A young man in Japan arranged his circumstances
so that he was able to travel to a distant
island to study Zen with a certain Master
for a three-year period. At the end of
the three years, feeling no sense of
accomplishment, he presented himself to the
Master and announced his departure. The
Master said, “You’ve been here three years.
Why don’t you stay three months more?” The
student agreed, but at the end of the three
months he still felt that he had made no
advance. When he told the Master again
that he was leaving, the Master said,
“Look now, you’ve been here three years and
three months. Stay three weeks longer.”
The student did, but with no success.
When he told the Master that absolutely
nothing had happened, the Master said,
“You’ve been here three years, three months,
and three weeks. Stay three more days,
and if, at the end of that time,
you have not attained enlightenment,
commit suicide.” Towards the end of
the second day, the student was enlightened.