02021-07-12 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

This is perhaps Ryokan’s most famous poem:

The Thief left it behind –
the moon
At the window

Compare these two stories, the first one from Zen monk and poet Ryokan and the second from the Sufi Idries Shah:

One night a thief broke into the Five Scoop Hut on Mount Kugami. Finding nothing else to steal, the thief tried to pull out the mat Ryokan was sleeping on. Ryokan turned over and let the thief take the mat.

From Sky Above, Great Wind by Kazuaki Tanahashi

A thief entered the house of a Sufi, and found nothing there. As he was leaving, the dervish perceived his disappointment and threw him the blanket in which he was sleeping, so that he should not go away empty-handed.

From “The Way of the Sufi” by Idries Shah.


  1. JaneParhamKatz

    Application to the troubling issues of arrogant thieves stealing music may be called for here?

  2. Victor H.

    I keep coming back to this post because it’s bothersome. :) I like the first simple poem. I guess the story versions engage my rational mind and strike me as prescriptive.


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