Mar 2, 2006

Want to know a secret?

It so happened that during his travels, the Sacred Flame of Tajikistan came upon a temple where the master was instructing his pupils in Kung Fu fighting techniques. Inquiring, he asked if it was possible to join the lesson and the master agreed, seeing the possibility for another pupil. However, as he called on them to spar, he watched with amazement and worry as the Sacred Flame defeated several of his best pupils, one after the other and without apparent effort.

Deciding he had seen enough, he called the Sacred Flame before him for a fight. At first, he tested gently, but his attacks became stronger and more deadly as the sparring progressed, until he was throwing full blows and strikes with intent to cut down the stranger before him. Yet even as he tried, he was unable to land his blows and was eventually struck a powerful blow to the head which left him on the ground. Getting up, he dismissed the class. Except for the Sacred Flame. “You”, he said, “are to come with me so we can have a little chat.”

He agreed and followed him to a quieter part of the temple. “How did you defeat us all?” the master demanded harshly. “I am the greatest Temple Master in this region! Never since I achieved my black sash have I been defeated!”
“Perhaps I am aware of secrets you are not,” he replied neutrally.
“There is NOTHING I am not aware of! I have mastered the Nine Crippling Strikes, the ancient techniques where I could leave you pleading for death!”
“Yet you couldn't land a blow on me. Perhaps there are other secrets you are not aware of?”
“There are none! I have mastered Qi Gong and can use the Wheel of Law to smash your body. I know the secrets of Dim Mak, the Death Blows where you could be dead with a single touch!”
“And still you failed to hit me. Do you know why?”
“No”, admitted the master, captivated by whatever this hidden power could be.
“Precisely. You know many lesser secrets that have been hidden. You may even know of the unknown secrets that are hidden in the open. Yet you do not know anything of the Greater Secrets. Without that knowledge, the rest is as if it was nothing.”
“Tell me...please, what is the secret?”
“You are not worthy of the knowledge. Besides, my time here is short, and I will be gone soon anyway.” With that he left.

Later that night, the Temple Master managed to track the Sacred Flame down to his current lodgings. Opening the door, he sighed as the master came in. His first words were “please, teach me the Great Secret. I will do whatever you want to prove I am worthy.”
And so the master became pupil once again. He cooked meals, cleaned clothes and aided the Sacred Flame in any way he could, carrying and fetching items for him, serving his every whim so that he could be considered worthy enough to know the Great Secret.

After a week of this, a friend of the Sacred Flame came to where he was staying. The previous temple master was told to leave so that he could speak in private to his old friend. Noting the look on his friend's face, he waited until the door was closed, then told him the whole story.
As he finished, his friend let out a great laugh. “You old bullshitter” he managed between the tears. “When are you going to tell him the truth?”
“To be honest, I don't know. You'd think someone who knows so much would have got it by now. Besides, he seems to be enjoying himself. Who knows what he would do if he knew the real secret was there was no secret at all, only the power that comes from not telling somebody something?”

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