The great master Bankei’s meditation classes attracted students from all over Japan. During one of these courses, a student was caught stealing. The incident was brought to Bankei’s notice. He chose however, to disregard it. A few days later, the pupil was again caught stealing. Bankei was informed and again, he took no action! This greatly agitated the other students. They approached the master with a petition they had drawn up asking for the student’s dismissal, failing which, they would leave the course en masse.

Bankei read through their demands and then summoned them all before him.

“Dear brothers, you are indeed wise. You know the difference between right and wrong. You may leave if you wish and pursue your studies elsewhere. But this poor brother cannot tell what is right and what is wrong. If I do not teach him, who will? I have decided therefore to keep him, even if all of you leave!”

Tears coursed down the face of the erring student. He had no desire left to steal.