The Student rose up one day, the Desire to Teach in their Heart. “I want to become the Best Teacher in the World!” The student decided. “But how?” the Student asked.

He pondered this awhile and then sought out the Wisest in the land.

“I wish to become the best Teacher,” The Student asked of the Philosopher Bard. “How do I become the greatest teacher?” asked the Student of the Bard.

“What is the purpose of the Teacher?” And the Bard looked to the Student.

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“To Teach,” the student said.

“What is Teaching? What of the students who have no Teacher, do they not learn?”

“What is a teacher for?”

_____

“To know what a Teacher is for, one must first know what the purpose of the Student has. What purpose does the Student have?”

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“To learn,” the Student said.

“And why should anyone learn?”

_____

The Student pondered this. “Why do we learn?” he asked.

“Ask the Sage of the Mountain Cave,” the Bard said.

The Student walked a long, long ways. Passing a Minstrel on the road, he asked, “Why do you learn?”

“To Sing and Dance,” the Minstrel said and continued on his way.

A longer while, he passed a Translator. “Why do you learn?” The Student asked.

“To be understood,” the Translator said, and hurried, pensively along.

A short time after, the Student came to the Mountain and he climbed hard and long.

Until he came to a Mother on the same path.

“Why do we learn?” asked he Student.

“To be a Good Mother,” the Mother said and continued with her path.

At last, the Student arrived at the Mountain Cave of the Sage.

“Why do we learn?” the Student asked once the Sage opened the door to him.

“That depends,” said the Sage, “What is it you seek to learn?”

“I want to know how to become the best teacher,” answered the student.

“Then I would think you would want to know how do you know what to learn,” said the Sage. “That way you would know what to teach.”

The student pondered this awhile.

“How do we know what to learn?” asked the Sage. “If others are not there to tell us what to learn, then how do we know what to learn?”

_____

“How do we know what to learn?” asked the Student.

The Sage shrugged. “What is the most important lesson in life?”

The Student Pondered this, but clearly he was stumped.

“Go ask the jungle your question.” said the Sage of the Mountain Cave.

The Student descended the mountain and ventured far and wide. Along the way, he passed an Artist.

“How do you know what to learn? What is the most important lesson in life?”

“Self-Expression,” said the Artist. The Ability to have others Understand you.

The Student pondered this a ways until he came to an Astronomer.

“How do you know what to learn? What is the most important lesson in life?”

“Answers,” said the Astronomer. “Comprehension of The Universe.”

After this, the Student came to the Jungle.

“Jungle,” asked the Student. “How do you know what to learn? What is the most important lesson in life?”

“Authority,” said the lion “to get my food.”

“Speed,” said the Cheetah “to get my food.”

“Silence,” said the mouse “to get my food.”

On the way back to the Mountain Cave, the Student passed a pauper.

“How do you know what to learn?” asked the Student. “What is the most important lesson in life?”

“Money,” said the Pauper.

The Student walked further down the road until he passed a Noble in his path.

“How do you know what to learn? What is the most important lesson in life?”

“Power,” said the Noble.

Again, the Student walked further down the road until he came to an Astronomer.

“How do you know what to learn? What is the most important lesson in life?” the student asked.

“Answers,” said the Astronomer. “The Comprehension of the Universe, so you may know your place in the World.”

The Student walked further down the road until he came to a Pilgrim.

“How do you know what to learn? What is the most important lesson in life?”

“I don’t know,” said the Pilgrim. “I am on a Pilgrimage to figure that out.”

The student returned to The Sage of the Mountain Cave.

“So?” said the Sage of the Mountain Cave. “How do you know what to learn? What is the most important lesson in life?”

“I don’t know,” said the Student. “I got so many different answers. “Everyone seemed to need different things.”

At this, a scuffle at the door disturbed them, and The Pilgrim entered the Cave.

“Wise Sage,” said the Pilgrim, “I come from The Philosopher Bard with the answers I sought.”

“And?” asked the Sage.”

