Carrying the Girl


Two monks, Tanzan and Ekido,
were walking down a muddy street in the city.


They came on a lovely girl dressed in fine silks,
who was afraid to cross because of all the mud.


"Come on, girl," said Tanzan.
He picked her up in his arms,
and carried her across.


The two monks did not speak again until nightfall.
Then, when they had returned to the monastery,
Ekido couldn't keep quiet any longer.


"Monks shouldn't go near girls," he said,
"certainly not beautiful ones like that one!
Why did you do it?"


"My dear fellow," said Tanzan,
"I put that girl down,
way back in the city.

It is you who is still carrying her!"



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story as told in Zen Buddhism, ©1959, Peter Pauper Press

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