In ancient times it was customary for a traveling monk seeking lodging at a Zen monastery to engage in dharma combat with the abbot or head monk. If the wayfarer won the debate, he could stay; if not, he had to seek quarters elsewhere.
Once a master assigned his attendant to engage in such an encounter with a traveling monk, who challenged him to a silent debate. It so happened that this attendant had but one eye.
Soon the wayfarer returned to the master, saying, “Your man is too good for me. I must journey on. I held up one finger to symbolize the Buddha. But he held up two fingers for the Buddha and the Dharma. So I held up three fingers for the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. But then he held up a clenched fist to indicate they were all one – so I ran to indicate I am no match for him.”
When the traveler who spoke these words left, the attendant arrived – angry and out of breath. “Where is that rascal?” he demanded. “First, he insulted me by holding up one finger to indicate I had only one eye. Determined to be polite in spite of that, I held up two fingers to indicate that, on the other hand, he was blessed with two eyes. But he just kept rubbing it in, for next he held up three fingers to indicate that all together there were only three eyes among us. So I went to hit him and he ran off! Where is he hiding?”
Moral of Story
Remember that each and everyone of us has our own story going on within our hearts, no one else can ever walk in your shoes or know the pain and suffering you have experienced, a simple smile may change someone’s day completely, as does an insult, let’s choose our words and actions carefully and create compassion and loving kindness within the world.