Ingen Ryuki 隠元隆琦 (1592-1673) was the Chinese Zen master who founded the Obaku sect of Zen Buddhism. While traveling along a deserted mountain path, he was suddenly accosted by robbers who threatened his life and demanded all his money. Turning his purse upside down, Ingen complied with their demands, saying, “Here is all the money I have,” and was let go by the robbers. Master Ingen then went on his way.
After a short while master Ingen returned to where the robbers lay in wait. “Earlier I said that what I gave you was all I had, but then I remembered a special gold coin I had received from one of my congregates that I had tucked into my waistband. Since I have taken the vows of a Zen Priest, one being that I cannot lie, so I have returned. Here, please take this coin, too”.
On hearing theses words the robbers all fell immediately to their knees and prostrated themselves before the Zen master. They renounced their former bad habits and asked to be accepted as Zen master Ingen’s disciples.
Changing the physical where it is possible, requires considerable effort. However, changing the spirit can be done in a moment. Although one may not even be trying to change oneself, the heart can easily be transformed by some very small act of kindness.
“Do no evil. Do all that is good. Purify one’s heart.” This is the teaching of the Buddha.