Sunday, June 20, 2010

Perils of Imitation - A Teaching Story - THE ORIGINAL and THE IMITATOR

Perils of Imitation
A Teaching Story – Gutei’s Finger
Retold By

I always exhort my students to be original and not imitate (or plagiarize) especially while conducting dissertation studies, research work and writing papers and research reports etc

In order to drive home this point I like to tell them one of my favourite teaching stories: GUTEI’S FINGER
Whenever anyone asked him about Zen, the great master Gutei would quietly raise his index finger into the air.

A boy in the village began to imitate this behaviour.

Whenever he heard people talking about Gutei’s teachings, the mischievous boy would interrupt the discussion and raise his index finger.

Gutei heard about the boy’s mischief.

When Gutei saw the naughty boy who had been imitating him in the street, he seized the boy  and cut off the boy's finger.

The stunned and shocked boy howled in pain and totally terrified of Gutei, the petrified boy began to run off, but Gutei called out to the boy.

When the boy turned to look, Gutei raised his index finger into the air.

At that moment the boy became enlightened.

Do tell me if you liked this story…

Post a Comment