Monday, 30 May 2016

Ryokan Daigu



                One evening a thief came upon the hermitage of the celebrated Zen Master and poet, Ryokan Daigu, but the Zen Master lived in such poverty that there was nothing for him to take. The disappointed robber was just leaving when Ryokan returned home and found him there.
                “It’s a shame that you’ve come all this way and not received anything for your troubles,” the poet said, stripping off his robe. “Here. Please take this.”
                Deeply confused, the thief took the robe and rushed off.
    Afterwards, Ryokan sat on the floor, clothed only in his waist cloth, and enjoyed the moonlight.
   
The event inspired his best known haiku:

The thief left it behind—
moonlight
through the open window.

[Ryokan Daigu – Zen Masters of Japan: 276-85]

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