Wednesday, February 1, 2012


In these periods of electoral fever, one only hears people trying to put blame on others : Republicans, Democrats, Moslems, Jews, Christians, Drug addicts, Bankers, Congressmen, Socialists.... The blame is always on someone else. Here Zen Master BANKEI points to the fact that even when someone has done something despicable, we should be careful of the way this is brought to light, for the consequences may at times be much worse than the wrong it was supposed to cure.  

During the Great Training Period at the Ryomonji temple, there was an incident in which some money was lost in the Fudo Hall. One day, when the Master ascended the lecture seat, a monk came forward and said: "I am such-and-such a person of such-and-such province and a student at the such-and-such temple. This winter I have been practicing in the Fudo Hall. A monk in the place next to mine lost his traveling money, and because I was in the seat beside his, he suspected me of taking it. The rumor has spread through the entire hall, and I beg your Reverence to conduct an inquiry."

The Master asked: "Did you steal anything?" 

The monk replied: "At a unique religious gathering like this, such a shameless act would never even cross my mind!" 

The Master told him: "Then everything is all right." 

The monk said: "Yes, but at this meeting, monks are gathered from all over Japan, and I'm worried that if there is no inquiry, I'll be given a bad name throughout the country. I beseech your Reverence's kind understanding." 

The Master said: "If there's an inquiry, the guilty one will have to come out—is that all right too?" 

The monk then declared: "It's I who have shown the very worst kind of shamefulness, being self-centered and arrogant in a case like this after I'd listened to your wonderful teaching every day!"

And, shedding tears of gratitude, he withdrew. 

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