Zen Parable: the little monk and the Samurai

Love, love a good parable and this one is sweet and powerful.  As we read stories, what makes them powerful and transforming is when we place ourselves in the shoes of every character (yes, the wicked and demonic too); go ahead get your monk hat and Samurai hat before your start reading.  Enjoy.

A big, tough samurai once went to see a little monk.


He barked, in a voice accustomed to instant obedience.

"Teach me about heaven and hell!"

The monk looked up at the mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain,

"Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn't teach you about anything. You're dumb. You're dirty. You're a disgrace, an embarrassment to the samurai class. Get out of my sight. I can't stand you."

The samurai got furious. He shook, red in the face, speechless with rage. He pulled out his sword, and prepared to slay the monk.

Looking straight into the samurai's eyes, the monk said softly,

"That's hell."

The samurai froze, realizing the compassion of the monk who had risked his life to show him hell! He put down his sword and fell to his knees, filled with gratitude.

The monk said softly,

"And that's heaven."

Posted on June 4, 2013 and filed under inspiration, Meditation, Spirituality.