heaven and hell (a zen tale)
“They say that intelligence is more powerful than strength,” said the samurai. “I wonder if you could explain to me the meaning of heaven and hell.”
Riokan remained silent.
“You see” roared the samurai. “I could explain that very easily: to show what hell is, all I need to do is beat someone up. To show what heaven is, just let a person go free after menacing him a lot.”
“I don’t argue with stupid people like you,” said the Zen master.
This made the samurai’s blood boil. His mind was filled with hatred.
“Now, that is hell,” said Ryokan, smiling. “Letting yourself be angered by silly things.”
The monk’s courage disconcerted the warrior, and he relaxed.
“And that is heaven,” added Ryokan, inviting him in. “Not reacting to silly provocations.”