The Scrupulous Hermit

‘When Xuefeng, Yantou and Qinshan were traveling together on their Zen pilgrimage they lost their way in the mountains. It was growing dark and there was no monastery to ask for the night’s lodging. At the time they happened to notice a green vegetable leaf flowing down along the stream. By this they naturally inferred that there was somebody living further up in the mountains. But one of the monk-pilgrims argued; ‘That is quite probable, but a man who does not mind letting go the precious vegetable leaf is not worth our consideration.’ Before he finished saying this, they saw a man with a long-handed hook, running down after the lost leaf.’

This was a story I remember reading about in my very early days of practice, and it took me a while to find it again. Now I don’t even remember where I found this version. But the moral of the story is still good.


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