Mokubei’s Music Lesson
Mokubei, the wise man, was known to be a wonderful flute player. Sometimes he would sit outside of his hut and play his flute while looking at the moon for no other reason than the pleasure it gave him. People would come from far and near just to sit and listen. Sometimes they would bring him something to eat, and sometimes they would give him a coin for charity to the poor and needy.
Mokubei never thought anything about it. He just enjoyed playing his flute, and when folks wanted to learn something about playing, he would gladly teach them. This evening, Tomo-san was learning new notes and Mokubei was showing him certain musical scales.
A music teacher living in the next village was jealous of the attention that Mokubei received. One day, he decided to see if Mokubei could play a certain form of Kabuki music, which is used during performances of classical plays.
As the music teacher approached Mokubei, the wise man was rubbing his flute with oil to give it a more mellow sound. He then put it to his mouth and began to play. The music was sweet and beautiful. Kidu, the dog, was lying next to his master with his ears pointed up and was listening too. If you looked closely, you just might see a little smile on the dog’s face.
The teacher listened for a while becoming more and more envious of the exquisite sound coming from Mokubei's flute. He challenged the wise man to a contest to see who the better player was.
"Why don't you play in the emperor's scale, which is a sign of respect for His Excellency?" asked the teacher.
"Because," said Mokubei, "I’m not playing music for the Emperor. I’m playing Kabuki music for myself and the moon."
"Well then," said the teacher, "perhaps it is because you do not understand the emperor's scales that are to be played when looking at the moon."
"No," replied Mokubei, slightly annoyed. "I’m not interested in playing emperor's music; I’m playing kabuki music. I can play the emperor’s scales later if I want too."
"Then maybe you cannot play with the proper technique," said the teacher smugly.
"Why," asked Mokubei, "is the moon complaining?"
He placed the flute back to his lips as the bright moon shined in the evening sky.
When someone is enjoying what they are doing, you should try not to interfere, as it could cause a quarrel and spoil everyone’s fun.
Excerpt from Cherry Blossoms for Children - Life Lessons to Grow By (Zen Fairy Tales restructured and retitled).