Friday, July 18, 2008

Burdened with "Pretty Ladies"

ONCE upon a time, a big monk and a little monk were traveling together. They came to the bank of a river and found that the bridge had been damaged. So they had to wade across.

As they splashed through the water, they came upon a pretty lady who was stuck at the bridge. The big monk offered to carry her over to the other side on his back, and she accepted.

The little monk was shocked by his companion’s offer. “How can big brother carry a lady when we are supposed to avoid any intimacy with female?” he thought to himself. But he didn’t say a word.

He waded along, unhappily, as the pair crossed the river. When they reached the opposite bank, the big monk put the lady down and they parted ways with her.

For several miles, as they continued their journey, the little monk mulled over all kinds of accusations to throw at the big monk. In the process, he got angrier and angrier. But he still kept quiet. Finally at a rest point many hours later, he could no longer contain himself and burst our:

“How can you claim to be a devout monk when you seize the first opportunity to touch a woman, especially a very pretty one? All your teachings make you a big hypocrite.”

The big monk looked surprised and said, “I had put the lady down at the river bank many hours ago. Why are you still carrying her along?”

This old Chinese story reflects the thinking of many people today. In life, we encounter many unpleasant things which irritate us or make us angry. Sometimes, they cause us a lot of hurt, of make us bitter.

But, like the little monk, we are not willing to let go of them. We continue to carry the ‘pretty lady’ long after we have crossed the river.

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