Don’t you know who I’m

This post was written by admin on July 4, 2009
Posted Under: teaching stories,Zen story

This is another Zen teaching story:

A cruel tyrant was invading the country and having his troops kill anyone in sight to frighten the populous into submission and obedience. They got to a town with a large Zen monastery. All the people and the monks except one ran to the hills.

The victorious emperor arrived in the town and sent his lieutenants to search for anyone who had dared to remain. They came back and reported that the town was empty of all people except for one man in the monastery.

The invader angrily rushed there, threw the gates open and saw an old man meditating serenely. He took his sword out of the scabbard and screamed, “Don’t you know who I’m? I’m the one who could run my sword through you and cut off your head without a blink of an eye!”

The Zen master looked at him and smiled compassionately and replied gently, “And don’t you know who I’m?”

The affronted war lord said, “Who are you?”

The master said, “I’m the one you could run your sword through and cut off my head without a blink of an eye!”

The invader listened, paused, understood, put his sword back in his scabbard, bowed, and spared that town.

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