Once upon a time, in a bustling town, resided a wise Zen ascetic. Despite his humble appearance and tattered garments, everything about him exuded a sense of order and grace. People flocked to him in great numbers, seeking his words of wisdom and receiving his blessings.
Visitors would often humbly bow before him, touching his feet and even applying the sacred touch to their own eyes, seeking enlightenment through his divine presence.
News of the Zen ascetic's remarkable presence reached the palace, catching the attention of the nation's esteemed general. Consumed by irritation and jealousy, the general yearned to punish the ascetic, resenting the fact that someone as simple as an ascetic had achieved greater fame than him, a high-ranking military figure.
Unable to contain his curiosity and envy any longer, the general resolved to confront the ascetic directly. As he made his way through the crowd, parting waves of people, he finally stood face to face with the ascetic.
Taking a moment to observe the ascetic from head to toe, the general couldn't help but express his confusion, "I, the expert in wielding multiple weapons and commanding countless warriors, am showered with respect and admiration wherever I go. Yet, here you are, resembling a beggar unsure of your next meal, and people revere you, bow at your feet, and honor you. I fail to comprehend why."
The ascetic, amused by the general's words, invited him to the backyard of his humble abode. There, a delightful sight awaited them—an array of vibrant flowers blooming with various colors. The radiant full moon adorned the night sky, casting a magical glow upon the scene.
Pointing toward the majestic full moon, the ascetic gently inquired, "Tell me, esteemed general, what do you see?"
Pondering for a moment, the general replied, "That is the moon."
With a serene smile, the ascetic continued, "Did you ever witness a rose flower, bathed in moonlight, compare its own blossoming beauty to the moon's resplendence? Did it ever sulk, resenting its lack of moon-like radiance? No, it never did. And likewise, the moon never yearned to possess the red hue or the velvety softness of a rose. Their beauty is distinct and unique."
As the general absorbed the ascetic's profound observation, a sense of humility washed over him. His eyes welled up with emotion, and he spoke with genuine remorse, "I deeply regret belittling you. Please forgive me."
And with those heartfelt words, the general lowered himself, prostrating before the ascetic, acknowledging his own folly and seeking forgiveness for his arrogance.