Noticing that his father was growing old, the son of a burglar asked his father to teach him the trade so that he could carry on the family business after his father had retired.
The father agreed, and that night they broke into a house together.
Opening a large chest the father told his son to go in and pick out the clothing. As soon as the boy was inside, the father locked the chest and then made a lot of noise so that the whole house was aroused. Then he slipped quietly away.
Locked inside the chest the boy was angry, terrified, and puzzled as to how he was going to get out. Then an idea flashed to him- he made a noise like a cat. The family told a maid to take a candle and examine the chest. When the lid was unlocked the boy jumped out, blew the candle, pushed his way past the astonished maid, and ran out.
The people ran after him. Noticing a well by the side of the road the boy threw in a large stone, then hid in the darkness. The pursuers gathered around the well trying to see the burglar drowning himself.
When the boy got home he was very angry at his father and he tried to tell him the story; but the father said: ‘Don’t bother to tell me the details, you are here- you have learned the art.’
The essence of the story is simple and not as confusing as most Zen Stories. ‘There is no subsitute for direct experience’. The best way to learn a thing is to do that thing…. not that I am suggesting you become a burglar.