I like this story also, but some of you seem to have missed the "bite" in this story.
In some versions the "lady" is clearly a concubine, on her way to met a "client".
It was intended to show she was clearly a prostitute.
That is why the junior monk was so critical.
As the senior monk tries to point out he simply picked her up, carried her across the muddy water, and then put her down on the other side.
It was the junior monk who passed an unwarranted judgement on her.
And that was exactly the point of the story, at least before it was "cleaned up" to be more presentable.
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach