This is a beautiful Zen Koan I often share with my students:
“The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him.
Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.
This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after
much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parent went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost
his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the
child. He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents
the truth – the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the
The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask forgiveness,
to apologize at length, and to get the child back.
Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”