45. Right and Wrong

When Ban-Kei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Ban-Kei, with the request that the culprit be expelled. Ban-Kei ignored the case.

Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again Ban-Kei disregarded the matter. This angered the other pupils who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.

When Ban-Kei had read the petition, he called everyone before him. "You are wise brothers," he told them. "You know what is right and what is not right. You may go somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave."

A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to thieve had vanished.