If You Love, Love Openly

Twenty monks and one nun, who was named Eshun, were practicing meditation with a certain Zen master.

Eshun was very pretty even though her head was shaved and her dress plain. Several monks secretly fell in love with her. One of them wrote her a love letter, insisting upon a private meeting.

Eshun did not reply. The following day the master gave a lecture to the group, and when it was over, Eshun arose. Addressing the one who had written to her, she said: “If you really love me so much, come and embrace me now.”

– Taken from the Collection of Stone and Sand from 13th & 20th Century Japan

A koan (pronounced /ko.an/) is a story, dialog, question, or statement in the history and lore of Chan (Zen) Buddhism, generally containing aspects that are inaccessible to rational understanding, yet that may be accessible to intuition.

If you’d like to read more Zen Koans, I suggest you check out Ashidakim Zen Koans.

The Other Side
love is a wolf


  1. I embrace you now

  2. Read Bangla version of this story here, where I use this image, though the image is not shave-headed:


  3. I think Zen can be contrasted with the modern culture of presumption. You might enjoy the short Zen tale I just posted at http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/empty-your-cup/

  4. CalAnderson says:

    Did they have a no hugging rule? I’ve heard some monasteries have a no hugging rule.

  5. I love this thought – thank you so much for sharing it. 

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