Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Story of the Monk and his Goat

I've been thinking about this blog recently, and I decided that I want to try and write something every day. I make no promises to the quality or the length of the content, but we shall see.

Today I want to tell you the story of the monk and his goat.

There was once an elder monk, very advanced in his monastery, who would go out into the fields and chant. This is back in the days before monks would carry prayer beads to count their chants. Instead they would get two bowls, fill one with nuts or rocks or something, and move one of these objects to the other bowl with each chant, so they could keep track of how many times they did the chant. Since he was going out into the fields anyway he would bring his goat. The goat was a great boon to the monks, but it was a cocky animal that made a mess of many things. While he was chanting the goat would knock over the bowls, and the monk would lose track of his chanting. So the monk got a large stick, planted it in the ground, and tied the goat to it. In this way he could do his chanting uninterrupted.

The younger monks saw this, and they understood that their elder would always chant next to a tied up goat. So they began to go into the fields, bringing goats and sticks, and would plant themselves next to a tied up goat before doing their chants, since this was clearly part of the practice.


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