Letting Go - A Monk Helps a Damsel in Distress

Two Buddhist monks were returning to their monastery in a rural Japanese town on a rainy day when they encountered a young lady at a street corner. She was hesitating in crossing because the road had become quite muddy. One of the monks asked her if she would like him to carry her across the road, and she gratefully said, “Yes.”

After doing so and saying goodbye to the young lady, the monks walked together in silence for some time. Suddenly, the other monk, no longer able to contain himself, admonished his friend: “You shouldn’t have done that,” he said. “You risked your vows of chastity by stimulating impure thoughts when you carried that damsel across the street. Why did you do that?”

His friend replied: “I saw a person in distress when we approached the street corner. I asked if I could be of help and she said “yes,” so I picked her up, carried her across the muddy road, put her down, and I let her go. Can you not do the same?”

-- One lesson: This story illustrates letting go of judgments, fears, expectations, and desires in order to better experience compassion and serve others.