Once, there was a homeless youth who went to a temple where he was fortunate enough to be accepted. After he had a bath and shaved his head, he looked quite attractive.
The temple master took care of him and taught him basic lessons. He was quite smart and diligent, and soon the master let him read the scriptures.
However, this little monk had a few annoying habits. When he learned a few words of scripture, he wrote them all over the yard and walls. Also, if he became enlightened about something, he would brag about it in front of the master and the other monks. He was impatient, vain, and self-centered.
The master thought about the situation for a while, and decided to help the little monk to change his ways. One day, the master gave the little monk a pot of evening primrose so that he could observe it during the night when he was on duty.
The next morning, the little monk picked up the pot of flowers and ran to the master. He said loudly to the master and the other monks: “The pot of flowers you gave me was absolutely wonderful. They opened in the evening and smelled pleasing, and in the morning, they closed their petals.”
The master responded gently: “When it opened at night, did it wake you up?”
“Oh, no, master, it was very quiet when it opened and closed,” responded the little monk.
“Oh, is that so? I thought when flowers bloomed, they would make a lot of noise to show off,” the master said in a gentle voice.
The little monk was silent for a few seconds before responding with an embarrassing expression: “Master, I understand now, and I promise to correct my faults.”
Translation edited by David Clapp.