A Shinto Temple somewhere in Japan
A troubled samurai warrior stumbled out of the forest one day and walked up the steps of the temple to fall to his knees before the wise sage. ‘I humbly seek your help. I have warred and stepped a bloody path in the service of my masters and now see no difference between heaven and hell.’
The mage looked him up and down rather rudely. ‘Who are you to come to this holy place looking like you’ve been sleeping with dogs?’
‘I am the Captain of the Red Guard. How dare you talk to me so disrespectfully.’ And he came to his feet, drawing his sword above his head to cleave this impudent holy man who caught his eye just in time.
‘That is hell.’
The sword dropped to clatter on the steps as the supplicant fell to his knees again and placed his forehead on the ground. ‘Master, how could I have doubted your intention? Forgive me.’
‘And that is heaven.’