~ What is Heaven? - What is Hell? ~
In feudal Japan, the fierce Samurai Warriors were revered as Kings. They carried large swords and were highly skilled at using them.
One day, a famous samurai set out to find an aged monk who was known to be very wise. When he arrived at the monastery, he flung open the door and demanded of the old man, "Tell me, you are learned in these matters. What is heaven and what is hell?"
The monk sat still for a moment on the tatami-matted floor. Then he turned and looked up at the warrior. "You call yourself a samurai warrior," he said. "Why, look at you. You're nothing but a mere sliver of a man! I doubt you could cut off the head of a fly with your sword."
For a moment, the samurai stood gaping. No one talked to a samurai like that! Then, as if someone had waved a red cloth in front of a bull, the samurai's face contorted in rage. He bellowed, "How dare you! I won't let you get away with such an insult." Pulling his huge sword from its sheath, he raised it high above his head, ready to kill the old monk.
Unperturbed, the monk looked directly into the eyes of the furious warror and said, "You asked what hell is. *This* is hell."
The samurai froze, his sword still raised, as the hatred and anger that had consumed him drained away. He looked at the old monk in amazement, realizing that this small, stooped man had risked his life to answer his question.
Lowering his weapon, the samurai bowed to the monk, as tears of gratitude appeared in his eyes. "Thank you for your teaching," the samurai said humbly, his heart filled with love for the monk's gift.
The monk smiled at the samurai and said, "And this, my friend, is heaven."