Then I shall be dismissed,” said the student.
“I dismiss you,” said the philosopher, and thus the student left.
The next day the philosopher was told that the student who had come to him was ill and would soon die. Overcome with remorse, the philosopher rushed to apologize, saying that he would allow the dying student to study under him.
When the student heard this he said, “Why should you teach me now, when you know I will be dying soon, if you would not teach me when you thought I was dying later?” And with that he walked away.
When the philosopher related the story to the master, he asked what were the master’s thoughts on the matter. Replied the master, “There is nothing you could have taught that boy anyway.”