The Zen Story of the Two Monks and a Woman (aka The Muddy Road)

Alisa Rafferty
3 min readJan 14, 2021


This inspirational story about the power of letting go of the toxic things and people that weigh us down is shared through the story of two monks and a woman. This zen story about letting go is also known as The Muddy Road.

A few days ago, I realized that I often use stories, analogies, and parables to make a point. I also have future posterity in mind so that they can hear their (great) grandma share meaningful stories that shape the heart and mind. My hope is that sharing stories and inspiration dear to my heart may help encourage and support them through life’s ups and downs. I hope this story is meaningful to you, and invite you to share it with anyone that might benefit from it. I have included the written version of the story for those who would prefer to read it.

After a great rainstorm, two Buddhist monks walked through a village on their way home. They happened upon four men bearing a sedan filled with an arrogant woman.

She was yelling at her servants because the rains had flooded their way home and they were slipping as they tried to cross the flooded path.

The younger monk walked past, disgusted, and not pleased with the woman’s behavior.

The older monk quietly carried the woman safely across the flooded patch of road.

Was she grateful and kind to the old monk?

Nope. She walked away without a thank you.

The two monks continued their journey. The younger monk could see that the old monk was not troubled by the woman’s behavior. He said crossly, “Does that woman’s rudeness not upset you?” The wise monk smiled and said, “I let go of that woman several minutes ago. Why do you continue to carry her with you?

“Though the woman’s behavior was poorly chosen, I have learned that no matter the intended ill, the power of letting go…

…is found in letting things and people be.



Alisa Rafferty

Self-Enrichment Educator. Narcissistic and Spiritual Abuse Awareness Advocate.