I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.

By Shampoo · Jan 9, 2008 · ·
  1. Shampoo
    A story I heard tonight for the first time since living in Udon Thani, a story I was told most nights before collapsing under the hot-tin roof.

    "A zen monk, just up the road, lived in a house of 3 walls, to always see the moon. One evening, whilst he was away, a thief sneaked into the walls, only to find there was nothing to steal. The zen master returned home and found him. 'You have come a long way to visit me,' he told the prowler, 'and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.' The thief was bewildered, but he took the clothes and ran away. The Master sat naked, watching the moon. 'Poor fellow,' he mused, 'I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.'

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  1. chemlove
    Great story when i hear it i think to myself. What do we really own. Do we own things or do things end up owning us. This short story reminds me that the greatest things in life are here for everyone. A smile, the sun, moon, water, friends. It also shows of that stable balance of those who want to give, and those who don't mind taking. The taker always thinks he has achieved something but in his haste and rush he has left far more on the table then he could ever realize.
  2. savingJenniB
    This has always been one of my favorite Zen stories.
    Whenever I've been given babysitting duty - this is my bedtime story for all the little (& sometimes big) monsters.
    Thank U 4 sharing, JB
  3. Metomni
  4. VincentVan
    I have often noticed how zen stories are similar in structure and message to the gnostic gospels of the Alexandrian tradition.
    In my opinion there's little doubt that the greatest mediterranean port and crossroad of the classical word had rich cultural contacts with the religious traditions and philosophies of the east.
    Listen to this story recently translated from coptic and found on a fragment among the rolls of Nag Hammadi probably belonging to "the Gospel of the Egyptians" or maybe the "Greater Questions of Mary".
    I think it's as zen as it can possibly get:

    - Jesus and his disciples were on the way to Tiberias when they found the road obstructed by the rotting carcass of a dog.
    The stench was unbearable and the disciples left the road and quickly walked over the docomposing animal; but not the Lord.
    He walked over to it , examined it and then quitely rejoined the group that was waiting for him further along the road.
    Puzzled the disciples questioned Him:
    - Master why did you stop over that revolting carcass?-
    And the Lord answered:- It's a shame you were not there with me to see it brothers. That dog had beautiful teeth.-
  5. TMM
    I like that one very much. A lot of zen stories, koans in particular, however, leave me a little disillusioned. This one in particular:

    Nansen saw the monks of the eastern and western halls fighting over a cat. He seized the cat and told the monks: `If any of you say a good word, you can save the cat.' No one answered. So Nansen boldly cut the cat in two pieces.
    That evening Joshu returned and Nansen told him about this. Joshu removed his sandals and, placing them on his head, walked out.
    Nansen said: `If you had been there, you could have saved the cat.'
  6. Orchid_Suspiria
    I've always loved this story.It was in an actual illustrated comic type book of Zen Koans I have.
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