The Axe Thief – Zen Story about Prejudice

In the documentary “We are growing up”, first-graders were accompanied by a camera team and development psychologists. During an expedition, an actor was commissioned to steal a bag in the presence of the children. Afterwards the children were asked about the appearance of the thief. The majority of the children were convinced that the thief was dressed in black, which does not correspond to reality. The children quickly suspected the developmental psychologist of the television team of wearing black clothes. What is still quite normal with children at this age can also happen to us adults. The following Zen story illuminates this topic.

One day a man couldn’t find his axe. He searched and searched, but it disappeared. He became angry and suspected the son of his neighbour of stealing the axe.

He watched his neighbor’s son very closely. And indeed, the boy’s walk was the walk of an axe thief. The words he spoke were the words of an axe thief. His whole nature and behavior were that of an axe thief.

In the evening the man found the axe under a large pile of wood. The next morning he saw his neighbor’s son again. His walk was not that of an axe thief. His words weren’t those of an axe thief and his behavior had nothing to do with an axe thief.