Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ethics for Activists 20

What are you carrying?

Two monks, one old and one young, were walking through the forest from one monastery to another when they came upon a woman standing beside a river. She was finely dressed in delicate fabrics and was clearly afraid to attempt crossing the river however shallow it might be. The old monk approached the woman and offered to carry her across. The young monk was shocked. Once on the other side the old monk put the woman down and together with his young companion continued through the forest. Many hours later, as the day was drawing to a close the young monk spoke up saying, “Master, I do not understand. It is strictly forbidden in our order to touch women and yet you didn’t hesitate to pick up that woman and carry her across the river.” “Ah, yes,” said the old monk. “I am surprised at you. I put her down many hours ago. You must be very tired from having carried her all day.”

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