“Knowing who you are,” The Pilgrim said. “For if you do not know who you are, then how do you even know what you want?”

The Sage smiled and gave a nod.

“Wait,” asked the Student. “What was the Question asked?”

“What is the most important question asked,” answered the Pilgrim.

And this, the Student had a new answer.

“Knowing who you are,” said the Student.”Self-Knowledge is the most important lesson in life.”

“Why?” asked the Sage.

“Because one can get Food and still not know who they are or what they want. One can get tools to get the Food and still not know who they are or what they want. One can have all the Answers of the Universe and still not know who they are or what they want.”

The Sage smiled, and the Student continued. “It is all relative to The Self.”

“Now,” said the Sage. “How do you know what to learn? What is the most important lesson in life?”

“To know the Self,” said the Student.

“Now,” said the Sage. “Take your answer back to The Philosopher Bard.”

The Student returned to The Philosopher Bard feeling like he too knew more about himself.

“Why do we learn?” asked The Bard who received the Student.

“To know who we are,” said the Student.

“So then what is a teacher for?” asked the Bard.

The Student sat down, perplexed at this. “I have gone so far,” he said. “I have spoken to the Jungle, and the Sage of the Mountain Cave. I’ve spoken to Travelers and the Wisest of the lands… The wealthy and Poor…

“What is a Teacher for?” The Bard asked.

“Nothing,” said the Student. “What does a teacher do that Nature doesn’t already do for us?” asked the Student, feeling his dream slip away.

“Look out there,” said the Bard. “What do you see?”

“A river,” said the Student.

“The river… is much like the teacher. The Earth much like the Student. Some see a River that cuts and shapes the Land. But, in truth, it is the Earth that serves as the mold to the River.”

The Student is the Earth, it’s true shape unknown to the River and to The Earth. But over time, the River gently smooths out the roughest edges of the Earth until the Truth is freed and the Earth knows itself.

But how can one find the Truth buried within The Self if a Teacher molds and shapes the student with an agenda? Is the Teacher teaching for the Student’s Agenda or for Theirs?”

“So then… what is a teacher for?” asked the Student.

“What indeed?” asked the Bard.

_____

“I came to you on my own,” said the Student. “I pursued this Journey on my own. I ventured the land and journeyed farther. I came for answers and you gave me tasks! And still I have no answer!”

The Bard smiled. “Perhaps you should take your question to The Moon.”

The Student left. Frustrated. Angry. The thought of quitting and going back to his village occurred to him. But then, he looked to the path that lay to the North, beyond the Mountain Cave and higher still.

The Student pondered.

The Moon?

Would the Moon truly know?

The Day was spent as the Student pondered. The Desire to be a great teacher burned hot in his chest. Darkness fell, and the Moon shone bright.

The Student, resolved, started for the Moon.

He walked all night. He climbed higher and farther, back up the mountain, far past the Sage’s Cave. To the highest peak… He ventured higher and higher.

And just as he was chilled to the bone, he came to a clearing of bluest grass, ancient trees, and a calm pool all of which invited him in. A gentle mist wafted through the clearing and here, there was much less chill in the air.

He dropped himself to the ground and rested.

A moment later, The Student turned to look back to see how far he had come when he saw it.

The Jungle. The Sage. The Bard. Back and Forth the Students walked. Each student, much like the Pilgrim, the Pauper, the Noble, The Astronomer… each seeking their own answers.

The Jungle. The Bard. and The Sage.

Like silent, Non-Player Characters, living outside of a game, asking questions to spark the curiosity of each that leads to the next question.

Each question guiding the quest along to each Non-Player Character, neither influencing. Not inspiring. Not guiding. Just Igniting, like a Catalyst in the next chain reaction, to keep the Student going, on track toward their own goal. Each question steering the Student through their Journey.

“I didn’t even know where I was going,” said the Student. “Only that I desired to know.”

