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What is your interpretation of this story?

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Comment by kristian murray flory on January 10, 2013 at 7:42pm

"All conditioned things are impermanent

be a lamp unto yourself."

-Buddhas's last words

Comment by Adam Kadmon on January 6, 2013 at 10:12pm

Its only by sharing and giving the master gains comfort.But the master could share the qualities of the moon by telling the thief how his life would be better without stealing. Since both these characters are of two generous loving the other selfish.
                   The lesson here is even when the master met the thief he didnt forget his divine qualities of giving.As the sun wouldnt be of any use without we recieving its energy and the moon its wisdom.

Comment by Kay Emm on January 6, 2013 at 4:50pm

Well, clearly he has everything that he needs.

Comment by Sunmover on January 6, 2013 at 2:49pm

And another person shared this one also from facebook:

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life
in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening
a thief visited the hut only to discover there was
nothing to steal.

Kyokan returned and caught him. "You may have come
a long way to visit me, " he told the prowler, "and you
should not return empty-handed. Please take my
clothes as a gift."

The thief was bewildered. He tool the clothes and slunk away.

Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow,"
he mused, "I wish I could give him this beautiful moon."

Pete's commentary:

Ryokan made the thief's last day worse. Earlier, his lover
and accomplice had left him taking his dog, weapons,
and loot.

He went out to find someone to beat up and rob. He
always felt better about robbing if they resisted.

He was a Ronin (an unemployed samurai) who had
taken to banditry to eat) in the pity in the old man's
eyes, he saw for the first time, how low he has sunk.
On being handed the faded robe, the ronin felt like a
beggar. It was the classical last straw.

He went out, and used the monk's robe as a rope to
hang himself.

Next Morning, Ryokan found the body hanging from
the tree next to his hut.

After he had handed the thief his robe, he had felt such
happiness. He was sure his act of selflessness would
change the thief's life. How could it not? His love
for the man was equal to a Buddha's love.

A deep sense of failure, a painful guilt descended
on him looking in disbelief at the body swaying in
the winter wind . He hugged the cold corpse and
cried as if his only son had died.

He was sure this poor thief had killed himself
because of him. A deep gloom descended on him.
It lasted for many months in which he asked himself
what went wrong. Then, one day, in a flash, he saw
how spiritually proud he had been to think that
his theatrical act of giving a tattered robe to a
man who was better dressed than him would be
seen as a gift, rather than an insult. He saw he was
equally proud in blaming himself for the man's
suicide, as if his opinion could have been so
important to the thief. He saw clearly that the
consequences of acts, like everything could
change from good to bad, and back again.

He saw that fate had sent the thief as his
teacher, and not the other way around.
He understood now, that although he
was detached from all earthly goods, he
had been holding to his virtue as a miser
to his gold. He had been as much a slave
to feeling virtuous as a rich man is to wealth.
Yes, to claim ownership to good acts was
spiritual greed, one must act without
attachment to results.

All of a sudden, he felt as free as the fall's
breeze. He went to the thief's grave, that he had
dug himself, and vowed deeply, as he did
golden leafs rained on his head.

Pete Sierra

Comment by Sunmover on January 6, 2013 at 2:47pm

I shared this on facebook and here is one persons response:

The thief's side of the story: Blind to his own value as a child of the Great Unity, insensitive to the beauty and abundance of the natural world, and ignorant of his own ability to control suffering by giving up desire, a man became enchanted by material goods. This caused him immense suffering, because he was poor and could not purchase material goods, and because he had no skills that people with money would pay him to perform. He therefore took to thievery. Each time he came into possession of a new, pretty thing, he felt momentary respite from his suffering. But it always returned, because material goods cannot help us see the truth or find the wisdom we need to escape desire.

One day, he came to little hut at the foot of a mountain. He expected he could steal easily from such an undefended dwelling, but was still surprised when the man there not only appeared to live without the material goods that so enchanted the thief, but readily and lovingly handed over what little he had. As he took the clothes from the man's outstretched and willing hand, he saw for the first time that a human like himself could be free from the tyranny of material possessions, and saw that one other person loved him enough to give up his clothes for him. Bewildered by this new perspective, he took the clothes and slunk away.

As the thief wondered about what he had seen--how can someone so freely give their clothes to someone like me?--he stepped over a hole in the path. "Whew," he thought. "The moon, too, is freely giving me its light to protect me from falling and breaking my ankle." And he began to realize.
Karen McKim

Comment by Ommi on January 6, 2013 at 2:22pm

Ryokan is in the now,appreciating the moon in the now,wishing the thief, in a moments reflection ,an apreciation of the moon in the now,to be in the now,our natural state..................OM

Comment by anki on January 6, 2013 at 8:56am

to me it says soemthing like this:

moon is intuition, inner knowing. to know with feelings , like a spiritual way of knowing.

clothes mean nothing if u dont have the inner knowing. u cant teach someone to just know they gotta feel it intuitively aka the moon. it guides them like the moon does at night.

the clothes are just attachment, he doesnt need them by giving them away he shows the thief just that.

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