Written by Prem Shunyo
A woodcutter used to go into the woods every day. Sometimes he had to remain hungry because it was raining, sometimes it was too hot, sometimes it was too cold.
A mystic lived in the woods. He watched the woodcutter growing old, sick, hungry, working hard the whole day. He said, “Listen, why don’t you go a little further?”
The woodcutter said, “What am I going to get a little further? More wood? Unnecessarily carrying that wood for miles?”
The mystic said, “No. If you go a little further, you will find a copper mine. You can take the copper into the city, and that will be enough for seven days. You need not come every day to cut the wood.”
The man thought: “Why not give it a try?”
He went in and found the mine. And he was so happy. He came back and fell at the feet of the mystic.
The mystic said, “Don’t rejoice too much right now. You have to go a little deeper into the woods.”
“But,” he said, “what is the point? Now I have got seven days’ food.”
The mystic said, “Still…”
But the man said, “I will lose the copper mine if I go further.”
He said, “You go. You certainly will lose the copper mine, but there is a silver mine. And whatsoever you can bring will be enough for three months.”
“The mystic has proved right about the copper mine,” the woodcutter thought. “Perhaps he is also right about the silver mine.” And he went in and found the silver mine.
And he came dancing, and he said, “How can I pay you? My gratitude knows no bounds.”
The mystic said, “But there is a gold mine just a few steps deeper.”
The woodcutter was hesitant. In fact, he was such a poor man, that having a silver mine…he had never dreamed of it.
But if the mystic is saying it, who knows? – he may still be right. And he found the gold mine. Now it was enough to come once a year.
But the mystic said, “It will be a long time – one year from now you will be coming here. I am getting old – I may not be here, I may be gone. So I have to tell you, don’t stop at the gold mine. Just a little more…”
But the man said, “Why? What is the point? You show me one thing, and the moment I get it, you immediately tell me to drop that and go ahead! Now I have found the gold mine!”
The mystic said, “But there is a diamond mine just a few feet deeper in the forest.”
The woodcutter went that very day, and he found it. He brought many diamonds, and he said, “This will be enough for my whole life.”
The mystic said, “Now perhaps we may not meet again, so my last message is: now that you have enough for your whole life, GO IN! Forget the forest, the copper mine, the silver mine, the gold mine, the diamond mine. Now I give you the ultimate secret, the ultimate treasure that is within you. Your outer needs are fulfilled. Sit the way I am sitting here.”
The poor man said, “Yes, I was wondering… you know all these things – why do you go on sitting here? The question has arisen again and again. And I was just going to ask, “Why don’t you get all those diamonds lying there? Only you know about them. Why do you go on sitting under this tree?”
The mystic said, “After finding the diamonds, my master told me, ‘Now sit under this tree and GO IN.'”