A student monk was caught stealing at the temple. The other monks brought the matter to Bankei's attention to expel the thief from the community, but the master ignored the request. When the offending monk was caught stealing again, the other monks drew up a petition demanding his expulsion, announcing that otherwise they would all leave the temple.
Bankei called the monks together and said, "You are welcome to go elsewhere if you feel you must. But consider the case of this poor monk. Unlike the rest of you, he doesn't even know the difference between right from wrong. If I don't keep him as a student and teach him, who will?"
The thief was said to have burst into tears when he heard Bankei's words, and he never stole again.