Friday, February 11, 2011
a deer in the forest
So, if your walking in the forest and a deer runs by, followed by a hunter who asks which way the deer went, what do you do?
According to the old Zen Master, it's better to point in the wrong direction and say, "That way!"
Someone once suggested to me that it would be better to not say anything, or say, "I don't know, I didn't see a deer." At the time I didn't have a response. I didn't really agree or disagree, I just felt deep down that for some reason, pointing in the wrong direction was a better answer.
As I thought about it more, I considered, if I don't say anything, it leaves the chance that the hunter will still pursue the deer in the right direction, but if I lie, and send him off the other way, there's very little chance he'll find the deer.
If you're worried about the demerits of lying, consider that the merits of saving the deers life are greater, or that your personal merits shouldn't be considered at all in the face of the deer's life. There's also the fact that you're sending the hunter off on a wild goose chase, which could lead to several ways in which he will suffer frustration, and similar emotions, but his merit will still be better in the end for not having killed the deer. And who knows, maybe he'll even discover an ox!