Two wise monks gathered beneath the Temple of the Jade Serpent to discuss the nature of truth. Because the seas were glassy and calm, they decided to hire an Angler to row them out beyond the spires so that they may admire the view as they talked. "Glassy waters mean storms ahead," the Angler cautioned, but the wise monks trusted their eyes and insisted on the voyage.
"Truth is absolute," said the first monk, as the little boat emerged into open water. "The universe has but one truth, and we must work tirelessly to reveal it."
"Truth is relative!" countered the second monk, as clouds gathered overhead. "The universe has many truths, and only the fool insists that his truth is true for all."
The Angler said nothing as the monks debated, until at last one turned to him and asked for his opinion on the nature of truth. "I never thought much about it," he admitted.
The two monks shook their heads and clicked their tongues. They were alarmed to discover that the Angler did not even know how to read or write. "It would seem to us that you have wasted your life," they said to him.
At that moment, thunder and lightning tore open the sky as if it were a sheet, and a great rain poured down. The little boat soon became swamped and flipped over. Casting off his overcoat, the Angler began swimming for the shore.
"Help us!" the monks called out, as the swells began to crash around them. "We cannot swim!"The Angler answered: "It would seem to me that you have wasted your lives!"