The great Zen teacher, Benzei had many pupils. One day, one of them was caught stealing by his fellow-students and they reported him to Benzei. But he took no action against the boy.
A few days later the same boy was again caught stealing. And again Benzei did nothing. This angered the other students who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief. They threatened to leave en masse if the boy was allowed to stay.
The teacher called a meeting of the students. When they had assembled he said to them: “You are good boys who know what is right and what is wrong. If you leave you will have no trouble in joining some other school. But what about your brother who does not even know the difference between right and wrong? Who will teach him if I don’t? No, I cannot ask him to go even if it means losing all of you.”
Tears coursed down the cheeks of the boy who had stolen. He never stole again and in later life became renowned for his integrity.