Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Proud Archer - Zen Motivational Story

There once lived a young archer who was proud of his skills. Often he taunted other archers and challenged them to do better than him. The archers who had heard of a Zen master’s archery skills asked the young boastful archer to display his wares to the Zen master.

One day they gathered before the master’s home.

Hitting the bull’s eye on a nearby tree, he smiled at the Zen master. Next he split the arrow on the tree with a second shot.

“Can you do better than this?” he posed to the Zen master.

The Zen master smiled and pointed to the direction of the valley and beckoned the young archer to follow him.

The two walked a few miles, climbed the valley and reached a small creaking wooden bridge a hundred feet above the gushing river.

Stepping onto it confidently, the master took his bow out and shot an arrow that hit the bark of a tree on the other side of the valley.

Stepping back to safety, the Zen master said, “Please go ahead and split that arrow.”

The young archer’s legs trembled at the thought of walking up the broken bridge with the river in full flow hundred feet below it. He stood silent.

“Young man, you are only skilled with your bow and arrow but not your mind that lets go of the arrow,” said the master.