We Cannot Touch a Woman | Story no. 58/101

Two monks were strolling by a stream on their way home to the monastery. There were startled by the sound of a young woman in a bridal gown, sitting by the stream, crying softly. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she gazed across the water. She needed to cross to get to her wedding, but she was fearful that doing so might ruin her beautiful handmade gown.

In this particular sect, monks were prohibited from touching women. But one monk was filled with compassion for the bridge. Ignoring the sanction, he hoisted the woman on his shoulders and carried her across the stream – assisting her journey and saving her gown. She smiled and bowed with gratitude as the monk splashed his way back across the stream to rejoin his companion.

The second monk was livid. “How could you do that?” he scolded. You know we are forbidden to touch a woman, much less pick one up and carry her around!” The offending monk listened in silence to a stern lecture that lasted all the way back to monastery. His mind wandered as he felt the warm sunshine and listened to the singing birds. After returning to the monastery, he fell asleep for few hours. He was jostled and awakened in the middle of the night by his fellow monk.

“How could you carry that woman?” his agitated friend cried out. “Some-one else could have helped her across the stream. You were a bad monk.” “What woman?” the sleepy monk inquired. “Don’t you even remember” that woman you carried across the stream,” his colleague snapped.

“Oh, her,” laughed the sleepy monk. “I only carried her across the stream. You carried her all the way back to monastery.”


De-briefing of the story

As the agitated monk, we carry our past with us. Even though we can’t change our past, we keep thinking about it. We should learn to let it go. Only in that way we can be truly happy and move forward.

This story can be used to share the importance of

1- Letting go of the past

2- Moving Forward

Story source

From the book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith

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