The monk and the prostitute

By Paulo Coelho

A monk lived near the temple of Shiva. In the house opposite lived a prostitute. Noticing the large number of men who visited her, the monk decided to speak to her.

‘You are a great sinner,’ he said sternly. ‘You reveal your lack of respect for God every day and every night. Do you never stop to think about what will happen to you after your death?’

The poor woman was very shaken by what the monk said. She prayed to God out of genuine repentance, begging His forgiveness. She also asked the Almighty to help her to find another means of earning her living.

But she could find no other work and, after going hungry for a week, she returned to prostitution.

But each time she gave her body to a stranger, she would pray to the Lord for forgiveness.

Annoyed that his advice had had no effect, the monk thought to himself:

‘From now on, I’m going to keep a count of the number of men who go into that house, until the day the sinner dies.’

And from that moment on, he did nothing but watch the comings and goings at the prostitute’s house, and for each man who went in, he added a stone to a pile of stones by his side.

After some time, the monk again spoke to the prostitute and said:

‘You see that pile of stones? Each stone represents a mortal sin committed by you, despite all my warnings. I say to you once more: do not sin again!’

Seeing how her sins accumulated, the woman began to tremble. Returning home, she wept tears of real repentance and prayed to God:

‘O Lord, when will Your mercy free me from this wretched life?’

Her prayer was heard. That same day, the angel of death came to her house and carried her off. On God’s orders, the angel crossed the street and took the monk with him too.

The prostitute’s soul went straight up to Heaven, while the devils bore the monk down into Hell. They passed each other on the way, and when the monk saw what was happening, he cried out:

‘Is this Your justice, O Lord? I spent my whole life in devotion and poverty and now I am carried off into Hell, while that prostitute, who lived all her life steeped in sin, is borne aloft up to Heaven!’

Hearing this, one of the angels replied:

poses are always just. You thought that God’s love meant judging the behaviour of your neighbour. While you filled your heart with the impurity of another’s sin, this woman prayed fervently day and night. Her soul is so light after all the tears she has shed that we can easily bear her up to Paradise. Your soul is so weighed down with stones it is too heavy to lift.’

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  1. kashif khan says:

    Its a nice story. An important point here is that the woman realized that what she is doing is wrong. She has a fear of God in her heart. She felt guilty on her sins and asked forgiveness from God. In addition, she did her BEST efforts to come to the right life/path. God knows that my creature has done her role according to her courage and then the God replied according to his mercy and kindness. Our elders says that don’t make judgement about the personality from the appearance, God knows what is inside the heart.

  2. susan says:

    I have come to learn that it is not what is said in a story, but what is left unsaid that is the gold. You can be sure that the prostitute took her cunning with her, having piled hers, no more nor less then the monk. It is not unlike the story of the two thieves on the cross. Each received mercy.

  3. Nice story, and true enough/

  4. Lisa Voth says:

    I love this!

    Thank you so much for sharing….

  5. Michel says:

    Good story!

    Thanks! :-)

    Yes, this is true: We can change the world only by changing ourselves, not trying to change the others…

  6. Stormy says:

    Amazing how we might miss God judgment and think totally different !

    Nice story and very touchy

  7. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo,;-)-,
    and in another dimension of reality,
    the monk one day when returning from his early morning dip heard someone crying, he then remembered that a few days ago he had admonished the woman living in that abode, he then called her out and from simple coconut shells thought her to make mixing bowls for shiva puja. He then gave her what food he had . soon the woman became rich and never forgot the kind monk. one day came a big flood in their valley and they both died and both went to heaven.

  8. Cristina says:

    This is soo true, most of the sinns are inside the mind not the actions and from there we start creating our own heaven or hell.

  9. dmagdalene says:

    To sin everyday is bad for the soul.
    To count and measure the sins of others is worst.
    When it comes to transgressions, we are blind to our own.

  10. Juhi says:

    Life looks like just the play of the ego. Each one of us wants to feel superior to the other person, more special than the other, more great than the other. We always look at the other and hence the centering does not happen, our own journey does not begin.

  11. Yanilsa says:

    We live our life putting much emphasis in what others do. We expend a good amount of our time thinking of ways to change that. By doing this we pay little attention to ourselves therefore neglecting our on personal journey.
    This is a nice lesson.

  12. ira says:

    I think this is where the value of minding ones own buisness and not judging others comes into being.

  13. aditya says:

    So ultimately it’s a question of how much ‘weight’ from the past we are carrying, is it?

    Kishen bhai !

    I become aware of what ? and conscious of what ?


  14. Kishen Raj says:

    Heaven and hell are within you, both gates are within you.When you are behaving unconciously there is the gate of hell; when you become aware and conscious, there is the gate of heaven.

  15. rosa de los vientos says:

    This is a good lesson of God.
    God is Justice and Compasion too because he is male and femela.
    The man have a point of view and God have a many point where can see.
    Kises for you Paulo and thank you very much for all.

  16. Beany says:

    The sound of freedom is sweet.

    I would like to hear it.

  17. volw says:

    A wonderful story. Thanks Paulo.

  18. clarence del castillo says:

    The justice of God can never be fathomed by man. Who are we to judge when we see only a little part of this expanse called life? Let each man judge himself, let God, in his graciousness do the rest.

  19. Matheus says:

    Bom, eu escrevi um comentário, pensando que vinha para cá, mas acho que foi para o post de baixo.
    é a vida.