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ONCE upon a time, a famous Zen master known for his spiritual prowess was passing through Edo. After a day spent in delivering sermons, he needed a place to rest for the night.
He went to the Edo Castle, home of the powerful shogun. The guards let him in and he made his way to the throne room where the shogun was conducting his affairs.

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As he entered the shogun recognised him and greeted him respectfully.
“Welcome, Master. How may I help you?” asked the shogun.
“I would like a place to stay in this inn,” replied the monk.
The shogun said, “you may surely stay here, but you are mistaken. This is not an inn. It is my palace.”

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 The monk fixed him with a clear gaze as he asked, “Who owned this place before you?”
“My father,” replied the shogun.
“Does he still live here?”
“No, he is longer alive.”
The monk continued, “And who owned it before him?”
“My grandfather. He too is dead.”
“Does that not mean that this is a place where people live for a short while and then they move on? Isn’t that what an inn is?”
The master had made his point about transience in life

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