‘A belligerent samurai, an old Japanese tale goes, once challenged a Zen-master to explain the concept of heaven and hell. But the monk replied with scorn, “You’re nothing but a lout – I can’t waste my time with the likes of you!”
His very honour attacked, the samurai flew into a rage and, pulling his sword from his scabbard, yelled, “I could kill you for your impertinence.”
“That”, said the monk, “is hell.”
Startled at seeing the truth in what the master pointed out about the fury that had him in its grip, the samurai calmed down, sheathed his sword, and bowed, thanking the monk for his insight.
” And that, ” said the monk, “is heaven.”
p. 46, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, 1995 [slightly edited].