Early one very cold winter morning, a monk arose, and being very cold, went to build a fire. Alas, all the firewood was gone. So he took one of the two life-sized wooden Buddhas in the temple and chopped it up, and made a fire and soon was made warm.
In a little while, the master came into the temple and saw what had happened. Need I say he was upset? On and on he went about what the monk had done, for quite some time, as the fire gradually died. Finally, the monk interrupted him, saying, “Before you punish me, may I please examine the ashes for the crystals?” (For it was then believed that the holier the person cremated, the more crystals were formed in the funeral pyre.)
“What?” bellowed the enraged master. “Fool monk! That’s only a wooden statue, not a holy man.”
“Well then,” replied the monk, “may I have the other statue? It is very cold this morning.” Hearing this, the master was enlightened.