Friday, August 28, 2009


Today's sharing is a Zen story...

An Old Monk and a Young monk were making their way back to the temple after a prayer visit to a devotee's house. While they were making their way, it started to rain heavily. Without an umbrella or shelter along a secluded forest path, they decided to walk faster before night falls. Upon reaching the river bank, they realized that the wooden bridge was washed away by the heavy torrential downpour. While they were getting ready to wade through the dangerous and swirling water, they saw a lady standing at the river bank with a worried look and was sobbing.

The Old Monk walked up to her and asked, " Young lady why are you crying? ". The lady looked up at the Old Monk and said, " The river water is rushing so swiftly and I do not know how to make my way over to the other side". The Old Monk said, "Come, let me piggy back you over and you will be fine." Very soon the group arrived at the opposite bank. The Old Monk put the lady down and said, "You better ran along because it is getting dark." With a clasped hand and a bow the lady said, "Thank You" and sped along disappearing into the woods.

The Old Monk walked on. The Young Monk was plodding behind his master all the time. He thought to himself, "We are Monks and our vinaya said that we have to keep away from woman. How can Master piggy back a woman. We are breaking our precepts!" He was not happy.

When they arrived at the temple, life went on a usual. However this thought of his master carrying a woman was very upsetting to him. This affected his manners. Whenever he laid food for his master, he puts it down noisily. Whenever his master called for him, he answers rudely. After 3 weeks, the Young Monk could not take it anymore and he said to the Old Monk, " Master, I have something to ask you." The Old Monk looked up at him and said "Yes"? The Young Monk said, " Master, how can you carry a woman behind your back. Our rules as monks stated that we should keep away from woman and not touch a woman. This is breaking the precept. I have lost my respect for you !".

The Old Monk was puzzled, " When did I carry a woman? " The Young Monk related the incident. The Old Monk smiled and said, " Young Monk, I have since put down the lady 3 weeks ago, why are you still carrying her??? ".

It was like a 'knock' on his head. The Young Monk immediately realized that he was wrong. The Old Monk said " I did not see her as a woman. I saw a sentient being in distress. It is our practice to relieve sentient beings of sufferings, is that not the training of Lord Buddha?. " The Young Monk was embarrassed and he knew that he had a good Master. The Young Monk said, "I am sorry Master for being rude". Thank you for pointing this out to me and sharing the wisdom of Lord Buddha." He bowed deeply with his hand clasped and took his leave.


We are like the Young Monk. We look at the surface of things and believe it is true. That is why there are so many gossips and hurts among us. The fault is we do not speak it out and seek an understanding.

Forgive and Forget are two 'heavy' words. Easily said than done. We have a choice to carry that heavy stone and break our back OR we can put it down and run around happily. It is a choice.....!

Namo Buddhaya!

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