Monday, November 19, 2007

A Short Zen Story No Compassion

The following Short Zen Story, points to the progress of the one on the path of meditation.

"There was an old woman in China who had supported a monk for over twenty years. She had built a little hut for him and fed him while he was meditating.
Finally she wondered just what progress he had made in all this time.

To find out, she obtained the help of a girl rich in desire. "Go and embrace him," she told her, "and then ask him suddenly: 'What now?'"

The girl called upon the monk and without much ado caressed him, asking him what he was going to do about it.

"An old tree grows on a cold rock in winter," replied the monk somewhat poetically. "Nowhere is there any warmth."

The girl returned and related what he had said.

"To think I fed that fellow for twenty years!" exclaimed the old woman in anger. "He showed no consideration for your need, no disposition to explain
your condition. He need not have responded to passion, but at least he could have evidenced some compassion;"

She at once went to the hut of the monk and burned it down."

The Story starts with a old woman of China who wanted to support a monk. Zen originated from Buddhism in India. In India meditation is called Dhyan, one of the meaning of Dhyan can be consciousness or awareness. Buddhist monks were the one who where suppose to dedicated all their energies on Dhyan (Meditation) and thus unravel their true nature. The monks were free from the daily chores of life, like earning money as they are not suppose to hoard any money. They do not marry so they don't have the responsibilities to support wife and children, however they are expected to shoulder higher responsibilities to the society on whole by spreading love and compassion to the human kind on whole.

In return or for the inner or spiritual progress of these individuals, the house holders provides these monks (bhikhsus as called in India, Bhikshus comes from the word bhiksha which means begging, though not exactly begging as there is a differnce between ordinary beggar and a monk. The ordinary beggar is the one trying hard for worldly gains but have failed or just because he does not have means of success he begs for survival. The monk has his mind fixed on God or inner growth or transcendence of mind from selfish activities to selfless activities.)

So the old women with the good heart provides the monk with the basic needs of the monk that of food and shelter, so that he does not have to care anything else than the transcendence. This she did for twenty years.

After 20 years of providing the monk with small shelter to live in and the food, she wondered about the progress of the monk. The patience and the test that followed by the old lady shows, she was far more advanced than the monk.

To test the progress of the monk she sent a young girl rich in desire. It is generally known and accepted that the one who attains to the meditation is free from lust. This maxim was and is taken very seriously by the monks, and in attempt to win over the lust and the sexual passion, most of the time it was fought with by wrong means of making themselves dull. The one progressing in mediation is not supposed to be a dull good for nothing being, rather full with spiritual energies and love and compassion. It is not about controlling the mind, but the energy of consciousness or grace of the God working so much in him that the pleasure of physical vanes.

The girl rich in desire was sent to him was told to give him a passionate embrace, which she did. The response from the monk was to tell if is mind was getting charged with the higher energies of love, compassion and grace or was it being made dull.

"An old tree grows on a cold rock in winter," replied the monk somewhat poetically. "Nowhere is there any warmth."

The answer was not the sign of the mind getting charged with immense energy of compassion and love. The mind like a cold rock in winter with no warmth is no good. She got raged that no consideration was shown for her need, no disposition was shown to explain her condition and guide her to higher self. Showing of responding to her passion was not required , but compassion for her present state was what was expected from a monk dedicated totally to meditation for 20 years.

Alas, the old woman burnt down the hut of the monk. To feed him and shelter him for 20 years was a waste.

This story brings the remembrance of story that happened during the time of Lord Buddha. A disciple of Buddha was invited by a beautiful prostitute to stay at her home for one night so that she could get some spiritual benefit from his stay, the disciple on asking Lord Buddha for the permission was promptly denied. Another disciple whose mind was filled with immense energies of compassion, higher than that of lust was allowed to stay in the house of the same beautiful prostitute.

Not the comments on the stories are of the writer or author of this blog. Zen stories are short stories which reflects and points to the highest knowledge. And the comments or interpretations may vary from different readers. Readers are free to write their interpretation of these stories in the comments.

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