The saintly scholarThere was a great scholar who was very saintly. His wife was nice, but she was earthly whereas the scholar was all the time talking about philosophy, spirituality and all kinds of religious things. Although he was such a great scholar, he was very poor because he wouldn’t take money from anyone. Whenever he taught he wouldn’t accept money from his students. In wisdom he was like the Pacific Ocean, but he was absolutely poverty-stricken.
One day some of his students went to the king and said, “Your kingdom has such a great scholar. Other kings would die to have such a great scholar in their kingdom. Can you not give this man lots of money so that he will not have to live such a poor life? Then he will be able to concentrate more on his studies and become more learned. There is not a single scholar anywhere who is as great as he is.”
The king was very happy to have this kind of scholar in his kingdom. So he sent a very large amount of money to the scholar through one of the scholar’s admirers. The king also sent a message appreciating the scholar very highly.
When the scholar received the gift from the king, he said to his admirer, “I can never accept the king’s money.”
His wife immediately said, “You fool! If you take the king’s money, you won’t have to work any more. We are so poor. You must take his gift!”
The scholar said, “If my admirer doesn’t take it back, I will take it back personally.”
The wife said, “You are such a fool. You spend so many hours helping others and you take next to nothing for it. Now the king has given you money so that you can lead a comfortable life and not worry about ordinary necessities. Why won’t you accept his gift and appreciation?”
The scholar said, “Look what kind of king we have. The king has given me money because some people have spoken highly of me. Before my admirers went to him, he had never heard of me. He didn’t even know that there was a great scholar in his kingdom. Today he heard from someone that I am very great, so he gave me a reward. But he just sent the money; he did not even want to make any direct contact. He could have invited me to come to his palace so that he could see me, but he believed my admirers. Tomorrow some people may speak ill of me and he will hear that I am really very bad. Then he may punish me. Therefore, I will not accept his money.”