Traditional Tales – Two Monks
This is an often repeated tale, but such a good one that we will share it here as well.
Two monks were walking along a river when they came upon their usual crossing point. At the crossing was a woman in tears. The older monk asked her what the problem was, and she told him that she was deathly afraid of the water and could not swim.
The younger monk looked at the woman with disdain and told the woman that they could not help her as their holiness did not allow contact with women, but the older monk suggested that she climb upon his back and he would carry her across. The younger monk followed them across, shaking his head the whole time. When they reached the other bank, the older monk put the woman down, acknowledged her thanks with a slight bow, and then the two monks resumed their path while the woman went her own way.
The younger monk was obviously agitated and continued shaking his head, muttering under his breath. After about 2 miles of this, the older monk finally asked him what was wrong.
The young monk said, “We are prohibited from any contact with women, yet you carried that woman across the river on your back. You let her crawl onto you and you held her! Terrible, just terrible. Wait until the abbot hears of this!”
The older monk gave a slight smile and said to his younger companion:
“Brother, I left her 2 miles back at the crossing. Why are you still carrying her?”
Many of us carry things with us far longer than is necessary. Learn to let it go. What’s done is done. Leave it back at the river crossing and continue along your journey.