The Monk

Rinzai studied philosophy. From a young age the questions of life irritated him like a pointed pebble in his sandal. He needed to find the answers. Soon, he came to realize that it was his desire for the things of the world that held him back, that barred him at the gates of enlightenment. He joined a monastery. He gave up his possessions, gave up his need to be attractive to the opposite sex, his wish to be seen as a man of the world. He cut off all his hair, he wore a simple robe, he begged for his food, eating but once a day. He meditated and sought the silence of prayer. Then one day, while walking on the road, a man and wife bowed themselves down in the dirt before him, saying: “oh, venerable sir, you forsake the desires of this world to achieve moksha. By doing so, you give us all hope for escape. You shine like a beacon for us, marking the way.” Rinzai felt the blush of pride and suddenly realized he hadn’t taken a single step in all these years.

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