3. Is That So?

    The Zen master, Haku-In1, was praised by his neighbours as one living the pure life. 

    A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without a word, the girl was with child. 

    This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last name Haku-In. 

    In great anger the parents went to the master.m "Is that so?" was all he would say. 

    After the child was born, it was brought to Haku-In. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child, He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything that the little one needed. 

    A year later the girl mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket. 

    The mother and father of the girl at once went to Haku-In to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.  

    Haku-In was willing. In yielding the child all he said was, "Is that so?"


1. "Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769) was one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism. He is regarded as the reviver of the Rinzai school from a moribund period of stagnation, refocusing it on its traditionally rigorous training methods integrating meditation and koan practice."