Free yourself from your ghosts

- through Fabrice Groult

Published on

When anger, cruelty and guilt go hand in hand.

A samurai of fairly high rank and haughty dignity rode through the Japanese countryside deep in an endless valley. Something quite rare, his stomach growled and cried out for hunger, because he hadn't swallowed the slightest grain of rice or the tiniest sip of miso soup for three good days. Knowing he was alone and therefore free to move, driven by this imperious hunger, he decided to dismount and fish for his pittance. He found a slender rod in a grove of bamboo, attached a rope and a hook to it, and threw the bait into the flowing, rushing waters of a stream. The waters full of fish were not long in offering him a beautiful catch silver and dancing in the light of the morning.

Damn meows!

His heart and his mouth were already feasting on such a feast and he went in search of a handful of dry twigs and some branches to make a fire. Returning to the edge of the river, he surprised a snow-white cat, which had invited itself to the table and was already licking its chops at this very fresh fish. The samurai's blood rushed, anger took hold of his head and without him even being able to reflect and meditate on his gesture, he unsheathed his Katana and cut cleanly the torso of the daring animal, whose viscera and dismembered parts leapt into space. Raising his sword, he shook it to rid the blade of the animal's blood and sheathed it serenely. Without further thought, he proceeded to cook and grill the fish.

"To redeem yourself and free yourself, you have only one solution: to commit the ritual suicide of seppuku. »

Getting ready to bite into the crispy flesh, he heard a thunderous "meow". Would there be another cat around? No, no animal, only him, the stream and the fish. Bite after bite, it was meow after meow. Once on horseback, meow again, the sound of the wind, the songs of birds, the barking of dogs in the hamlets crossed, meow and meow again. In the evening, the inn, the face of the old woman, the companions on the tatami, the moon through the window: meow. Days, weeks and months passed and the universe resounded with meows. He could not escape this voice which, like a ghost, came to remind him at every moment of the unpardonable fault of having taken the life of a poor animal. Tired of fighting and having no other recourse, he went to a Zen priest who lived in the western mountains. The latter listened to his story and ended up saying to him: "You took your life for no reason and with great cruelty, you have fallen very low and this cat haunts you now. To redeem yourself and free yourself, you have only one solution left: to commit the ritual suicide of seppuku. »

At these words and very solemnly, the samurai got down on his knees and undid his kimono, he took his short sword and applied the point to his lower abdomen, ready to sink it and disembowel himself. Behind, the priest held the saber ready to decapitate the samurai. At that precise moment, the samurai heard the voice of the priest: “Now tell me, where did the meows go? No matter how much the samurai listened, there was nothing, no meow. The priest then lowered the saber and said to him: "You can now go in peace, you are free"

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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