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Thread: Hakuin (is that so?)

  1. #1

    Hakuin (is that so?)

    Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life. A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child. This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

    In great anger the parents went to the master. "Is that so?" was all he would say.

    After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed. A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth - the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

    The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back.

    Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: "Is that so?"

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Cincinnati Ohio Area (Northern Kentucky)

    Re: Hakuin (is that so?)

    I don't know why, but I have always really liked this story.

    Thanks Will.


  3. #3

    Re: Hakuin (is that so?)

    Yes Will, Thanks for sharing this.

    A question that haunts me: did they apologise to Hakuin for their behavior (a genuine apology), or because they wanted something (the child)?

    In response to either Hakuin would say "Is that so?"


  4. #4

    Re: Hakuin (is that so?)

    Yes. But more importantly:

    Did you laugh?


  5. #5

    Re: Hakuin (is that so?)

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Yes. But more importantly:
    Did you laugh?
    No... I felt sorry for the kid.


  6. #6

    Re: Hakuin (is that so?)

    Who's laughing? :twisted: (sorry - my zen smartass remark)

    and yes Skye, I agree... I felt sad for the child.


  7. #7

    Re: Hakuin (is that so?)

    No... I felt sorry for the kid.

    Will Hands palm to palm

  8. #8

    Re: Hakuin (is that so?)

    One time, a Japanese monk was visiting Zen Mountain Monastery where I was a student at the time. I asked him what his practice was, and he said "My practice is "yes!" This has been a help to me in many ways over time...

    This 'Yes" is, I think the heart of "Hakuin's is that so?" A full and boundless "yes" to the moment.


    - Rinsen


  9. #9

    Re: Hakuin (is that so?)

    ok, so the answer to the question Is that so? is yes.
    Got it.

  10. #10

    Re: Hakuin (is that so?)


    I like Hakuin.
    Especially "his" book on the heart sutra.

    I often find the stories about/of him is a wonder of clarity.

    May the force be with you

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