Zen Story: Mind over Matter

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An accomplished though conceited young archer once dared a Zen master famed for his prowess in archery, to a test of their skills. The youth’s proficiency was extraordinary. His first arrow found its target, a far off bull’s eye, with ease; with his next shot, he split the first arrow into two.

“Think you can match that ?” he asked the old man condescendingly.

Instead of responding, the elderly monk gestured to the young man to follow him higher up the mountain. After some time, they arrived at a deep gorge. An old and decidedly unsteady log spanned the distance to the other side. The master serenely walked to the middle of the log, aimed at a distant tree and in a clean movement, loosed an arrow that flew straight into the tree trunk.

“Your turn now,” said he, stepping back casually onto the cliff edge.

The youth stared into the chasm yawning below and trembled uncontrollably. He could not put a foot onto the log, much less take aim at anything beyond.

The master observed, “You have great control over your bow, but little with the mind that lets loose the arrow!”

Kill the ego to attain true power and skill.

 
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