One day, a young pupil asked, "Master, what does it mean to be enghtened?." The master then smiled and told the boy a story: "Once there was a small village in the south. It was secluded and when the boys of the village were ready to pass into manhood, they fasted for three days and then on the fourth, attended a ceremony led by the Viilage elder and his priests. After the music, dancing and singing, the boys were to sit and carefully listen to the rules of The Labyrinth.
"After the chief priest gave his blessing, the elder spoke down upon the seated pupils, while the warriors of the village sat lotus-style along the walls of the temple and the villagers stood anxiously outside. "He said, 'It is now time for you to enter The Labyrinth. You must all hurry to find your guardian spirit, for some never find their way back out, starve and die. You will each be given food but must not eat it, for your guardian spirit is hungry too, so you must feed him first. If you do, he will lead you out of the labyrinth to safety and your manhood will begin. If you do not, your guardian will die and assuredly, you will too. Your spirits will take the form of an animal that suits you. Once you find him, you will know it by looking him straight into the eye. Above all, the most important thing to remember is to be unselfish and always give.'"
"Then the five boys lined up at the entrance of the labyrinth and upon hearing the sound of the temple gong, they took off with speed through the maze. "The first boy was given meat. About halfway through, his hunger got the best of him and he took a few bites and just then saw a large leopard before him, drooling. The boy then tossed the entire piece to the leopard and the leopard devoured it whole and was sure to assist him to the exit. He was to become the villages butcher. "The second boy was given rice, so he put it in his pocket, where there was a hole and some leaked from it. About halfway through, he did not see his animal was a rat, who was following him the entire time. But the boy made it out, as did the rat. He later became the village's timekeeper. The third boy was given water and upon meeting the dog, he set the bowl down in front of the dog and when finished, the dog found a lifelong friend to guide the boy out of the maze. The boy later became the village counselor. The fourth boy was given a dead toad. Of course, the boy, no matter how hungry he was, was not going to eat the toad. He met his guardian animal, a snake and the snake, upon finishing the toad, slithered up the boy and curled itself around his neck. The boy was frightened, but he made it out of the Labyrith and he was to become the next village elder. The fifth boy was given a small piece of bread but did not find an animal at all and was very disappointed. He covered the entire labyrinth several times, hungry, lonely and it was getting dark. He decided to stop and rest. He thought to himself that it would be better to die than to exit the labyrinth without a guardian spirit. His life would surely be meaningless and purposeless and he would have to become the village beggar. He quickly fell to sleep.
Then suddenly, he saw another boy. The other boy was even smaller and emaciated and although he wanted to eat, the fifth boy threw the piece of bread on the ground and then, the other smaller boy immediately picked it up and devoured it. Before he could finish it, in disgust, the fifth pupil went over and stuck his finger down the other boys throat and up came the bread! He then walked away, weeping in the pitch black and the next morning finally made it out of the labyrinth. Although he was the last to finish, and was full of guilt, he was to become the village shaman, or priest and learned later that he had fallen asleep from exhaustion, put the piece of bread inside his shoe and dreamed about the whole occurence with the other boy."
The pupil spoke up after the story was finished. "Why did the last boy not become shunned and labeled a failure? Why did he instead become the spiritual leader of the village? What does this mean, Master?" The Master replied, "The other boys learned through their success, but the last boy learned through his failure. He realized that dispite his life being at stake, so was his self-respect and dignity." The Master then said, "Food nourishes the body, but hunger nourishes the soul."