Yesterday, the Monastery celebrated the Winter Sun Festival. The day was warm, and amidst orange mountain peaks and lush pine trees, the monks gathered in the terrace garden to enjoy themselves.
The lawn looked beautiful and there was sumptuous food and warm drinks laid out on the stone ledges.
The surprise was a magnificent Statue of a Man in the centre of the garden. He looked so dapper! Dressed in a chic trench coat, wearing leather gloves, a checked woollen scarf and an Italian winter hat, he looked very handsome.
Usually, there’s a special guest on festivals, but not yesterday. The monks made merry and Sensei joined them for lunch.
Towards the late afternoon, Sensei gathered the monks and said prayers. Then he thanked the special guest for coming. The monks were puzzled. They had not spotted anyone all day! Sensei waved his palm towards the Statue who gently came alive and silently bowed to everyone. Then he bowed to Sensei and left.
Sensei said, “That was Statue Monk. For 40 years he has perfected the Art of being a Statue.”
Mischief Monk immediately blurted out, “But Sensei, isn’t that a wasted effort?”
Sensei smiled and said, “All of us pretend to be someone else, in the company of others. By being statue-like amongst others, you can practice to be yourself. And after many years, you will realize that being yourself is the best act to follow, no matter what your surroundings are.”