Zen Story: The Thief Who Became a Disciple

zen flesh zen bones

Another short story taken from the glorious little collection, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones:

The Thief Who Became a Disciple

One evening as Shichiri Kojun was reciting sutras (Buddhist scriptures) a thief with a sharp sword entered, demanding either his money or his life. Shichiri told him: ‘Do not disturb me. You an find the money in that drawer.’ Then he resumed his recitation.

A little while afterwards he stopped and called: ‘Don’t take it all. I need some to pay taxes with tomorrow.’

The intruder gathered up most of the money and started to leave. ‘Thank a person when you receive a gift,’ Shichiri added. The man thanked him and made off.

A few days afterwards the fellow was caught and confessed, among others, the offence against Shichiri. When Shichiri was called as a witness he said: ‘This man is no thief, at least as far as I am concerned. I gave him the money and he thanked me for it.’

After he had finished his prison term, the men went to Shichiri and became his disciple.

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