LESSONS FOR GROWTH
Once an ascetic wanders into the royal gardens of a local king in search of alms and seats himself at the foot of a tree. Nearby, the king has been listening to music with his courtesans and has fallen fast asleep. The courtesans notice that this wandering ascetic has entered the garden and, as the king is asleep, slowly creeps away to hear his religious teachings. Soon the ascetic is surrounded by the courtesans and he begins instructing them in the dharma. The king though, having noticed that the music has stopped, wakes up and looks around angrily for his musicians and dancers. Seeing them seated around the ascetic, he becomes enraged with jealousy, marches over to the ascetic and demands to know the doctrine that he teaches.
The ascetic replies: "The doctrine of patience, your Majesty." Proclaiming that he will test the reality of the ascetic's patience, the king orders for his executioner. On the instruction of the king, the executioner proceeds to chop off the limbs of the ascetic one by one. After a limb has been chopped off, the king asks again: "Vile ascetic, what doctrine do you teach?"
Each time the ascetic answers that he teaches the doctrine of patience. Finally, the ascetic dies, proclaiming in his last moments that his patience does not exist in his limbs and that the king can never cause anger to arise within him.