Two monks and a woman – a Zen story about old baggage

A Zen story about old baggage

We all carry old baggage and painful memories. So today, I would like to share with you a Zen story that I find so relevant in our lives.

The story has taught me a lot, but before I tell you anything about it, here is the story:

The story

A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.

The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.

Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey.

The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.

Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”

Like a junior monk

For me personally, as with the junior monk, there are times that my mind reminds me of that chocolate that I shouldn’t have eaten last Monday. Other times, my mind pushes me back to what my partner told me when we were bickering last month. And other times, I still punish myself for failing on that exam three years ago…

And while I keep on carrying with me these and so many other past memories, their weight becomes painful and it depresses me.

Today, I won’t share more with you, but I will leave you with the following questions.

What is this that you are still carrying with you?
And why do you still carry that weight with you, what is its benefit?

Please take some time to contemplate on these.

Really think them through especially if you’re feeling low, as this is the greatest opportunity to grow – it just needs some work from our side too 🙂

Image by Helena Cuerva from Pixabay

Two monks and a woman – a Zen story about old baggage
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