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The Prostitute and the Zen-Master
|by Divya Joshi|
The Zen stories are held very high in esteem. The word Zen comes from Zen-Buddhism - A School of Mahayana Buddhism asserting that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith - practiced in China and Japan. Many teachings from Zen-Buddhism are told in short and delightful stories. They are usually designed to develop the mind and to free it from distortions and thereby connect us with our spirit. Some of them are really inspiring and enlightening. It is helpful to the mind to think about them and feel the deeper meaning. Even if it is not possible to grasp them fully, the beauty and simplicity of the message usually gets through to us, one way or the other. There are more than 500 such stories. They cater to a variety of themes ranging from 'conceit', 'truth', 'enlightenment', 'stocism', 'inner strength', 'perseverence', 'love', 'restraint' to 'death', 'immortality', 'selflessness' etc.
This story is one of the most enlightening one, I have translated it for the reader. Go through it I hope there is a lot more than 'zen' to be learnt in this story.
Once upon a time the Zen Master and one of his disciple went into the forests in search of wood and logs, they travelled quite a distance and finally decided to take some rest under the aegis of the Banyan tree adjacent to a river. While they were about to sit , the master heard a lady crying out loud for help. He raised himself immediately and saw that a young lady was drowning in the river. The disciple heard it too, however he ignored as he remembered his Zen-preachings which said: Never ever touch a female, it is considered to be a taboo. He was amazed to see that his master jumped and dived deep into the river, picked up the lady, swam successfully and came out of the river.
The lady introduced herself as a prostitute, she thanked the master gave him a tight hug, kissed his hand, and asked him to pay her a visit whenever he was free. The Zen-Master bowed in respect, smiled and said nothing except 'thanks'. He joined the disciple and asked him to hurry as it was turning to dusk. The disciple was confused at this gesture of the Zen-Master, he thought, thought deep, pondered a lot but still wasn't able to figure out 'Why he did so?'.
'He is my master, it was him who taught me stay away from any and every female, touch of a woman can malign your focus and can distort your inner strength'. Is it really him who just touched the lady, got kissed and hugged by her - A prostitute?'
Both of them walked for five miles. The disciple was quite and still, he was disturbed by the touch of the lady, his mind was full of disgust. He walked for the next five miles and thought continuosly. He asked himself 'Is he a real Zen-Master or he is a thug in disguise of a Zen-Master. Had it been the truth so far, he would have certainly allowed me to do the favour, why did he save the lady all alone, why didn't he give me a chance. Is he depriving me of all the worldly pleasures and fancies, and above all what is my life, throughtout the decade I have been serving him like a dog, and this is the truth. He is not a Zen-Master he is a sly, a charlatan camouflaged as a religious rogue.'
After the next five miles the disciple couldn't hold his grudge and with immense control on his language and audacity in his eyes asked the master......
"You taught me , not to touch a female ever in your life , then Why did you carry her, isn't this against the Zen and the discipline, how could you dare this act before me, tell me otherwise I'll stop calling you my master."
The master smiled , his expressions were genial, with the finest tone he relied ,
'Son , I had dropped the lady then and there , you are still carrying her'..............:)
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