Have you heard this story before, and if so, can you tell me its source?

I heard this Buddhist fable from a Unitarian Universalist reverend, but I've moved far away and I've lost contact with him. I'll paraphrase it here. If you've heard this story, please tell me where it comes from. It reminds me strongly of the parable of the Good Samaritan from Christianity. I might have forgotten some details and I think the reverend did a better job of telling the story than I do.


Two Buddhist monks are walking down a road. They encounter a woman who has been raped and left unconscious and naked on the side of the road.

One of the monks says that they should help her. But the other monk disagrees. He says that they can't help the rape victim because their order prohibits them from contact with women.

The first monk, who believes that it is right to help the woman, removes his robe and wraps her in it, and carries her to a place of safety where she will get the help she needs. The other monk follows, but does not help.

Later, the two monks are walking back to their monastery. The monk who did not help says to the one who did, "Why did you help her? We aren't supposed to touch women, and you carried a woman some distance, and you got involved in something you shouldn't have got involved in!"

The monk who helped her replied, "I carried her to a hospital, but you are still carrying her."



motalib: I know it's fabricated, all fables are fabricated, all fictional stories are fabricated. I just wonder if there's some source where the reverend got this story.

I think that the idea behind it is that if you don't do what needs to be done to fix a wrong, your conscience will bother you, and make you regret your inaction.

Update 2:

kiowarose777: I'm glad someone has heard it before, if you find a version of it that someone has published or written out online, please let me know!

5 Answers

  • P'ang
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This is a traditional story from Japanese Zen Buddhist culture.

    It first appeared in the West in 1957, when it was published in the collection known as "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones," edited by Paul Reps.

    However, the traditional version varies considerably from yours. The traditional version does not contain a rape, nor do the monks take the woman to a hospital. In the traditional version, a beautiful woman is standing beside a muddy road, wishing to cross. One of the monks carries her across.

    You can read the traditional story, as published in "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones," here:


    Just click on "Contents" at the top of the page and look for "Muddy Road," story 14 on page 33.

  • 1 decade ago

    I've heard different versions of this but yes it is a Buddhist story. I don't think it's a Jakata story tho, but I might look it up just to see. You've made me curious.

  • 1 decade ago

    Buddhist always has some belief like the story you tell. These beliefs make you feel confused about certern thoughts.

    But the stroy, I have no idea where it comes from.

  • 1 decade ago

    Beautiful, sad story. Thank you for sharing.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    this is a fabricated story to give a lesson

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