The Moon Cannot be Stolen

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain.  One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal.

Ryokan returned and caught him.  "You may 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.  He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon.  "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could give him this beautiful moon."

- From 101 Zen Stories, transcribed by Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps


  1. I wish I were more like that monk. However, my bike, it can be stolen. So it lives inside my apartment with me.