Thursday, March 7, 2013

Learning to Let Go

A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her. The senior monk carried this woman on his shoulder, forded the river and let her down on the other bank. The junior monk was very upset, but said nothing. 

They both were walking and senior monk noticed that his junior was suddenly silent and enquired “Is something the matter, you seem very upset?”

The junior monk replied, “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The senior monk replied, “I left the woman a long time ago at the bank, however, you seem to be carrying her still.”

Adam Kern told me this Zen story right before he started teaching his Thursday, 5pm All Levels class while we were talking about getting too caught up with ideas vs principles. I have heard this story before, but it is always a perfect reminder of the importance of letting go and remaining in the present in the moment. The older monk acting on what needed to be done and stayed present. The younger monk, bound to his ideas, missed the second part of the journey.

The simplest stories can give so much knowledge and perspective!

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