Oriental Philosophy

Crossing The River [A Zen Tale]

Two monks were on a pilgrimage. One day, they came to a deep river. At the edge of the river, a young woman sat weeping, because she was afraid to cross the river. She begged the two monks to help her. The younger monk hesitated, the members of their order were forbidden to touch a woman. The older monk picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed. As the monks continued on their way, the younger one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out.

“Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!”

“Brother,” the elder monk replied, “I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.”

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