Buddhism, Short, Stories

Two monks carrying a burden

Putting down burden - AnAccidentalAnarchist.com

Photo thanks to Michael Coghlan cc

An older and a younger monk are walking back to their monastery when they notice a young woman passed out in the middle of a busy road.

The older monk tries to rouse her without response, before finally picking her up and carrying her from the road to safety.  He manages to wake her and set her safely on her way.  The younger monk is shocked and could not believe what he had seen happen.

They walk in silence for an hour, two hours, three then four before finally the younger monk can no longer suppress his feelings and says “You should not have picked up that girl, we are not allowed to handle women.”  The other monk responds, “are you still carrying her? I put her down hours ago.”


What burden do you carry in the mind long after it ceased to exist?

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  1. Judith A. Rowland

    I’m grateful for the reminder.

  2. I like this one the ancients did their work

    It’s up to us the carry on the tridition

  3. I’ve seen a similar story to this. It was about two men who came across a rude old woman who didn’t want to get her feet wet so one carried her and she yelled at him the whole time and complained. Hours later his friend asked why he helped such an ungrateful person and his reply was the same. I put her down hours ago why are you still carrying her. It’s a good story both ways.

    • Yes, I have seen that too, that version is a powerful story, possibly more powerful than my remake here.

  4. THAT is very thought-provoking……I personally needed to read that today…. thank you!

    • Glad to have posted it, glad to have helped 🙂 I can read these simple Koan again and again and find peace.

  5. I’ve always loved this story. The ability to set down burdens and let things go are issues that I’ve always struggled with. This story serves as a gentle reminder.

    • I agree, I find it hard still in many ways and circumstances, but strangely enough, it is getting easier with practice.

  6. what a grand reminder. thank you.

  7. I love this story. I tend to carry things well after putting them down sometimes. 😀

  8. Has anyone seen a frog and a scorpion crossing a river? I love these stories.

    • That’s an interesting story, I have not heard it before thank-you so much for sharing it. It’s in our nature to die, no matter how good a life we live, that’s a sad truth, something I felt from the story. Like a mirror the story reflects something for everyone I think, a blank canvas of simple wisdom about the nature of life. Beautiful!

    • I’ll post that story in a few days, as it really was thought provoking in its simplicity. Big thanks Arthur 😀

  9. one of the best fables–though it’s no doubt true. easy to recount, hard to follow.

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