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by Mathew Review (2020-03-06)

One day, the prankster of the group, a Zen12 Review boy named Toro, announced to the other boys, "I finally have a question that the old man will not be able to answer." Toro opened his hands to show the others a small Shrike he had found in a nearby nest. "We will go ask the old man if the bird in my hands is alive or dead. If he says it is dead, I will show him the little living bird. If he says it is alive, I will crush it and the bird will be dead. Either way, the old man will be wrong, and we will have finally stumped him."The group hurried up the hill behind Toro to witness the old man's first wrong answer. As they neared the old warrior's cabin, they saw him out back practicing a form with his sword. When he saw them, he smoothly sheathed the razor sharp blade and effortlessly walked toward them noticing their eager looks. Toro stepped forward and asked, "Is the bird in my hands alive, or is it dead?"The old warrior's eyes seemed to reflect a coldness that the boys had never seen before. They were eyes that had seen more than their share of death. At the same time, there was a compassion and tenderness in those eyes that seemed unequaled. The warrior sage looked at the mischievous Toro and softly spoke, "My son, the answer is in your hands."