3. Is That So?  The Zen master Hakuin loses his reputation for no fault of his and regains it, all the time exercising equanimity.

In a town, there lived a Zen ascetic who upheld his dignity and possessed impeccable character. Meanwhile, an unmarried girl in the same town became pregnant, but she refused to disclose the identity of the putative father. Infuriated by her silence, her parents resorted to physical abuse, subjecting her to immense suffering. Overwhelmed by the pain, she pointed at the Zen ascetic as the father of her unborn child. Filled with irritation and anger, the parents confronted the ascetic, berating him with harsh words. 

In response, the ascetic calmly uttered, "Is that so?" and took the girl and her infant under his care. He provided them with the best possible support and nurtured them. However, as time passed, the girl's guilty conscience tormented her. Eventually, she confessed the truth to her parents, revealing the actual father of the child. Consumed by guilt and shame, the remorseful parents hurried to the ascetic, prostrated themselves at his feet, shedding tears of repentance. They sought forgiveness and worshipped him. Once again, the ascetic simply uttered, "Is that so?" The ascetic returned the child and the girl to her parents. Revered and trusted by both virtuous and wicked individuals, the ascetic was known as a recluse. 

The young girl firmly believed that the ascetic would not reject her false accusation and would provide refuge for her and her child. Inspired by the ascetic's teachings, many people followed his path. A jealous ascetic from a different religious background aimed to diminish the Zen ascetic's stature and attended his teachings. While the gathered audience attentively listened to the words of wisdom, the contrarian ascetic stood up and declared, "You may have obedient followers who are willing to act upon your teachings, but I am different. I am independent-minded. If you can make me listen to you and if I can act according to your teachings, I will find peace. However, if I disagree with your teachings, I will do everything in my power to disrupt your sessions." 

In response, the Zen ascetic invited the contrarian to come forward, saying, "Come to my right side. Stand two feet in front of me. Raise your head and stand with self-confidence." The contrarian complied with the ascetic's instructions. The ascetic then spoke to him, saying, "You have reached a level of maturity to embrace my teachings. From now on, listen to my teachings calmly." The ascetic's words struck a chord within the contrarian from the other religion, causing him to feel ashamed and tranquil. The incident served as a reminder that vanity and envy lead us astray from principles, teachings, and moral progress.
4. Obedience. The contrarian follows instructions.
In the realm of Master Bankei's teachings, a diverse gathering would assemble, including Zen students and individuals from various backgrounds and beliefs. Bankei's approach was devoid of scriptural quotes or scholarly debates. Instead, his words flowed directly from his heart to touch the hearts of those who listened.
The presence of this large audience stirred the ire of a self-centered priest from the Nichiren sect. He felt aggrieved that people had chosen to attend Bankei's discourse on Zen rather than his own teachings. Fueled by his ego, the Nichiren priest resolved to challenge Bankei to a debate.
"Hey, you!" the priest called out, his voice laced with arrogance.
‘’You impress only those who are gullible. They follow you like sheep. I hold contrarian views and will not obey you. I have no regard for you. I wonder whether you can persuade me.’’
Bankei, undeterred by the priest's confrontational tone, responded calmly, "Come and stand beside me, and I shall demonstrate."
With a sense of superiority, the priest pushed his way through the crowd to stand before the revered teacher.
Bankei's serene smile illuminated his face. "Please position yourself on my left side."
The priest, obedient to Bankei's instruction, moved to the left without hesitation.
"No," said Bankei gently, "perhaps our conversation will flow better if you stand on my right side. Kindly step over here."
The priest, still consumed by his pride, haughtily complied, shifting to the right as directed.
Bankei, observing the priest's compliance, remarked, "You see, in this act of obeying my simple request, I perceive a gentle nature within you. Now, please take a seat and open your ears to listen."
The story of obedience and gentle persuasion in Bankei's temple reminds us that true authority is not wielded through force or demands but through the power of understanding and genuine connection. By approaching others with kindness and wisdom, we can inspire cooperation and willingness, fostering an environment where true wisdom can be shared and received.