This Zen story beautifully shows that one has a choice to react to circumstances however one wishes. This is not easy and takes much practice and efforts, but if one wishes to be less irritable, angry or miserable, make it your aim, keep it constantly in mind, and see what comes. On to the story, but before you begin reading, ask yourself how you would react if a stranger came into your house demanding your possessions or your life!?
One evening as Shichiri Kojun was reciting sutras a thief with a sharp sword entered demanding either his money or his life. Shichiri told him “don’t disturb me, you can find the money in the draw”. A little while afterward he stopped and called, “don’t take it all, I need some to pay taxes with tomorrow”. The intruder gathered up most of the money and started to leave. “Thank a person when you receive a gift,” Shichiri added. The man thanked him and made off. A few days afterwards the man was caught and confessed, among others, this offence against Shichiri. When Shichiri was called as a witness he said, “This man is no thief, at least not as far as i’m concerned. I gave him the money and he thanked me for it.” After he had finished his prison term, the man went to Shichiri and became his disciple.