Two monks had been walking in silence for many weeks on a pilgrimage to see their teacher. They came to a stream and discovered a young, quite beautiful woman stranded on their side wondering how to cross without being carried away with the current. The beginner monk offered to carry her across on his back. Together the three of them succeeded in fording the stream. The woman left on a different path to visit her family.
The elder monk was getting distressed at how his student had broken his vow of brahmacharya – avoiding physical contact with women. His mind became heated as he struggled whether to tell their teacher and if so how to put the novice’s failure. Finally he felt compelled to scold the novice. He said, “How could you break your vows of celibacy? Have you no mindfulness? What got into your head that you thought you could touch that lovely woman and hold her so tightly?”
After the elder’s indignation was spent, the novice replied “I put her down on the side of the stream, but why are you still carrying her so tightly?” The elder couldn’t hear it and told the novice to leave his company because he was impure.
Upon arriving separately at the teacher’s abbey, the story was told to the master. The master sent the elder to clean the kitchen while he spoke in private to the novice. Touching the novice sweetly and tenderly, he bestowed upon him with his secret touch his blessings and told him he was ready to be on his own.