Put the Hooker Down

© 2012 Susanna S. Sung

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. So there’s two monks and a woman…

I use a lot of analogies, metaphors, and parables to drive home points. Most of the time, I’m pretty good at it. Most of the time.

A while back I stumbled on a Buddhist parable that resonated with me. It was about letting things go, putting down your baggage, moving on. I’m all about that process–I’m sharing that lesson whenever I can, damnit. When someone had an issue where it seemed best to discuss letting things go, I would proudly and cleverly tell them the story of how the monk would put the prostitute down after carrying her across the river. And I would punctuate the end with something like “Put the hooker down by the river!” Because you know, I’m all smug with my cleverness.

Until one day, someone looked at me quizzically. “What hooker?” he asked.

I patiently explained the story. He patiently let me know there is no prostitute in the story.

Two Monks and a Woman
Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman.
Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across.
One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.
As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!”
“Brother,” the second monk replied, “I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.”

Damnit. No hooker. Still a good lesson. So I urge you to put the woman down after crossing the river. And it’s never a good idea to keep carrying a hooker. Or picking one up in the first place, for that matter.

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