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« 2007 Presidency: South-East, South-South, Using one Stone to Kill two Birds | Main | How Nigeria will Collapse: Some Thoughts on the Yugoslav Model »

May 23, 2006

Two tales of Zen Wisdom, and, Reflections of the Warrior of the Light IX

The Alchemists's Universe, by Paulo Coelho, the Alchemist (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) --- Paulo Coelho, the Alchemist 1. The gift of insults

Near Tokyo lived a great Samurai warrior, now old, who decided to teach Zen Buddhism to young people. In spite of his age, the legend was that he could defeat any adversary.
One afternoon, a warrior – known for his complete lack of scruples – arrived there. He was famous for using techniques of provocation: he waited until his adversary made the first move and, being gifted with an enviable intelligence in order to repair any mistakes made, he counterattacked with fulminating speed.

The young and impatient warrior had never lost a fight. Hearing of the Samurai’s reputation, he had come to defeat him, and increase his fame.

All the students were against the idea, but the old man accepted the challenge.

All gathered on the town square, and the young man started insulting the old master. He threw a few rocks in his direction, spat in his face, shouted every insult under the sun – he even insulted his ancestors. For hours, he did everything to provoke him, but the old man remained impassive. At the end of the afternoon, by now feeling exhausted and humiliated, the impetuous warrior left.

Disappointed by the fact that the master had received so many insults and provocations, the students asked:

- How could you bear such indignity? Why didn’t you use your sword, even knowing you might lose the fight, instead of displaying your cowardice in front of us all?
- If someone comes to you with a gift, and you do not accept it, who does the gift belong to? – asked the Samurai.

- He who tried to deliver it – replied one of his disciples.
- The same goes for envy, anger and insults – said the master. – When they are not accepted, they continue to belong to the one who carried them.


2. Where is the umbrella?

At the end of ten years of apprenticeship, Zenno thought he should be elevated to the category of Zen master. One rainy day, he went to visit the famous professor Nan-in.
Upon entering Nan-in’s house, the host asked him:

- Did you leave your shoes and umbrella outside?
- Of course – replied Zenno. – As good manners demand. I would do the same anywhere.
- Then tell me: did you place your umbrella to the right or the left of your shoes?
- I’ve no idea, master.
- Zen Buddhism is the art of total consciousness of what we do – said Nan-in. – The lack of attention to the smallest details can completely destroy a man’s life. A father who rushes out of the house, must never forget the dagger within his small son’s reach. A Samurai who doesn’t take care of his sword every day, will at some point find it is rusty, just when he most needs it. A young man who forgets to give his lover flowers, will end up losing her.

And Zenno understood that, although he knew the Zen techniques of the spiritual world, he had forgotten to apply them to the world of men.


Reflections of the warrior of the light

The warrior of the light sometimes behaves like water, flowing around the many obstacles he encounters.

At certain times, resistance means to be destroyed. At such times, he adapts to circumstances. He accepts, without complaint, that the rocks along the way forge his path down the mountains.

Such is the force of water: it can never be broken by a hammer, or wounded by a knife. The most powerful sword in the world is incapable of leaving a scar on its surface.

The water of a river adapts to the path which is possible, without forgetting its objective: the sea. Fragile at its spring, it gradually acquires the strength of the other rivers it encounters.

And, after a while, its power is absolute.

Posted by Administrator at May 23, 2006 08:01 AM

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