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
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
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."