a zen master took his students out

on a field trip to a clearing in the forest where it is known for being the home of a community of monkeys. There he took a hollow gourd and placed a small amount of sweetened rice (a favorite of the monkeys.) He then staked the gourd to the ground and motioned for his students to await under a nearby shade tree.

It wasn’t long until a large monkey came out, (sniffing) and quickly ran up to the gourd and inserted his hand into the gourd in hopes of getting the rice. But as the monkey grips the rice and makes a fist, it is unable to retract his hand from the gourd. The monkey became loud with frustration but never let go of the hand full of rice.

The noisy monkey came upon the attention of a hungry leopard that came and saw the monkey and ran up and ate the monkey whom never let go of the rice within the gourd. The zen master then asked the students, “what was the trap which eventually killed the monkey?”

“The rice,” one answered.

“The nailed down gourd,” another replied.

“no,” replied the zen master, “the trap was greed!”


beware life’s traps