There are two monks. Part of their weekly rituals is to travel to the local villages and tend to the poor, sick and dying.
Once a week they journey for three hours to a neighboring village.
Each monk has taken numerous vows; one is to never touch a woman. The other is to journey in silence; offering the opportunity for meditation and contemplation.
One week they set off on their journey; walking steadily alongside eachother with mindfulness.
It has been raining heavily the past few days, but they are lucky as the skies are clear today.
About an hour into their journey, they approach a stream which has burst its banks. The bridge is flooded. A lady stands at the edge of the banks. She is dressed in beautiful silks down to her feet and turns to the monks, “Please could you help me over? I am due at a special function and my family will be furious if I ruin my dress. I have been here a great while and am already late”.
The woman looked helpless and tears were in her eyes.
The younger monk turned to the elder and started to hoist his robes so he could cross the bridge. He remembered his vow to never touch a woman and was keen to cross and get away from her.
The elder monk walked toward the woman, scooped her into his arms and crossed the bridge; the bottom of his robes and feet became soaked. He set her down at the end of the bridge and the grateful woman hugged him and continued her journey.
Two hours later, the monks approached the village. The young monk turned to the elder and angrily spoke; “I can take it no longer. How could you pick that beautiful woman up? After all our vows? We will be doomed for all eternity now!”
The elder monk turned to him; “Brother. I set that woman down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?”
Moral: Which of the monks is practicing mindfulness and loving kindness? What are we holding onto?