The Zen Master Hakuin was honored by his neighbors as one who led a pure life.
One day it was discovered that a beautiful girl who lived near Hakuin was pregnant.
The parents were very angry. At first the girl would not say who the father was, but after much harassment she named Hakuin.
In great anger the parents went to Hakuin, but all he would say was, “Is that so?”
After the child was born it was taken to Hakuin who had lost his reputation by this time, although he didn’t seem much disturbed by the fact.
Hakuin took great care of the child. He obtained milk, food, and everything else the child needed from his neighbors.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer, so she told her parents the truth – the real father was a young man who worked in the fish market. The mother and father of the girl went round at once to Hakuin to tell him the story, apologize at great length, ask his forgiveness, and get the child back.
As the master willingly yielded the child he said, “Is that so?”
What is pure life? What do you call purity? Because whatsoever you call purity is not the real purity. Your purity is a calculation, a moral calculation. Your purity is not the purity of a saint – his purity is innocence. Your purity is a sort of cunningness, a shrewdness.
This has to be understood first. If you understand it deeply, only then you can understand what a wise man is, what a saint is, what a man of knowledge is. Because if your measurement is wrong, if your very base of judgment is wrong, everything will go wrong with it.
Real purity is just like a child – innocent; innocent about what is good, what is bad; innocent about any distinction. Real purity does not know what is God and what is the Devil. But your purity is a choice – a choice of God against the Devil, a choice of the good against the bad. You have already made a distinction, you have already divided existence. And a divided existence cannot lead to innocence.
Innocence flowers only when existence is undivided. You accept it as it is. You don’t choose, you don’t divide, you don’t make any distinctions. You don’t know, really, what is good and what is bad. If you know, then you will calculate, then purity will be manufactured. It will not be a flowering.
I will tell you one anecdote: Khalil Gibran has written a beautiful story. A priest was going to the temple. Just by the side of the road he saw a man almost at the verge of death – bleeding, dying, as if he had been attacked very severely – wounds all over, blood flowing, soaked in his own blood.