One day, a man stopped a monk in the market. The man wanted to ask the monk for advice.
“Holy One, could you spare a moment? I need to ask you a question,” said the man.
The monk smiled and replied, “Surely, although I must say that I might not have the answer that you are looking for.”
“It’s worth a try,” said the man. “I have a problem. The ministers at the palace did not accept me as a tax collector. They said that I had the smarts, but I didn’t have enough experience. What should I do? I want that job desperately!”
Without changing his expression, the monk tilted his head and said, “Celebrate! Take your family out to dinner. Toast to it.”
“I don’t understand. How can you say that when I got rejected for the job?” asked the man.
The monk seemed to have heard a joke. He giggled a bit, and said, “Let me tell you a story. When I was your age, I also had the same experience. I tried to become a soldier, but the general said that I didn’t have the right constitution for it. Because of that, I went to my grandfather where I got the same advice.”
“What does that have to do with my situation? You’re now a monk, not a soldier,” pointed out the man.
The monk leaned over to the man and answered with a question, “Would you have gotten an answer from me if I became a general?”
The man’s face lit up. He was a smart man after all, and he realized the precious lesson that the monk taught him that day.