Saturday, 21 April 2012

Two Monks And A Pretty Lady

Once upon a time, an elder monk and a younger monk were travelling together. They came to a river bank, the bridge was damaged. They had to wade across the river. There was a pretty lady who was stuck at the damaged bridge and couldn't cross the river. The elder monk offered to carry the lady across the river on his back. The lady accepted.

The younger monk was shocked by the move of the elder monk. "How can elder disciple brother carry a lady when we are supposed to avoid all intimacy with females,” thought the younger monk. But he kept quiet. The elder monk carried the lady across the river and the younger monk followed unhappily. When they crossed the river, the elder monk let the lady down and they parted with her.

Along the way for several miles, the younger monk was very unhappy with the act of the elder monk. He made up all kind of accusations about the elder monk in his mind. This got him madder and madder. But he still kept quiet. And the elder monk had no inclination to explain his situation. Finally, at rest-point many hours later, the younger monk couldn't stand it any further; he burst out angrily at the elder monk. "How can you claim yourself a devout monk, when you seize the first opportunity to touch a female, especially when she is very pretty! All your teaching to me make you a elder hypocrite."

The elder monk looked surprised and said, "I had put down the pretty lady at the river bank many hours ago, how come you are still carrying her along?"

This is a very old Chinese Zen story but it still reflects the thinking of many people today. We encounter many unpleasant things in our life, they irritate us and they make us angry. Sometimes, they cause us a lot of hurt; sometimes they cause us to be bitter or jealous. But like the younger monk, we are not willing to let them go away. We keep on carrying the burden of the "pretty lady" with us. We let them keep on coming back to hurt us, make us angry, make us bitter and cause a lot of agony. Why?

Simply because we are not willing to put down the baggage of the pretty lady, we should just put down the pretty lady immediately after crossing the river, immediately after the unpleasant event is over. This will immediately remove all our agonies. There is no need to be further hurt by the unpleasant event after it is over. It is just that simple.

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