The tale was told in a Zen center I once attended. The tale was told by a man who admired, even if he could not emulate, the way of the samurai and the code of bushido. The tale was not exactly a tale, but more a brief encouragement to the assembled Zen students ... muster your courage even in the most extreme of circumstances. The tale was this:
A samurai warrior who has not eaten for days walks down the street picking his teeth as if he has just finished a fine meal.
"How admirable. How courageous. How grounded in strong vision," the tale-teller implied. Zen students should be every bit as courageous and undeterred and stable in their efforts.
But I wondered then and no longer wonder today: Wouldn't a courageous man ask for a bit of food? It takes real courage to beg, to have nothing to give in return, to put your life in someone else's hands. There is no pretense in it. It is as hard as it is honest.
And honesty takes real balls.