A Muddy Road

One fall morning, Tanzan and Ekido, two Taoist monks, travelled together down a muddy road on their way to Edo. They were returning to their Temple, after seeing to the business of their Master. A heavy rain continued to fall as they made their way. They rounded a bend in the road and came upon an intersection. Here the rain and constant heavy traffic of horse and cart had made the intersection rutted and deep with mud. It would surely be difficult for them to pass on foot. When they stopped to discuss the best way to pass the treacherous area, they noticed a lovely young girl huddling from the rain off the main road. She wore a silk kimono and sash, her expensive sandals barely keeping her feet above the muck of the main road. She was unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on, girl” Tanzan said at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her across and set her feet upon the firmness of the road on the other side. Ekido was stunned by the act, but kept his silence as they continued to travel into the late evening.

When they reached the Temple, they were greeted by the Master, interested in hearing the news of their long journey. After telling the Master of the successful completion of the task he had assigned to them, Ekido could no longer hold his tongue. He was appalled by the act he had witnessed regarding Tanzan and the young girl, and could not wait to tell the story to his Master. He was sure that the Master would rebuke Tanzan for his indulgent behavior.

He recalled the story to the Master, not omitting the young age, beauty and expensive clothes of the girl. “We monks do not go near females, especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous and against your teachings”, Ekido reminded Tanzan. “He embarrassed me and brought dishonor to you and your house”, he said to the Master with great disdain. The Master paused for a moment to consider what he had just learned. Then he said to them, “Poor Ekido, while Tanzan offered a small kindness to a stranger and carried her for a moment, you seemed to have carried her the rest of the day.”

© 2012  Commonsensibly Speaking ~ Brad Osborne

One Response to “A Muddy Road”
  1. melanie says:

    love parables..lots of them in buddhism as well!

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