The Zen Master in the carriage

1001 Tales Discourses

“One has to be capable sometimes of not being kind. Great kindness is capable of being kind and of not being kind, both.” says Osho. From our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.


I have heard about a Zen Master who was driving a carriage with a woman and her child in it. Much snow was falling and the morning was very cold and there was no sun in the sky, it was cloudy.

The Master started freezing and the woman in the carriage did too. By and by he saw that she was becoming blue and was losing consciousness. So he took away the child, pushed the woman out of the carriage and drove away.

The woman was shocked. She was left standing there in the falling snow, her child had been taken away – what type of man was this? And he had taken the carriage. She started running and shouting and screaming and cursing – and within half a mile, because of all the running and cursing and shouting and screaming, she was perfectly okay!

Then the Master stopped the carriage, took her in and said, “Now it is okay. I had to do that otherwise you would have died.”

Great kindness is capable of being hard too. If your kindness is such that you cannot be otherwise, then it is not strength, it is weakness. If you cannot act otherwise, that simply means that you are fixed, you are not fluid. Sometimes it is necessary to be hard…

Sometimes to be really kind implies that you can be unkind too. If you cannot be unkind, then your kindness is not of much worth. It is cultivated. It is not out of awareness.

Osho, Tao: The Pathless Path, Talks on extracts from ‘The Book of Lieh Tzu’, Vol 2, Ch 7 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

Photo credit to darkroom.baltimoresun

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