Is that so?

Categories: Buddhism
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Published on: April 22, 2010

An old story regarding maintaining one’s composure and equanimity regardless of what life throws at you.

Hakuin was a famous Zen master in Japan. He lived in a remote village and was often praised by his neighbours as a man of pure living.

Once, a beautiful, unwedded girl in the village was found pregnant. Being a very conservative village, the family was furious. The girl refused to confess who the man was, but after much beating and harasssment by her parents, she finally named the master Hakuin.

In great anger, the girl’s family confronted the master, but all he would do was calmly say, “Is that so?”.

After the baby was born, it was brought to Hakuin and he took very good care of the child. He begged for milk and other things the little one needed from his neighbours. By this time, Hakuin’s reputation was completely destroyed, but that didn’t trouble him. He was often scorned by the villagers, but that didn’t bother him, either.

A year later, the girl-mother finally broke down and confessed the truth. The baby’s father was not Hakuin, but a young man who worked nearby. The girl’s parents went to Hakuin at once and begged profusely for his forgiveness, and to get the baby back.

Hakuin willingly gave back the baby and all he said was, “Don’t worry about it. Go home”.

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