Nearby lived a family who ran the local food store. They had a beautiful daughter. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was pregnant. She would not confess who the father was, but after much harassment at last she named Hakuin.
Furious, the parents confronted the Master demanding a confession. “Is that so?” was all he would say. The scandal spread around the village. Nobody spoke to him. They gossiped about him and condemned him behind his back. Far and wide, Hakuin lost his Pure reputation. However, he was unperturbed.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. Without complaint, he took very good care of the child.
A year later the mother of the child could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth; the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.
The parents went immediately to Hakuin to apologize, ask forgiveness, and to get the child back.
“Is that so?” said Hakuin as he yielded the child.
Why didn’t Hakuin defend himself against the injustice of slander and condemnation if he was innocent?
Because there is no injustice in Oneness. To defend himself would be to admit the reality of the injustice. Purity cannot be tarnished, and, as such is indifferent to the concept of reputation. He didn’t need defend a good reputation or restore a defiled reputation. Furthermore, in the end, he didn’t seek forgiveness because there was nothing to forgive if no injustice was done in the first place.
Only those of us steeped in duality feel the need to defend ourselves.
- Hakuin Ekaku Zenji (almostfalling.com)