Ryokan devoted his life to the study of Zen. One day he heard that his
nephew, despite the admonitions of relatives, was spending his money on a
courtesan. Inasmuch as the nephew had taken Ryokan's place in managing the
family estate and the property was in danger of being dissipated, the
relatives asked Ryokan to do something about it.
Ryokan had to travel a long way to visit his nephew, whom he had not
seen for many years. The nephew seemed pleased to meet his uncle again and
invited him to remain overnight.
All night Ryokan sat in meditation. As he was departing in the morning
he said to the young man: "I must be getting old, my hand shakes so. Will
you help me tie the string of my straw sandal?"
The nephew helped him willingly. "Thank you," finished Ryokan, "you
see, a man becomes older and feebler day by day. Take good care of
yourself." Then Ryokan left, never mentioning a word about the courtesan
or the complaints of the relatives. But, from that morning on, the
dissipations of the nephew ended.