"It's not a spectator sport!"

There were two ancient temples,
very antagonistic to each other. Their enmity was very ancient, traditional. Their priests were not on talking terms.

Both the temples had small boys as their disciples. These boys were helpers to the worship. They would bring things from the market, or to do other small chores which the old priests could not do. Because of the enmity, both temples insisted that the boys not speak to each other. They were told not to ask for anything, not to talk or even say good morning if they ever should meet.

But boys are boys. They were very curious and, in fact, the warnings of the old priests had made them more curious. And one boy in particular was feeling lonely, living with such old, boring, men. He wanted to be friendly with the other boy and would always peek from under his robe as the other passed on the way to market.

One day, finally, he dared to speak. He stood on the cross roads, and when the other boy came, he asked:
"Where are you going?"

The other boy answered, very philosophically:
"Wherever the wind takes."

Now the first boy was shocked. He thought, "My master was right! These other people are very strange. I've made a mistake. I wanted to be friendly but the answer cut me short. It is not a friendly answer and I cannot find what else to say to such a boy. What does this mean?

This boy hurried home to the temple and said to the master, "Forgive me. But just out of curiosity I asked the other boy:
`Where are you going?'

and he said:
`Wherever the wind takes.'

"You were right, I am sorry to disobey. But I'm feeling very much ashamed that I could not answer him. I could not find the words to answer."

The master said, "I warned you but you didn't listen. But now we must finish it. Tomorrow, do this, stand in the same place and he will come; he goes to the market every day. "Ask him again:
`Where are you going?'

If he says:
`Wherever the wind takes,'

then tell him:
`And if the wind is not blowing? Then are you going anywhere or not?'"

The boy practiced all night. He repeated his instructions, rehearsed, prepared himself and became perfect by the morning. Finally the time came and he set out from the temple. He reached the crossroads early and stood there repeating in his mind, over and over, what he was to say. It was now a question of his prestige.

Finally the other boy came and he asked:
"Where are you going?"

And the boy said:
"Wherever the legs take me."

Now his lesson was useless. He was at a loss what to do. He ran, crying to his master, "Those people are very inconsistent, the boy has changed his answer. Today he said:
`Wherever the legs take me.'"

The master said, "Don't waste a moment! Prepare for the next Day. Tomorrow when he says:
`Wherever the legs take.'
tell him,
`And if you were born crippled? Lame? Will you be going anywhere or not?'

"Learn your answer well! It is now not only a question of your prestige now, but the prestige of our temple, our whole heritage, our tradition is at stake!"
And the boy could not sleep the whole night. He said his line over and over, "And if you were born crippled?" Many times in his dreams he saw the other boy, he said the line.

Finally morning came and he got ready. He reached the place at the crossroads, and soon the boy from the other temple came.

He asked:
"Where are you going?"

And the boy said:
"To fetch some vegetables from the market."

Zen is about recognizing what is. You don't need to study for the present moment; only to live it.