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What am I (Wise Shorts Ep. #5)

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Wisdom stories from all over the world. This is the fifth in the series. What am I (Wise Shorts Ep. #5)

In Tokyo, during the Meiji era, there lived two prominent teachers with opposite characteristics.

One, Unsho, an instructor in Shingon, kept Buddha’s precepts scrupulously. He never drank alcohol, nor did he eat after eleven in the morning.

The other teacher, Tanzan was a professor of philosophy at the Imperial University. He never observed any precepts. He ate at all hours of the day and slept in whenever he pleased.

One day, Unsho visited Tanzan, noticing that the other man was drinking wine, a liquid that was never supposed to touch a Buddhist’s lips.

“Hello, brother,” Tanzan greeted him. “Please sit down, have a drink.”

“I never drink,” Unsho said, solemnly shaking his head.

“Well then, you’re not even human!” Tanzan exclaimed.

“I’m inhuman because I don’t drink?! If not human, what am I?”

“You’re a Buddha,” Tanzan answered.

 

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