The Archery contest
After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer.
The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.
“There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!”
Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain.
Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log.
Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit.
“Now it is your turn,” he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.
Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target.
“You have much skill with your bow,” the master said, sensing his challenger’s predicament, “but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.”
In Your Hands
A young man caught a small bird, and held it behind his back. He then asked, “Master, is the bird I hold in my hands alive or dead.” The boy thought this was a grand opportunity to play a trick on the old man. If the master answered “dead”, it would be let loose into the air. If the master answered “alive”, he would simply wring its neck. The master spoke, “The answer is in your hands”.
There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. “It has been ten years,” said the head monk.
“What are the two words you would like to speak?”
“Bed… hard…” said the monk.
“I see,” replied the head monk.
Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk’s office. “It has been ten more years,” said the head monk. “What are the twowords you would like to speak?”
“Food… stinks…” said the monk.
“I see,” replied the head monk.
Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked,
“What are your two words now, after these ten years?”
“I… quit!” said the monk.
“Well, I can see why,” replied the head monk. “All you ever do is complain.”
Appearances can be deceiving
A Zen abbot went dressed in rags to the door of a rich man and was turned away with an empty bowl. So he returned in his formal robe of office and was invited in and served a sumptuous meal.
Removing his robe and folding it, he placed it on front of the feast and departed with the words, “This meal is not for me; it is for the robe.”
If you have enjoyed this wonderful selection of short motivational mini stories then please share with your friends and family as I’m sure they will get as much joy as you have.
SHARING IS CARING