A Little Buddhist Parable

I have had some issues with feeling antsy while working. I think they have something to do with my natural ADHD, but on the other hand, I am still getting stuff done.

As I walked down to the coffee shop this morning, I recalled a Buddhist Parable I’ve heard before. I have taken a few liberties with it, but hey, it’s fiction anyway.


Two monks, a master, and a student, are on the road after a fresh rain. They find themselves walking alongside a woman when they reach a place where the road has been reduced to a morass of mud.

The woman imposes on the two monks to carry her across the muddy patch. Being compassionate monks they agree, and so they carry her over the mud, with her being obnoxious to them terribly the whole time.

But eventually, they get across and set her down. They keep going on their way.

Eventually the road splits. The monks go one way. The woman goes another way.

Miles along, the student monk begins to grouse to his master about how irritating the woman was to impose on them to carry her, and now he is sore and more tired than he otherwise would have been.

The master listens calmly.

The student becomes more strident in his complaints.

Still the master only listens.

The student asks, “Master, you’re far older than me, so you must sorer, for having carried that terrible woman. How can you be so calm about her?”

The master says, “I stopped carrying her miles ago. Why haven’t you?”

And may everyone hope the student took a step toward enlightenment.


I love the lesson of that story. I hope you all can get something out of it, regardless of your personal beliefs, religious or non-religious.

And by the way, the woman is only a woman in this story because that’s how I heard it told. No sexism is intended.

Thanks for reading.


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