Friday, 27 May 2016

Sengai Gibon

                When Sengai Gibon was first appointed Abbot of Shofukuji, he discovered that some of the monks were in the habit of sneaking out of the monastery at night in order to spend time in bars and brothels. One monk in particular made regular forays in this manner.
Sengai found the small wooden platform the monk had been placed against the wall to assist him in leaving and returning to the temple grounds. One night, when he knew the monk was engaged on another of these excursions, Sengai removed the platform and waited by the wall. On his return home the monk mounted the wall and extended his foot towards the platform. He stepped instead into the cupped hands of the abbot. Sengai carefully helped him down, then, without a word of admonition, told the monk, “It’s a very damp morning; please take care not to catch cold.”
                The platform was never replaced, and monks no longer snuck out of the monastery at night.

[Sengai Gibon – Zen Masters of Japan: 268-76]

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