Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Amazing Grace: A Program about Exploring Right and Wrong for Grade 6

Two Monks

A Zen Buddhist tale, retold by Jessica York.

Two monks set out on a journey, one young, the other older and wiser. It was after the rains and the road was very muddy. At one point in their journey, they encountered a young woman standing before a large mud puddle. The younger monk passed her by, but the older monk offered to lift the young lady and carry her over the puddle. She thankfully accepted his offer and he carried her easily to the other side and put her down. Then the two monks continued on their way.

The farther they walked, the more the older monk noticed a change in the younger monk's behavior. He did not speak and he seemed angry. Finally, the young monk stopped in the middle of the road and confronted the older monk.

"Why did you carry that woman across the road? You know, as holy men, we are forbidden to touch any women, much less one so young and pretty!"

The older monk replied, "It is true that I broke a vow in touching the young woman. However, I put her down back on the road. Why are you still carrying her?"

About the Author

Jessica York

Jessica York is the Director of Congregational Life at the Unitarian Universalist Association. During her fifteen plus years as a religious educator she has served on the Liberal Religious Educators Association’s Integrity Team, the MidSouth District’s RE Committee, and the...

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