Is that so?

There is a story about a Zen master that goes like this:

“The Zen Master Hakuin lived in a town in Japan. He was held in high regard and many people came to him for spiritual teaching. Then it happened that the teenage daughter of his next door neighbor became pregnant. When being questioned by her angry and scolding parents as to the identity of the father, she finally told them that he was Hakuin, the Zen Master. In great anger, the parents rushed over to Hakuin and told him with much shouting and accusing that their daughter had confessed that he was the father. All he replied was, “Is that so?”

 News of the scandal spread throughout the town and beyond. The Master lost his reputation. This did not trouble him. Nobody came to see him anymore. He remained unmoved. When the child was born, the parents brought the baby to Hakuin. “You are the father, so you look after him.” The Master took loving care of the child. A year later, the mother remorsefully confessed to her parents that the real father of the child was the young man who worked at the butcher shop. In great distress, they went to see Hakuin to apologize and ask for forgiveness. “We are really sorry. We have come to take the baby back. Our daughter confessed that you are not the father.” “Is that so?” is all he would say as he handed the baby over to them.”

From Eckhart Tolle. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

This Zen Master responded to falsehood, truth, bad and good news the same way, “Is that so?” He didn’t show any resistance, he didn’t participate in the drama. He was completely at one with what happened, so what happened had no power over him.

How would you have reacted to the different stages if this were you?

What this is showing us is that “Bad” turns to “Good” through the power of non-resistance. He accepted what he was given, the baby received loving care, and when the time came to give the baby back, he just let go….no resistance…no drama. He responded to whatever the present situation requires, instead of getting caught up in the drama. If you resist what happens, then you are at the mercy of what happens and you are no longer in control of your happiness and unhappiness, the world controls it.

Can you say “Is that so?” today and avoid all the drama?

What man meant for evil, God meant for good

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