The Priest and the Thief

One evening as the Buddhist priest, Shichiri Kojun, was reciting his sutras, a man with a knife crept up behind him.”Give me your money!” the man threatened. Without turning his head, Shichiri answered, “Do not disturb me. You will find the money in the cupboard near the wall.” And then he resumed his recitation. A few moments later, Shichiri paused and called: “Don’t take it all, though. I need to pay my taxes tomorrow.” The man returned a few coins to the cupboard and started towards the door. As he opened it, he heard Shichiri say, “Thank a person when you receive a gift.” The man called over his shoulder, “You are thanked,” and he fled into the dark night. Within a few weeks, the man was arrested for theft. At his trial, Shichiri appeared with many others who claimed that the man had stolen from them. When it was Shichiri’s turn to testify, he was asked if the accused man had stolen anything. Shichiri replied, “No. He entered my house. He asked me for money. I told him that it was in my cupboard. He took some. And then he thanked me for it.” When the man finished his prison term, he went to Shichiri and became his disciple.

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