Zen Story: The Lantern

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An old Zen master always told this fable to unserious students: Late one night a blind man was about to go home after visiting a friend. “Please,” he said to his friend, “may I take your lantern with me?” “Why carry a lantern?” asked his friend. “You won’t see any better with it.” “No,” said the blind one, “perhaps not. But others will see me better, and not bump into me.” So his friend gave the blind man the lantern, which was made of paper on bamboo strips, with a candle inside. Off went the blind man with the lantern, and before he had gone more than a few yards, “Crack!” — a traveler walked right into him. The blind man was very angry. “Why don’t you look out?” he stormed. “Why don’t you see this lantern?” “Why don’t you light the candle?” asked the traveler.

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