Two monks worked in the kitchen of a large monastery. The monastery was a renowned one, and attracted many prestigious visitors who were entertained as lavishly as the beliefs of the monks permitted. Evening meals often attracted many guests, and resulted in much washing up.On one occasion the two monks were busy washing the dishes. There was an exceptional number of diners and, as a consequence, plenty of dishes to wash. The young monk was washing and the old monk was wiping. After a while, the towels ran out. The old monk thought a moment, knowing that the linen cupboard, although only the other side of kitchen wall, required a detour along several corridors to reach it. Not wanting to exert too much energy, he simply decided to walk through the wall.When he returned with the extra towels, the young monk was amazed. Astonished. “How did you do that?”, he asked. “Oh, that’s easy”, he replied, “let me teach you”.
Of course, the young monk leapt at the opportunity to learn such an impressive feat. Eagerly he paid attention to the simple instructions he was given and marched confidently up to the wall.
Bang! He hit the wall with the full force of someone not expecting it to be so unyielding. Undeterred, he tried again. Bang!! He hit the wall even more forcefully, and more painfully. Somewhat in pain, he tried again, his hesitancy perhaps contributing to the further pain he felt when he hit the wall a third time.
Thinking that discretion is the better part of valour, the young monk said no more and went on washing. The old monk kept silent and kept on wiping.
Time went by. And so, it came to pass that, one evening, another exceptionally large group of guests was entertained. This time the old monk was washing, and the young monk wiping. Inevitably, the towels ran out. So the young monk walked through the wall to get some more.
Our take on the story: anything can be as difficult, or as easy, as we want it to be.