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A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her.
The senior monk carried this woman on his shoulder, forded the river and let her down on the other bank. The junior monk became very upset, but said nothing.
They both were walking and senior monk noticed that his junior was suddenly silent and enquired “Is something the matter, you seem very upset?”
Enraged, the junior monk replied, “As monks, we are not permitted to even touch a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”
The senior monk replied, “I left the woman a long time ago at the bank, why are you still carrying her?”
The compassion of the elder monk to put the needs of the maiden before his own spiritual practice, and his mental ability to then let go of the fact that he had strayed from the path of his personal commitment, without feeling guilty or disappointed, is a lesson for us all.
We mustn't allow yesterday’s actions to affect today’s progress, because letting go of the past is necessary to truly thrive today. We must also accept the transient nature of life; that Mother Nature will demand us to adapt and change as and when she sees fit. This will involve personal sacrifice for the greater good, as it did for the elder monk in this story. To resist this transience will only bring about mental suffering.