“Fart… Fart… Fart…”

Adapted from an Ajahn Brahm story

A long time ago on a secluded island in the middle of a large and pristine lake, in an old hut in a clearing surrounded by beautiful trees, a young monk lived, meditating diligently.

He had been on the island for a long time, having departed from his teacher’s monastary with the intention of not returning until he had made the big break through. Full awakening, enlightenment.

His days were spent in total solitude. He did not even see the man who rowed over on a weekly basis, bringing his supplies.

One night, after a particularly blissful day, (and it was a full moon night too) he joined the ranks of the fully enlightened beings!!

Out of deep compassion he decided to share his wisdom with others and naturally he was going to tell his teacher first. He thought happily of his teacher and how much he owed him.

Carefully and very beautifully he penned these words on a thick piece of parchment: The monk, meditating diligently is no longer moved by the four worldly winds.

The next time the small supply boatman rowed in, it was to see the young monk standing on the little jetty. As the boat approached, the monk looked up very slowly, his face glowing, a serious expression on his face. He handed the astonished boatmen a scroll case, saying only these words ‘take this back to my teacher’.

The boatmen, after unloading his boat, did as he was asked.

After a whole week had passed, the young monk went down to the jetty very early in the morning, eagerly scanning the horizon for perhaps the master himself in a grand boat followed by the entire monastic community… He would treat them all to his wisdom if that was so. It would not be right to hold back what he had gained.

Finally, on the horizon, the monk saw the small boat. Perhaps it was just the teacher.

As the boat drew closer he saw to his surprise that it was just the boatmen, who after unloading his supplies, handed him what looked very much like the same piece of parchment he had written and sent a week ago.

He took it out of it’s case, unrolled it and saw his beautiful black caligraphy: The monk, meditating diligently is no longer moved by the four worldly winds. And across his beautiful black caligraphy (which had taken a long time to write) in red ball point pen (it wasn’t that long ago) were the four words, fart, fart, fart, fart.

The glow faded from his face, fury replaced it and he stomped into the boat, demanding: ‘take me to the master!’

And so the monk left his island and entered again the hallowed hall of the monastary where he had gone forth. He marched furiously to the master’s study, didn’t bother knocking, rushed to his desk, slammed down the parchment and scowled into the teacher’s face ‘What is the meaning of this? he spat.’

The master looked at him and said ‘The monk, meditating diligently is no longer moved by the four worldly winds; yet four little farts have blown you all the way across the lake.”


  1. Ha, ha! Thanks for the chuckle and the lesson. I had to read this after seeing the blog title. As the mother of two teenage boys, I am an authority on farts of all kinds!

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