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 The Moon Out the Window

In a little hut at the foot of a majestic mountain, the Zen master Ryokan lived very simply.  One autumn night when Ryokan was taking a walk in the moonlight, a thief entered his hut only to find that there was nothing of value to steal. When Ryokan returned, he found the disappointed thief preparing to leave empty-handed.

“My dear fellow,” he said, “you have come a long way to visit me and you must have something for your troubles.”  Ryokan stripped naked and removed the blanket from his bed, offering these gifts to the bewildered thief, who quickly ran off with them.

Sitting down naked in the moonlight, Ryokan found himself wishing that he could have given the thief the lovely harvest moon.  In the silver silence beneath the moon, he composed this Haiku poem:

The moon out the window!

Left by the thief unstolen