Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Is that so?

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parent owned a food store lived near him.
  Suddenly,  without any warning,  her parents discovered she was with child.
This made her parents angry.  She would not confess who the man was, 
 but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parents went to the master.   "Is that so?"  was all he would say.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. 
 By this time he had lost his reputation,  which did not trouble him, 
 but he took very good care of the child. 
 He obtained milk from his neighbors and 
everything else the little one needed.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer.  
 She told her parents the truth - that the real father of the child
 was a young man who worked in the fish market.
The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness,
  to apologize at length,  and to get the child back again.
Hakuin was willing.  In yielding the child,  all he said was: "Is that so?"

~ from 'Zen Flesh Zen Bones',
 compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki
Self-portrait by Hakuin Ekaku


asloveforever said...

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Dean Keller said...

This is one of the stories that were transcribed into English from a book called the Shaseki-shu (Collection of Stone and Sand), written late in the thirteenth century by the Japanese Zen teacher Muju (the "non-dweller"), and from anecdotes of Zen monks taken from various books published in Japan around the turn of the last century.

For Orientals, more interested in being than in busyness, the self-discovered person has been the most worthy of respect. Such a person proposes to open their consciousness just as the Buddha did.

These are stories about such self-discoveries.