Old and Young Monk

Once upon a time an old and young monks were travelling together. They came to the bank of a river and found the bridge was damaged. They had to wade across the river.
However, there was a pretty lady who was stuck at the damaged bridge and couldn’t cross the river. The old monk offered to carry her across the river on his back. The lady accepted.
The young monk was shocked by the move of the old monk. ‘How can old brother carry a lady when we are supposed to avoid all intimacy with females?’ thought the young monk. But he kept quiet.
The old monk carried the lady across the river and the small monk followed unhappily. When they crossed the river, the old monk let the lady down and they parted ways with her.
All along the way for several miles, the young monk was very unhappy with the act of the old monk. He was making up all kinds of accusations about old monk in his head. This got him madder and madder. But he still kept quiet. And the old monk had no inclination to explain his situation.
Finally, at a rest point many hours later, the young monk could not stand it any further; he burst out angrily at the old monk. ‘How can you claim yourself a devout monk, when you seize the first opportunity to touch a female, especially when she is very pretty? All your teachings to me make you a old hypocrite.
The old monk looked surprised and said, ‘I had put down the pretty lady at the river bank many hours ago, how come you are still carrying her along?’
This very old Chinese Zen story reflects the thinking of many people today. We encounter many unpleasant things in our life, they irritate us and they make us angry. Sometimes, they cause us a lot of hurt, sometimes they cause us to be bitter or jealous.
But like the young monk, we are not willing to let them go away. We keep on carrying the baggage of the ‘pretty lady’ with us. We let them keep on coming back to hurt us, make us angry, make us bitter and cause us a lot of agony. Why? Simply because we are not willing to put down or let go of the baggage of the ‘pretty lady’.
We should let go of the pretty lady immediately after crossing the river, that is after the unpleasant event is over. This will immediately remove all our agonies. There is no need to be further hurt by the unpleasant event after it is over.

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