Shan the monk lived in a small village in China. He had acquired a great reputation for himself among villages far and wide. But Shan was extremely proud of his status and did not care for humbler souls.
A villager named Qui Yun knew what Shan was really like and decided that the monk needed a lesson in humility. He went to meet the monk. Upon his arrival, the monk neither welcomed him nor showed any sign that he had a visitor.
Qui Yun was a little taken aback at how to handle this indifference! Just then, the monk’s servant walked in and said, “Master, there is a visitor to see you. He says he is an army general’s son.”
“Ask him to enter,” said Shan.
When the young man came in his presence, the monk welcomed him respectfully and spoke a few words. After the visitor had left, Qui Yun burst out: “You were so courteous to that man. Yet you ignore me – why?”
Pat came Shan’s reply: “Do not misunderstand me. In my book, greeting someone is the same as not greeting. And not greeting a person equals greeting! ”
“Oho!” thought Qui Yun to himself, “this fellow thinks he can fool me with clever talk. I shall teach him a lesson!”
Qui Yun whacked the monk hard with his stick. Shan howled with pain – no one had dared do this to him, ever!
“I only went by your logic, master,” said Qui Yun. “Accordingly, beating you is the same as not beating. And not beating equals beating – that’s why I had to beat you!”
The monk realized his game was up. From then, he began behaving respectfully to everyone, regardless of their position.
Is our respect biased?