“The Moon Cannot Be Stolen”

New Moon Over The Brushwood GateIt has been a complicated day of success and failures. Of frustration and simple pleasure. It’s days like this that make me think of a Buddhist Zen fable I learned about in college. It’s a simple story, but one with so many analogies and underlying moral implications. The story is called “The Moon Cannot Be Stolen”. No one is sure who wrote it or when it was written, but it is understood to be over a century old if not more. It’s rather short, but worth several reads before you think about it. There are hundreds of ways to interpret it like a Rorschach blot test. With that here it is:

“The Moon Cannot Be Stolen”

A Zen Master lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening, while he was away, a thief sneaked into the hut only to find there was nothing in it to steal. The Zen Master returned and found him. “You have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.” The thief was bewildered, but he took the clothes and ran away. The Master sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, ” I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.”

Let me know what you think and feel free to comment. I’ve told this story to many people and it’s one of my oldest daughter’s favorite bedtime stories. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I first heard it.


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