Zen Story: The Trap Of Greed

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A famous teacher took his pupils into a clearing in the forest that was known as a home for wild monkeys. There he took a hollow gourd with a small hole and inserted sweetened rice (a favorite of monkeys). Then he chained the gourd to a stake and waited with his class.

Soon a very large monkey approached, sniffed the rice, inserted his paw, and screeched in frustration when he was unable to withdraw his paw (now a fist) through the narrow opening. Just then a leopard approached and hearing the monkey screeching decided to have monkey for his dinner.

“Let go of the rice. Run!” screamed the pupils, but to no avail because the monkey in his hunger for the rice, refused to let go and was as a consequence caught and eaten by the leopard. “What was the trap that killed the monkey?” asked the master. “Rice,” said one student. “The ground,” said another. “No,” replied the wise teacher. “The trap was greed.”