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Monks by mattahan Monks by mattahan
A commission. The story behind it:

One of the things that many zen monks accept as a restriction is that they are not allowed to touch women.

There are two monks walking by a swiftly flowing river. They encounter a woman who is on the other side of the river, but needs to get across very badly. She is unable to make it across by herself. The older monk immediately steps forward, makes his way across the river, helps the woman climb up onto his back, and carries her over the river. The two monks journey on.

The younger monk is shocked, offended, upset with the other monk. He goes on and on about how touching a woman has broken the rules he has agreed to live by. How could he do this? After many minutes and many footsteps have passed, the older monk turns to his companion and says, "I left the woman there by the river's edge. Why do you still carry her on your back?"
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Dusterboy Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2015
Yeah, I thought of that story as soon as I saw this piece. I think this is a perfect depiction of it.
Gyzmo-Grim Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Very powerful story
Gyzmo-Grim Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I remember Bhante Sujatha telling me this story.
lucaslike92 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I like the story ^^ I think theres a lot of wisdom behind it...
Citeron Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2010
Great story and a beautiful painting. :thumbsup::thumbsup:
suoliang Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2009
Nice to have people touched by Zen and its stories.
Naydania Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2009
I LOVED the story behind it. And I think you captured the most charming scene in it. =]
Nicely Done!
TyroneLove Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2009
Am I wrong or this story fits your work perfectly ?
Butch007 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009
Great painting! Even better story.
Babylon2260 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2009
We were learning about Zen in one of my classes and this was one of the stories we had to do a report on (except the girl had to cross a muddy road in the pouring rain, but still the same idea). Very nicely done! :D
ryhmy Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2009
I've always loved that story. Once again, great job!
omzig89 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
You have made my day! You've really brought the story to life.
nettiepies Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
I enjoyed that, very nice story. It really made me think.
febris-ink Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2008
It's a story I've heard and adore, but your pic gives it some real faces. I love their expressions.
Eli13 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2008
My mom told me this story years ago. In my head the monks were always Franciscans for some reason. Great work.
Catgoyle Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2008
Your water effects in this are superb! Love the story, too. And your people look very well done.
FaeAmara Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2008
Love the story behind it. And the illustration is beautiful. Though, the old monk doesn't look much older than the young monk. Not as much as would create a greater sense of understanding or enlightenment.
Catgoyle Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2008
Bald people don't tend to show their age as clearly as people with hair. If you look at their faces closely, I think you'll find the younger monk in the background looks to be 20-30 while the other monk around 45-55, once you study the subtle lines on his face. The folds around his eyes are deeper, there are added creases about the smile... maybe also the bit of extra weight he's carrying, too.

Some people take longer than others to reach enlightenment. Helps to have an open and questing mind, rather than a closed ledger.
y0j1m80 Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2007
I love that story, great illustration!
WaroDaBeast Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2007
I really like the story behind it. The art is, as usual, very good. ;)
Eonity Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2007   General Artist
I'm a Buddhist here, and not only am I liking the art, the story behind it is just wonderful.
tite-fleurdange Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2007
A wonderful illustration for a beautiful story :)
Unkuiri Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2007
Fantastic story, very creative...:D
oddbydefault Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2007
great story! and i love how you've drawn them all - excellent work!
jaywang Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2007
Nice story~
banana-ink Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2007  Professional Photographer
WOW. I read the story and I was like nice..and then I went back to the previous page...the last bit of the story stuck to me and I just got it and wow amazing..ahhaha anyways As I said Beautiful work.
R-B Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2007   Digital Artist
Hehe...that's a fun story, and nice art piece :)
Karelias Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2007
guy in the background is great. whole picture is great :D
morphy Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2007
great coloring job, gotta love your style :)
Hemingway81 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2007
the story's great........its so you... (for those who take the time to rebuild the puzzle of your icons subtitles,they know what i mean..), as i download every peice of your work from the beginning, ill do the same with this one, glad u back!!! missed u tons!!.......hop! faved!!

Thanks for sharing!!!!!!

kspudw Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2007
BlueMalboro Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2007
Luvly story man ;)... I dont have words for the piece of art ;)
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Submitted on
July 21, 2007
Image Size
348 KB


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