The old zen master Hakuin lived near a family with a teenage daughter. The daughter had a boyfriend her own age in the village and one day discovered that she had become pregnant by her young lover. Such a thing was scandalous to her family and would have ruined the boy’s family reputation as well (not to mention the fact her parents would forbid the boy to ever see her again) In her fear she told her mother and father that old Hakuin had been the one to get her pregnant.

The parents went to confront the zen master, yelling and angry they berated the old monk. “You filthy old pervert, you got our daughter pregnant!”

Hakuin did not respond with his own anger or try to cause the girl further grief, instead he only said “Is that so?”.

In time the baby was born and the parents again visited the monks hut, “Here, this is your fault, you raise this brat!” they scolded as they handed him the infant.He took the child as tenderly as a grandmother and said only “is that so?” to the angry parents of the young girl.

Haukin raised the child for a full year, the village had all heard the tale and looked with disgust on the old man. Occasionally someone would shake their finger at him or spit after he passed, the old mans response was only ever  “is that so?”. His reputation was ruined and he barely survived on the few who still donated to him, he begged enough milk to keep the baby healthy though.

Finally the girls conscience could bear her lies no more and she confessed to her parents. They were terribly sorry at their treatment of the old man and went right away to the old zen master. After being told of the girls confession and the dozens of bows and apologies they asked for the child back to give to its mother and her boyfriend to raise. Even after a year as the babes parent, Hakuin handed the child over without hesitation saying only “Is that so?”

Categories: Buddhism and life | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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