Read this inspiring Buddhist parable in the book, What Got You Here Wont Get You There”, by Marshall Goldsmith. Something deep inside forced me to type it out.
Two monks were strolling by a stream on their way home to the monastery. They were startled by the sound of a young woman in a bridal gown, sitting by the stream, crying softly. Tears rolled down her cheek as she gazed across the water. She needed to cross to get to her wedding, but she was fearful that doing so might ruin her beautiful handmade gown.
In this particular sect, monks were prohibited from touching women. But one monk was filled with compassion for the bride. Ignoring the sanction, he hoisted the woman on his shoulders and carried her across the stream – assisting her journey and saving her gown. She smiled and bowed with gratitude, as the monk splashed his way back across the stream to rejoin his companion.
The second monk was livid. “How could you do that ?”, he scolded. “You know we are forbidden to touch a woman, much less pick one up and carry her around !”
The offending monk listened in silence to a stern lecture that lasted all the way back to the monastery. His mind wandered as he felt the warm sunshine and listened to the singing birds. After returning to the monastery, he fell asleep for a few hours. He was jostled and awakened in the middle of the night by his fellow monk.
“How could you carry that woman?”, his agitated friend cried out. “Someone else could have helped her across the stream. You were a bad monk.”
“What woman ?”, the sleepy monk enquired.
“Don’t you even remember ? That woman you carried across the stream”, his colleague snapped.
“Oh, her”, laughed the sleepy monk. “I only carried her across the stream. You carried her all the way back to the monastery.”