Zen Story: Leprosy

Once a group of beggars afflicted with leprosy came to the assembly of Zen master Bankei, a greathearted teacher of the masses. Bankei admitted them to his company, and when he initiated them, he even washed and shaved their heads with his own hands.

Now, as it happened, there was a certain gentleman present, the representative of a baron who had faith in Bankei and had already built a temple in his province where the teacher could train disciples and lecture to the people.

Revolted by the sight of the Zen master shaving the heads of untouchables, the gentleman hurriedly
brought a basin of water for Bankei to wash his hands. But the master refused, remarking, “Your disgust is filthier than their sores.”

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