"The navigator, who lands on an island made entirely of fine gold, will not find a single nugget, no matter how hard he searches. We must understand that all the qualities of Buddha have always existed inherently in our being." -- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
The story concerns a Christian monastery that had fallen upon hard times. It was once a great order, but because of persecution, all its branch houses were lost and there were only five monks left in the decaying house: the abbot and four others, all over seventy in age. Clearly it was a dying order.
In the deep woods surrounding the monastery there was a little hut that a rabbi occasionally used for a hermitage. It occurred to the abbot that a visit the rabbi might result in some advice to save his monastery.
The rabbi welcomed the abbot to his hut. But when the abbot explained his visit, the rabbi said, "I know how it is. The spirit has gone out of the people. It is the same in my town. Almost no one comes to synagogue anymore." So the old abbot and the old rabbi wept together. Then they read parts of the Torah and spoke of deep things. When the abbot had to leave, they embraced each other. "It is wonderful that we should meet after all these years," the abbot said, "but I have failed in my purpose for coming here. Is there nothing you can tell me that would help me save my dying order?"
"No, I am sorry," the rabbi responded. "I have no advice to give. But I can tell you that the Messiah is one of you."
When the abbot returned to the monastery his fellow monks gathered around him to ask, "Well, what did the rabbi say?"
"The rabbi said something very mysterious. He said that the Messiah is one of us. I don't know what he meant."
In the time that followed, the monks wondered about the significance to the rabbi's words. "The Messiah is one of us? Could he possibly have meant one of us monks? If so, which one?"
As they contemplated, the old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the chance that one among them might be the Messiah. And they began to treat themselves with extraordinary respect, just in case they themselves turned out to be the Messiah.
People still occasionally came to visit the monastery to picnic on its grounds. As they did so, they sensed the aura of respect that began to surround the five old monks and radiate outwards, permeating the atmosphere of the place. There was something strangely compelling about it. Hardly knowing why, they returned more often to the monastery to picnic, to play, to pray. They brought their friends. And their friends brought their friends.
Then some of the younger men started to talk more and more with the old monks. After a while one asked if he could join them. Then another, and another. Within a few years the monastery once again became a thriving order and, thanks to the rabbi's gift, a vibrant centre of light and spirituality in the realm.