When I was a student, I came across a strange little book called Zen Flesh, Zen Bones whilst browsing through the aisles of Waterstones. I ended up taking the book home with me after perusing a couple of the pages.




I lost the book but for some reason, I wanted to replace it - it was a "unique" and interesting little book. I somehow managed to track it down and just recently I picked it up again and this is one of my favourite stories because it strikes a chord in so many ways. I have paraphrased it to remove all copyright issues.

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The Muddy Road.

Two monks were travelling along a muddy road. They came to a river.

By the bank of the river, a beautiful girl in a lovely silk kimono was waiting, unable to cross.

"I'll help you" said the first monk and carried her across.

The second monk did not speak until that evening. Then he could hold back no longer. 

"We do not go near females, especially young and lovely ones. It is dangerous - why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said the first monk. "Why are you still carrying her?"


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This is my modern take.

The kids are monk 1. I am monk 2. The kids have played up and I have yelled at them. They have forgotten everything in a shake of a lambs tail. I am still seething.

They win. I lose. 



What's your take?





19 comments:

  1. I am monk 1. Ex-boyfriend from teenage years is monk 2. Our relationship is the girl. I still think about us years later and remember our innocent fun, he wouldn't recognize me if he passed me in the street:)

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    1. ... and it is better that way, oui?

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    2. Indeed:) No hang ups - just made me think about how women hold on to things differently from men:)

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  2. I have to say that I really do love the story. I've been having a couple wines so can't really relay the story in my own take - I may have to come back to this ;)

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    Replies
    1. That makes me smile - you having a confuddled brain after a few wines. But still looking elegant of course.

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  3. Ok I'm thick, I don't get the Monks tale at all!

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  4. Sharron - it's up to you to determine what the monks represent and what you apply it to. It's a kind of "forget about it" analogy. "water under the bridge", "moving on". It's a one size, fits all tale. Have a few cocktails and it will all fall in to place - promise.

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  5. It's been a long week and I'm just not feeling cerebral enough on this cold Friday afternoon to make any type of intelligent comment ... but it's a great little story. Like it a lot!

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    Replies
    1. I like it too - just take it as a nice little story.

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  6. I touched an ostrich skin Birkin bag years ago, every bag I have had since has never lived up to it.....is the Birkin a monk?!!!!!
    You are wise Sue, great message.

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    Replies
    1. Your Birkin is your monk. Ommm.

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  7. This is how I operate. I am still holding a grudge and reminding them of their misdemenurs the next day. Our pre-school teacher told me with kids you always have to start the day afresh. Still haven't learned how to do this. Now I'm thinking about Claire's ostrich bag....

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    1. I do that - I sometimes find myself having to hold back and not do a jibe for the sake of it. Sometimes, I wonder who needs to do the growing up really. Me or them. And if you really want to forget about the kids misdemeanours - think about Claire's Ostrich bag - that's a brilliant distraction.

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  8. I was practically having heartburn from a bad work moment this week, and reading this post really helped me get over it. I think things like anger and fear are hard to let go off and yet they are the least constructive things to hold on to, and we all need constant reminders to know when we're hung up.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly - you only hurt yourself and no one else thinks about it as much as yourself. I'm glad the tale helped. It's all about perspective.

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  9. Ah, isn't that a good little story. And one that came in timely fashion as I argued with my hubby (and no, it wasn't about my onion smell...lol).
    I'll go and apply the lessons learned now. :D

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    Replies
    1. Awww - go and do some oniony kiss and make up ;o)

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  10. Been thinking about picking this up. I've got Writings From The Zen Masters, but apparently it's a stripped down version of ZFZB (...or would that be a flayed version?).

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    1. It's a good little book or I wouldn't have gone to the trouble of replacing it. I was quite young when I read it the first time round and I've only just picked it up again but it's one of those books you can pick up and start anywhere. Get it and then you can tell me if it's the flayed version.

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Hi there!


Hi, I'm Sue.

Mum to Ben & George, married to the Grumps, living in suburbia, somewhere in the north of England.

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