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Neopedia : The Lesson of the Techo Master


Hidden in the mists of Mystery Isle, high up on the Mountain With No Name is a wide, flat building with two fires burning outside. Those seeking wisdom climb the mountain, hoping to gain insight from the one who lives inside. There is no path up the mountain, you have to make your own path, climbing through the briars and razor-sharp stones. All the way up to the top, this is the Mystery Island Training School where the Techo Master gives out his wisdom to those who are worthy to hear it.

Outside the wide, flat building, a circle of students waits. The Techo Master sits there quietly, making no sound, never looking up. The students wait for him to look up and give his lesson.

As the hours pass, the students begin to fidget and yawn. Their posture goes from straight as a board to bent as a weeping willow. They chew their lips, their fingernails, and their eyelids flitter as they all slowly fall asleep.

Finally, the Techo Master stirs, and the students all snap back to attention. The Master looks around for a moment...

"There will be no lesson today," he says. The students rise up slowly, stretch their aching muscles, and retire to the wise, flat building for more physical training.

The next morning, after breakfast and physical training, meditation practice, lunch, more physical training, and some more physical training, the students all retire out to the courtyard where the Techo Master waits for them, his head down.

The students all wait, watching the Techo Master. As the hours pass, they fidget and fuss, and he looks up. "There will be no lesson today," he says, and leaves the students alone.

One of the students, a young Kacheek named Bloomby, decided something was wrong. "We never get any lessons from the Techo Master!" he thought one night, lying half-asleep in his bed. "Maybe it is because we don't sit still. Next time, I will sit still."

The next day, Bloomby sat with the other students, waiting in front of the Techo Master. He tried to keep still, to stay awake, but after a long day of exercise and practice, it was so hard. He felt his eyes flutter, his posture slouch, and without knowing it, he fell asleep. He awoke to the sound of the Techo Master's words: "There will be no lesson today."

Bloomby went away saddened by his failure. In his little bed, he tried to get to sleep quickly, so he would be fresh tomorrow when he waited for the Techo Master's wisdom, but time and time again, he found himself yawning, nodding off, and falling asleep. Day after the day, it was the same, and after hearing the Techo Master's words, Bloomby returned to his bunk, falling asleep with a frown.

One afternoon, Bloomby was practicing his throws with his teacher, the revered sensei Ryshu. Bloomby asked him, "Pardon me, sensei," he said, "but I would like to receive the Techo Master's wisdom."

Ryshu smiled, wiping his brow. He said, "When the student is ready, the teacher is there." Then, Ryshu threw Bloomby to the ground.

All day long, Bloomby thought about the sensei's words. When he ate lunch, when he practiced his stretching, when he read from the ancient books, he remembered the sensei's words:

"When the student is ready, the teacher is there."

Finally, that night, with all the students sitting before the Techo Master, he thought of those words. He felt the sleepy mists enter his mind, felt his eyes fluttering. He was so tired from all his exercising, all his practicing. His mind tried to focus on the sensei's words. What did they mean? He was waiting for the Techo Master's wisdom.

I'm the student, he thought. He's the teacher. And, I'm waiting for his lesson. His mind was groggy, his eyes heavy.

When the student is ready...

I'm the student...

The teacher is there...

I'm waiting for...

Just then, Bloomby's eyes snapped open. The sleepy haze in his mind was gone. He stood up in the crowd of kneeling students, walked forward between them, and sat before the Techo Master.

"I know the secret," he said. The Techo Master looked up. "We aren't waiting for you," he said to the Techo Master. "You're waiting for us."

The Techo Master's eyes shone. He smiled. "When the student is ready..." he began.

"... the teacher is there," Bloomby answered.