Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The thieving student

Author: Paulo Coelho

By Paulo Coelho

A student of the Zen master Bankei was caught stealing during a class. The other students demanded his expulsion, but Bankei decided to take no further action.

Days later, the student stole again, and the master still said nothing. Enraged, the other students demanded that the thief be punished, since such behaviour could not be tolerated.

‘How wise you are!’ said Bankei. ‘You have learned how to tell right from wrong and can go and study anywhere. But this poor brother does not know right from wrong and only has me to teach him.’

The students never again doubted Bankei’s wisdom and generosity, and the thief never stole again.

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