The Test Of Conscience
The Test Of Conscience Lord Buddha had taken many students under his wing and was teaching them about his Path. One day, he decided to test them. He told them all to gather together and addressed them: "My students, I am growing old and feeble. There are so many of you that I must provide for, but there isn't enough money. For this, I need your help." "Tell us what we can do, my Lord", all the students said in unison. "There are a lot of wealthy people living in the nearby town who can be of help. This is what all of you must do!" The students drew closer and listened intently. The Buddha continued: "You must follow them around as they walk through the streets. And, when no one is looking, you must pick their pockets and steal their money!" The students were shocked. "But my Lord", they cried, "You've taught us that stealing is wrong. How can we do this?" "It must be done, or else, we are doomed!", the Buddha said. "Now, go into town and do as I say. But remember, you must only steal when no one is watching." One by one, the students left in disbelief. The Buddha looked at them and smiled inwardly. Soon, all the students had left except for one student who remained back. The Buddha called him and said "Why aren't you joining the others? Do you dare disobey me?" The young student bowed low and said "Master, you said that I should steal only when I am not being seen. But how can I do that? For every day, at all times, I can always see myself." The Buddha laughed and said, "My child, you are the only one who understood what I was trying to say! Now hurry and bring back all your fellow students before they do something foolish!" The young student ran out and came back with all his fellow students. The Buddha smiled and told them this important lesson: "No matter what we do or where we are, there is always a part of us that is watching us. This part of you knows right from wrong and can be an excellent guide for us – if only we listen to it!"