There is a story, told and retold in the east, about the master of a monastery who was having trouble with his “organization” — the monks who came to live and study there. He noticed that morale was low and the young monks were treating each other poorly. Attendance by visitors was dropping and the number of young people who wanted to study there was on the decline.
The master went to see the wisest man he knew and presented his case. “What shall I do?” he asked. “It seems as if we are all ill.”
After listening in silence for some time, the sage had a surprising response. “I know for a fact that Buddha himself is in your monastery, living there everyday. He will not reveal himself, but he is among you. You do not recognize him and this is the cause of your anguish.”
The master returned to his monastery shaking his head and when he returned he shared the whole story with all the monks together. They looked around the room at each group member, studying each other carefully, looking for some sign. They found none. Still, somewhere in their deepest knowledge, they believed the sage.
They decided to take no chances. Since the Buddha would not reveal himself, one by one they chose to treat each person within the walls as Buddha himself.
From that day forward, the monastery flourished.