Roger Harty: Is That So?

Posted by


‘IS That So’ Is an ancient Zen story of Japanese origin that goes as follows.

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 yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”

The essence of this story (also known as a koan) is one of acceptance.

If we can learn to accept all things that happen in life, in a non-judgemental way just like the message of Hakuin, then this will lead to a much happier life.

This acceptance does not mean that we cannot do anything about the situation but if we act from a space of deep acceptance then amazing things begin to arise from that space.

This ultimately is what the symbol of The Cross was all about. Jesus was trying to demonstrate the Power of Acceptance to us.

As you well know the best way to demonstrate anything is by example and that is why He died on The Cross in order to save us.

A great message here is to learn to get on with living our lives and not to be too bothered about what anyone else thinks of us. That is what is meant by ‘being true to yourself’

‘Be yourself because everyone else is taken!’

• Next week I am going to write about — The difference between intelligence and wisdom.

Comments are closed.