In distant antiquity there lived a Japanese Monk. He used to travel from city to city, telling peasants about Emperor’s work and good deeds.
The word soon reached the Emperor. The Monk was traced and taken to the Royal Palace.
Happy with the young 30 odd year old Monk’s work, Emperor gifted him a Tea set. With intricate designs and covered with gold leaf, the tea set was no ordinary. But more than the intricacies and the gold, the Monk grew fondness to the fact that the Emperor himself gifted him the set.
But one fine day, as fate had it, one of the cups slipped from the Monk’s hand and landed onto the wooden floor. But not without breaking apart into numerous pieces.
‘What have I done’? yelled the Monk. But he was an honest and a determined man. Not able to bear the site of broken cup, that too when it was gifted by the Emperor, he embarked on a ruthlessly tiring journey. Of putting all the broken pieces together.
It was a fine spring morning and the streets of Kyoto were laden with cherry blossoms. A group of four men knocked the Monk’s door. A young volunteer while letting the people in asked ‘ May I know what brings you here today?’
A man on the far right of the group said ‘The Emperor’s son wants to see the revered Monk.’
The Emperor’s son who grew up listening to the tales of the mystic Monk and his reverence to his father finally had shown up to see him.
‘I am afraid. He is busy with his Golden Cup.’ he said.
‘I have waited years to accumulate all the wisdom to meet the revered Monk. I cannot wait any further.’ the son replied.
The boy guided them to the Monk’s room.
As the Emperor’s men announced the arrival of the Emperor’s son, Monk said ‘Oh! You should have waited for some longer. How do I serve you Tea when the Golden Cup is still to be fixed?’
The Monk was now Ninety and his face was full of wear and tear of age.
The Emperor’s men listening to the blunt reply of the Monk stepped in and said to the Emperor’s son ‘He loves the Tea set, that your father gifted him. He broke one by mistake, and has been trying to mend it relentlessly for past sixty years.’
Hearing which the son, stepped forward and took a close look at the remaining of the Tea set.
‘What stops you from serving us the Tea? You and we are five. And that’s the number of cups still in good shape.’
The Monk looked up and finally realized what he was missing while trying to the mend the broken cup, for all those years.
He finally got up from his place and started heading toward the door.
As he was about to leave the room and go, the Emperor’s son asked ‘Did you finally mend the cup? What are you up to next?’
‘No! I haven’t. And it can never be mended into its original glory again.’
‘Then why give up now, after all those years?’ the son asked.
‘Because I realize that something else is broken and needs immediate mending.’
‘My life.’ said the Hermit.