The Giver Should Be Thankful

This is one of those Zen koans that make you say "Huh?":


While Seisetsu was the master of Engako in Kamakura he required larger quarters, since those in which he was teaching were overcrowded. Umezu Seibei a merchant of Edo, decided to donate five hundred pieces of gold called ryo toward the construction of a more commodious school. This money he brought to the teacher.

Seisetsu said: “All right. I will take it.”

Umezu gave Seisetsu the sack of gold, but he was dissatisfied with the attitude of the teacher. One might live a whole year on three ryo, and the merchant had not even been thanked for five hundred.

“In that sack are five hundred ryo,” hinted Umezu.

“You told me that before,” replied Seisetsu.

“Even if I am a wealthy merchant, five hundred ryo is a lot of money,” said Umezu.

“Do you want me to thank you for it?” asked Seisetsu.

“You ought to,” replied Umezu.

“Why should I?” inquired Seisetsu. “The giver should be thankful.”


From "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" by Paul Reps.


What's your take on this one?



yes, it’s hard to prefer any of these two guys, in the spiritual way…they are both right…but we all know giving is much easier (and nicer) than taking…in any way imaginable….so why are Umezus su hard to find these days?

Jackson Bradshaw

The giver, should be thankful for the opportunity to send love, when we send love, our power knows no bounds and if we are karmic-ally aligned the tides are turned in our favor, to give is to give wanting no praise or reimbursement, to give is to show love, and in turn love shall be returned to you through the majesty of the universe, whom has endlessly given since its inception of infinity……..


hmm.. I see gifting as more of a mutual benefit for all parties involved. They should both feel good about it and so, both thankful.

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