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Zen Time!

A quick little Zen teaching to get you thinking........?

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal.

Ryokan returned and caught him. "Your may have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift." The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could give him this beautiful moon."


The thief is poor because he does not understand what is of value in this life. Modern society teaches us that trinkets and possessions will make us happy, we forget the beauty of nature is free and without compare. The Zen Master is wealthy because he is content. He knows nothing is truly his, possessions do not define him, compassion and love do. I believe the moon is a symbol of that contentment and peace, it cannot be stolen. The moon also symbolizes wisdom, it can be shown, but it cannot be given to another, they must understand for themselves.

Questions to ponder: (if available grab your journal and answer the questions)

Do you own possessions, or do they own you?

Who do you relate to more, the thief or the master?

Could you be happy owning nothing but your wisdom and compassion?

Do you envy or covert others possessions?

What does true wisdom mean to you?

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