The Moon Cannot be Stolen
A Zen Master lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening, while he was away, a thief sneaked into the hut only to find there was nothing in it to steal.
The Zen Master returned and found him. “You have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.”
The thief was bewildered, but he took the clothes and ran away.
The Master sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, “I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.”
This story can be found in a book entitled Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, a translation of a 13th century work entitled Collection of Stone and Sand.
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