Roger Harty: Is That So? (A Great Buddhist Story)

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rsz_roger_hartyTHIS is a very powerful story that I came across a few years ago.

I suppose to say it is more like a parable than a story would be the correct description, as the message it delivers is of far more importance than the story itself.

Like a good movie, I won’t destroy it by telling you the punch-line but I would suggest that you read it and reflect on the deep message that it holds within…

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him.

Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment, at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parent went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would say.

After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child.

He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth – the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask forgiveness, to apologize at length and to get the child back.

Hakuin was willing. In handing the child over, all he said was: “Is that so?”

In my opinion this ‘story’ holds the key to living a happy life.

What is of most importance is that we are true to ourselves and to our own standards and after that, what other people think of us is irrelevant.

If we spend our whole lives living by another person’s standards or perspective then true happiness will always evade us.

There is a great book on this whole subject by a lady called Melodie Beattie – It’s called ‘Co-Dependent No More’ and it is well worth a read.

Jesus gave us this same message at a very deep level when he accepted his Cross firstly and then accepted his faith even though he had done no wrong.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”

He was crucified by the Romans, because they felt threatened by the power he was gaining. This perceived power (band of followers) was accumulating as a result of Him spreading the message of love, but the Romans fabricated a story saying that He wanted to be king of the jews.

This was best summed up by the great John Lennon when he said; “When the Power of Love exceeds the Love of Power the world will be at peace”.

The essence of this article is that, for us, to live a happy life we need to live an authentic life, meaning that we should live a life that is true to ourselves first and foremost (just like the Romans, if other people see it different that is their business!)

There is a link with the last article I wrote on self-esteem (see here).

To this end, I am going to finish with the same quote as last week as just like a mantra sometimes things need to be repeated.

“If your self-worth is gained from others, you will forever need approval, when in reality all you need is to trust yourself.”   –  Leon Brown

Next week, I am going to write about “Stress – simply explained”

• Roger Harty is a life coach and can be contacted on 087-6128336, on twitter at @Innerjoyz1 or by email

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