Saturday, December 22, 2012


A Zen Teaching Story – IS THAT SO
Retold By

What do you do when someone levels false accusations at you?

What do you say when someone wrongly accuses you of something you haven’t done?

It is simple. 

You calmly say: “IS THAT SO?”

And then get along with your life as is exemplified in the Zen Teaching Story below:

Is That So?
(A Zen Teaching Story)

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life.

A beautiful girl whose parents owned a food store lived near Hakuin’s house.

Suddenly, her parents discovered that the beautiful girl was pregnant.

Her angry parents demanded to know who the father of the baby was.

At first the beautiful girl refused to confess, but after great threats and coercion the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen Master, whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life.

When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter’s accusation, the Zen Master Hakuin simply replied in a very calm tone: “Is that so?”

Hakuin was ostracized from society and treated like a pariah by the whole village for committing this grave sin.

When the child was born, the parents brought the baby to the Hakuin. 

They demanded that he take care of the child since he was the father and it was his responsibility.

“Is that so?” an unperturbed Hakuin said calmly and he accepted the child with a smile.

By this time Hakuin had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. 

He obtained milk from the market and lovingly cared and tended to the baby.

Hakuin showered profuse love on the baby as if she were his very own child.

One year later the girl who had given birth to the baby could stand it no longer. After all, she was a mother and pined for her baby.

She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who lived in the neighbourhood, her clandestine lover who she was trying to protect. 

She confessed that she had wrongly accused Hakuin.

The contrite parents immediately went to Hakuin and apologized profusely. 

They explained what had happened and begged his forgiveness.

“Is that so?” said Hakuin after hearing the true story.

Seeing how lovingly Hakuin had brought up the baby, the parents of the girl very hesitantly requested if he could return the child back to the mother.

Hakuin smilingly handed over the child, and while doing so, all he said was: “Is that so?”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this blog post?
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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