The Thief

One evening, as the sun set gently between the mountains, Taoist Master Shichiri Kojun was reciting sutras in his small and humble home. Suddenly a thief with a sharp sword burst into his home demanding either his money or his life. Shichiri said to him, “Do not disturb me in meditation. You can find the money in that drawer”. Then he resumed his recitation.

The thief quickly availed himself to the money in the drawer and was ready to leave when Shichiri called out to him, “Do not take it all. I need some to pay taxes with tomorrow.” The thief placed a small amount of money back into the drawer and then started to leave. “Thank a person when you receive a gift”, Shichiri added. The thief thanked him and left.

A few days afterward, the thief was caught and confessed, among others, the offense against Shichiri. When Shichiri was called as a witness, he said to the court, “This man is no thief, at least as far as I am concerned.  I gave him the money and he thanked me for it.” Other witnesses told the court in great detail the offenses they had endured and with their testimony the thief was sentenced to three years in prison.

After his prison sentence was finished, the man went to Master Shichiri and became his disciple.

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