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The Young Samurai

The Young Samurai story - learning about heaven and hell from zen master - lessons in life, wisdom and fables from Ernesto Cole.

The Young Samurai

A young samurai warrior stood respectfully before the aged Zen master and said, “Master, teach me about Heaven and Hell.”

The master snapped his head up in disgust and said, “Teach you about Heaven and Hell? Why, I doubt that you could even learn to keep your won sword from rusting! You ignorant fool! How dare you suppose that you could understand anything I might have to say?”

The old man went on and on, becoming more and more insulting while the young swordsman’s surprise turned first into confusion and then to hot anger rising by the moment. Master or no master, who can insult a Samurai and live?

At last, with teeth clenched and blood nearly boiling in fury, the warrior blindly drew his sword and prepared to end the old man’s sharp tongue and life all in one furious stroke.

But at that very moment the master looked straight into his eyes and said gently, “That’s Hell.”

Even at the peak of his rage, the samurai realized the master had indeed given him the teaching he asked for.

He had hounded him into a living Hell, driven by uncontrolled anger and ego.

The young man, deeply humbled, sheathed his sword and bowed low in awe of this great spiritual teacher.

Looking into the master’s ancient smiling face, he felt more love and compassion than he had ever felt in all his life and at that point, the master raised his index finger and said kindly, “And that’s Heaven.”

Ernesto Cole

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