“Oh, is that so?”

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“One of the most famous Zen stories about the great Zen Master Hakuin…” as told by Osho.

Hakuin and the baby
A Master reflects, mirrors. A Master simply gives you back again and again. A master does not improve upon you. He does not give you a should, because all shoulds create guilt. A Master does not give you any ideal, because all ideals create tension, anguish. A Master never says, “This is bad and that is good.” He never creates values, because all values create splits. A Master never teaches judgement, he teaches you to live without judging, without condemning, without saying good or bad. Let life flow as it is.

Listen to this beautiful parable and you will understand the mirror-like quality of a Master. This is one of the most famous Zen stories about the great Zen Master Hakuin, when he was at Shoinji temple.

A girl among the congregation became pregnant.

Her severe father bullied her for the name of the lover and in the end, thinking that if she said so, she might escape punishment, she told him: ”It is that Zen Master Hakuin.”

The father said no more, but when the time came and the child was born, he at once took it to him and threw the baby down.

”It seems that this is your child.”

And he piled on every insult and sneer at the disgrace of the affair.

The Zen Master only said: ”Oh, is that so?” and took the baby up into his arms.

Thereafter, during rainy days and stormy nights, he would go out to beg milk from the neighbouring houses. Wherever he went he took the baby, wrapped in the sleeve of his ragged robe.

Now he, who had been regarded as a living Buddha, worshipped as a Shakyamuni, had fallen indeed. Many of the disciples, who had flocked to him, turned against him and left him. The Master still said not a word.

Meantime, the mother found she could not bear the agony of separation from her child and, further, began to be afraid of the consequences in the next life of what she had done. She confessed the name of the real father of the child.

Her own father, rigid in his conception of virtue, became almost mad with fear. He rushed to Hakuin and prostrated himself, begging over and over again for forgiveness. The Zen Master this time too said only: ”Oh, is that so?” and gave him the child back.

[…] This is the mirror-like quality. Nothing is good, nothing is bad – all is divine. This is Buddha’s message. A Master reflects in his each act.

Osho, Zen, the Path of Paradox – Talks on Zen, Vol 3, Ch 5

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

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