“There is nothing a Teacher does, that I don’t already do,” said the Nature who had come to sit beside the Student. “They taught you how to learn just as a student Learns,” said the Nature.

“Learning is The Journey,” said the Student. “There is no Teaching that is possible by any other than the Passage through The Learning Journey. No one can motivate you, push you, drive you, make you… All I needed was my Dream, my Desire, and my Question.”

“But before that, you needed to know who you are,” the Nature said.

“So why do we learn?” asked the Student.

“You wished to become a Teacher,” The Nature said. “Why do we learn?”

_____

“We learn to become The Self.”

“Then what should a Teacher teach?” asked the Nature.

_____

“Nothing,” said the Student. “For I am not at all the Master of any Self other than my Own.”

“Now… You are learning,” said the Nature. “So then how does a Teacher Teach?”

_____

“They don’t,” said the Student. “They don’t interfere. The most they can do is ask the right question to ignite the Curiosity within the Student.”

“And if they had not asked you the questions?” asked the Nature. “What do you think would have happened?”

_____

“If they had not sent you to each other Master,” asked the Nature. “Then what?”

_____

“I would still be wandering the road looking for my answers,” said the Student.

“So then what is the purpose of a teacher?” asked the Nature.

_____

“To shorten the Journey to The Self,” said the Student.

Now,” said the Nature. “How do you become a Good Teacher?”

_____

“By living the life of the Student,” said The Student. “By completing the Journey of the Self so that I may know how best to help others on this path. By setting an example of the Student, so that others too many know how a Student is to learn.”

“And what is the path if you, yourself had not completed it?” asked the Nature. “If you did not arrive here, to this place, would you have understood what Journey you, and all of them, are even on?”

_____

“How many before you, do you think, ever made it to The Moon?” asked the Nature.

_____

The Student looked around. There were no others. Not yet. But there would be.

“So how does one be the greatest teacher?”

_____

“What knowledge will you take back to them?” The Nature asked.

And the Student sat and thought for a long, long while…

_____

“The thinking is theirs to do,” the Student said. “The paths they must take. The people to ask. The desire to Journey… this is all theirs to do.”

“So then what is the purpose of the teacher?” The Nature asked.

_____

“To simplify their journey and to shorten it,” said the Student. “To prepare them… But… They have to decide which tools they need.”

“And how would you do that?” the Nature asked.

_____

“Just as my masters showed me,” the Student said. “To feed the questions to open the mind. To feed the questions to brighten the path. To give them a kind of… shop… to decide for themselves what tools they need for wherever it is they are going. I would show them what their lives could be all based on the Goals they choose.”

“And how would you attract them to you?” asked the Nature.

“A light,” the Student said. “A beacon. To light up the path in the dark.”

“And if the teacher told you the answer?” The Nature said. “How do you think you would be different if they had just answered your question?”

_____

“Then I would have the answer,” the Student said. “But not my self. I would have my food, and still not know who I am. I would have my wealth, and still be sad. I would have all the answers of the Universe and still be lost.”

“So what is the purpose of a teacher?” the Nature said.

“To help the student find The Self,” the Student said.

“By…?”

“Asking the questions that leads the way to The Self,” the Student said. “Because Curiosity and Desire and The Journey are the True Teacher.”

“Help the student find The Self, but using questions that ignite their curiosity,” the Nature said. “And then, directing them to ask others their questions.”

“What other tools do I need for teaching?” the Student asked.

“You are at the Point of Comprehension,” the Nature said, indicating the Pool and the Clearing. “What tools do you think you needed to get here?”

_____

“If you have not completed your own Self Journey,” said the Nature. “Then how can you possibly help others with theirs?”

“But what if a student just wants to be an artists or a banker or…”

The Nature smirked. “Should I answer your question? Or should I send you to the Sage with your Question?”

“One answer gives you the Journey, the other gives you the Answer without the Self,” the Student pondered.

“Which do you desire?” the Nature asked.

_____

“There will always be another Question,” said the Nature. “Unless you sit at your own Point of Comprehension.”