Many universal truths that stand over centuries are hidden in short, and wise stories. The beauty of their messages touches us in one way or another. Today I am going to share the story of a Zen Master and his test of self-mastery, a story that will make you think about your skills in a different way.
A ZEN MASTER, A YOUNG ARCHER FULL OF HIMSELF AND THE TEST OF SELF-MASTERY
After winning many archery competitions a young Archer started considering himself the greatest Archer ever.
Wherever he went he would challenge people to compete with him, beat them up, and make fun of them.
Once he decided to challenge a famous Zen Master well-known for his excellence in archery.
“Master, I challenge you to an archery contest”, said the young man.
The Master took up the challenge and the contest began.
The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first attempt and then pierced that arrow with his second shot.
Full of pride in his outstanding performance the young man said to the Master, “Let’s see if you can match that”!
Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather, motioned the young Archer to follow him up the mountain.
Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain.
They soon reached a gorge spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky bridge.
The master then reached the middle of the bridge, took out an arrow, drew his bow, and shot the arrow accurately at the trunk of a not-far-away tree.
“Now it’s your turn!”, the Master said to the young Archer while stepping back onto the safe ground.
Staring with terror into the gorge, the young man, reached the middle of the bridge with great difficulty.
Somehow he shot the arrow, yet it got nowhere near the target.
The Master then broke the silence and said, “Dear son, you have gained control over the bow and arrow, but you still have not mastered the mind, which is necessary to hit the target under any circumstances”.
The story shows us that it’s not just the skill that makes anyone great, it is the ability to use those skills under different, unpredictable, and unfavorable occurrences.
The one who can remain calm and has self-control when everyone is losing their head can win this world.
WHAT IS THE FASTEST WAY TO MASTER YOUR MIND?
“The fastest way to become the master of your thoughts and emotions is through challenging situations. If your life is going along fairly smoothly, there are not the same opportunities that enable you to strengthen your power and become the master of your thoughts and emotions. You see, even challenges are beautiful opportunities in disguise”. - Rhonda Byrne
On this note, do not avoid challenges. Tackle them instead.
Self-mastery is the most important skill anyone can develop.
As a matter of fact, you can be the most skillful person in the world in what you do - but if like the young Archer in the story - you cannot master your mind, when something unpredictable occurs, you are at the mercy of events.
Your mind is your instrument; so make sure you learn to be its master and not its servant!
Things don't always go as we’d like them to.
In these instances, instead of trying to control what is happening outside - which we don’t have power on - we must master what is happening within ourselves - our thoughts and in turn our emotions.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”. - Charles R. Swindoll
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1 thought on “A ZEN MASTER AND HIS TEST OF SELF-MASTERY – A STORY THAT WILL MAKE YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR SKILLS”
A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor – thank you for this story about the archer I have never heard it.