Heaven and Hell
There was once a samurai who wanted to learn the difference between heaven and hell. He sought until he found a master from whom he thought he could learn. He stood before the Master and asked him what was the difference between heaven and hell. The Master took the samurai’s sword and, turning it to the flat of the blade, struck the samurai on the head. The samurai was surprised at this but chose to ignore it. He thought that the Master had failed to understand his question. He once again asked the Master about the difference between heaven and hell. Again the Master struck the samurai on the head. The samurai staggered back and puzzled over this. He approached with his question for a third time and, before he could utter a word, the Master struck him a third time. The samurai was now so enraged at this behaviour that he grabbed his sword from the Master, raised it over his head and was prepared to bring it down on the Master’s head when the Master raised one finger and the samurai paused.
“That is hell,” said the Master.
The samurai was instantly so overcome by the courage of this frail old man - to have risked his life for the sake of a stranger’s question - that he fell to his knees and bowed before the Master.“That is heaven,” said the Master.