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Koan: The Thief Who Became a Disciple

The Thief Who Became a Disciple

One evening as Shichiri Kojun was reciting sutras a thief with a sharp sword entered, demanding wither his money or his life.

Shichiri told him: “Do not disturb me. You can find the money in that drawer.” Then he resumed his recitation.

A little while afterwards he stopped and called: “Don’t take it all. I need some to pay taxes with tomorrow.”

The intruder gathered up most of the money and started to leave. “Thank a person when you receive a gift,” Shichiri added. The man thanked him and made off.

A few days afterwards the fellow was caught and confessed, among others, the offense against Shichiri. When Shichiri was called as a witness he said: “This man is no thief, at least as far as I am concerned. I gave him the money and he thanked me for it.”

After he had finished his prison term, the man went to Shichiri and became his disciple.

3 comments to Koan: The Thief Who Became a Disciple

  • Tiffany

    A good short with a lot to learn. Desparation fearlessness generosity meditation honesty thankfulness confession and freedom from sinfullness and wrongdoing and change in a person due to somebody being thoughtful and generous. It’s amazing how you can learn so much from one mistake and how it can change your life.

  • mvr prasad

    This illustrates nonchalance to wealth except to the extent needed and kindness to even the “bad” guy.

  • andre

    Amazing how stories have a familiarity. Anyone who knows any of the many versions of Hugo’s Les Miserables will recognise this koan. That is of course a good thing. Amongst the things that the story therefore illustrates is its international recognition as a tale of saintliness and ultimate redemption.