Is That So? (Wise Shorts Ep. #1)

Wisdom stories from all over the world. This is the first one in the series. Is That So? (Wise Shorts Ep. #1)

The Zen Master Hakuin was held in high regard in his village in Japan. He was respected by all and many came to him for spiritual guidance, until one day.

The teenage daughter of Hakuin’s nextdoor neighbor became pregnant. “Who is the father?!” The girl’s parents demanded angrily. When she wouldn’t say, they only became more infuriated. “Tell us!”

Finally, in tears, the girl revealed that it was Hakuin. Her parents rushed over to the man’s house without a second thought, and began to shout at him, losing all of their trust in the master. “You’re the father!” They yelled.

Hakuin simply remained calm. “Is that so?” He replied softly.

Of course, his reputation was ruined. No one came to him for teaching or guidance. No one respected him anymore. Despite this, Hakuin remained unmoved.

When the child was born, the girl’s parents brought the baby to Hakuin. “Since you’re the father, you’d better take care of him.”

Hakuin lovingly cared for the child for an entire year, still steady and calm, not seeming to mind that his reputation was in ruins.

And then the truth finally came out. The teenage mother remorsefully confessed to her parents who the real father was, a young man in the butcher shop. Distraught by her lie, her parents quickly went to Hakuin for forgiveness. “This isn’t your child,” they whispered. “We are so sorry, Hakuin.”

The Master responds to falsehood and truth, bad news and good news,

in exactly the same way: “Is that so?” He allows the form of the moment,

good or bad, to be as it is and so does not become a participant in human

drama.

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