Friday, March 11, 2011

The Fourth Monkey

Many of you recognized the proverbial principle of the three wise monkeys in the previous posting. Some of you know that the source of this maxim is a 17th century carving over a door in the Tōshō-gū shrine in Nikkō, Japan. The three monkeys are Mizaru, who holds his hands over his eyes and sees no evil; Kikazaru, who covers his ears and hears no evil; and Iwazaru, who holds his hands over his mouth and speaks no evil. However, what you may not know is that there is actually a fourth monkey. His name is Shizaru, and he holds his arms across his chest to symbolize that he does no evil.

That said, the answer to the riddle is that none of the three monkeys were allowed into heaven. In a telling twist of fate, the fourth monkey was also on the bus and he too was killed but unlike the other three he was welcomed into heaven. The reason is that he never, ever went to the sea park: he knew that by paying money to see the Killer Whale perform stupid and demeaning tricks reinforced the evil behavior of the cruel and greedy humans who owned the park.

Please remember this parable the next time you think about going to a sea park where Killer Whales are held captive. It is not enough to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil; you must do no evil.

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