Posted by ESC on November 09, 1999
In Reply to: Need meaning of phrase posted by Barbara Healy on November 08, 1999
: Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil, See no Evil
: Does anyone know the origin and meaning of this phrase??
"...Said of people who don't want to be involved. The origin of the proverb is unknown. The proverb is often represented by three monkeys covering their eyes, ears, and mouth respectively with their hands. The seventeenth century legend related to 'The Three Wise ' is said to have read, 'Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.' The saying was carved over the door of Sacred Stable, Nikko, Japan..." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman. The last time this subject came up, I mentioned the phrase to a friend and she told me she had seen the Japanese carving and it was small and kind of unimpressive.