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Me? Who? – 1

One day a person walked in the room where the Zen teacher was sitting. He walked to the teacher, bowed before him and said “I came from a village nearby. I heard you are very wise. I have lots of troubles. I want peace.”

The teacher looked him straight in eye and asked “Who wants peace?”

A bit confused, the person replied again “I want peace.”

The teacher repeated the question again “Who wants peace?”

After this seemingly absurd dialog, the person walked away disappointed. But he showed up next day again and he popped the same request. “I want peace.”

“Who wants peace?” asked the teacher again.

“I, son of so and so, want peace.” the person replied.

“Who wants peace?” the teacher asked again.

The person turned back and walked away, frustrated that this was not going anywhere.

But he kept showing up day after day, month after month. Every time the dialog would begin with same request, the teacher would ask the same question back. The person would try to come up with different answer to satisfy the teacher.

One day the teacher suddenly stood up and hurled some obscene profanities at him. The person got angry and walked away, but eventually came back anyway. A few days later, the teacher suddenly threw himself at this person’s feet at once. (This is a sign of extreme respect in Eastern cultures.) Totally embarrassed to see the teacher at his feet, the person walked away again.

After several years of this seemingly meaningless discourse, one fine morning the person showed up again. He made the same request saying he wanted peace.

“Who wants the peace?” asked the teacher again.

At this point the person fell silent.

Teacher stood up and threw himself at this person’s feet. The person did not even flinch.

The teacher stood up, smiled at him and said “Now you have your peace. Go back and share it.”

The person, with a content heart, bowed before the teacher, retreated from the teacher’s room and never came back.

Let me know what you thought about it. Leave me a comment. I will post my thoughts on this story soon.


3 Responses

  1. Sometimes we get so stuck trying to find answers to our own questions and lessons for ourselves that we fail to realize what powerful teachers we are to others. It is always good, then, to live mindfully because you can never know when someone else will be learning something from you. I thought this was a beautiful story to remind myself of this concept. Thanks for putting it up!

  2. Hello Halfnotes,

    Yours is interesting comment.

    That reminds me of an interesting comment by Alan Watt’s teacher, Shuneru Suzuki. He once said to his student “You are my teacher, I am my teacher’s teacher and we all in turn are teachers of Gautam Buddha.”

    Always I find that everybody takes his/her own lesson from stories like these and no one is wrong.

    Thanks for the comment. 🙂


  3. Brilliant story! I love the idea that in order to have peace all we have to do is die (in a spiritual sense).

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