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Become a Zen Master

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Become a Zen MasterOur inner depth should be as much as that of the ocean, so we are not fazed by external praise or criticism. For that, we must have love in our heart for others and we must help people. And when we achieve inner depth, the external world’s rewards won’t matter to us as much. – Radhanath Swami

A 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 faraway 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.”

Externally we might polish our houses and show that everything in our world is alright but when we are put in a provoking situation, we have a tendency to react adversely and let loose shots. We deal with our partners day in and day out and in our dealings we have to see if we are like the young archer or the old master. Do we get carried away easily by flimsy reasons, get hurt or angry at the drop of a hat, get frustrated when our expectations are not met or we have the ability to tolerate provoking situations, to respect each other in all situations, to care for the other and love them unconditionally without allowing the mind to interfere in our relationship?

The Vedic scriptures give a secret formula to develop inner depth and rise above the ordinary, not only in our interactions but also in the quality of our lives. It urges that we are not this body which we deeply identify with but we are spirit souls, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. When we as partners, together strive to understand this relationship between us & the Supreme Lord and repose our lost love in the Supreme loving Lord, our life rises above the ordinary. Only then, with this full understanding and knowledge, it is possible to situate in the self and tolerate any kind of provoking situation. When we develop this level of tolerance, we automatically evoke affection, respect & love and in this way we can achieve lasting peace and happiness in our married lives.

‘One who is not connected with the Supreme can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?’ (Bhagavad Gita 2.66)

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  1. November 23, 2011

    Milind M Churi

    Yes it is very difficult to tolerate provoking situations in one’s married life.But if under bonafide guidance
    one tries to bring Supreme Lord Sri Krishna in our life then slowly and steadily it is possible to achieve
    desired result.In this article story of a Zen master and his disciple is very illustrative.

  2. November 30, 2011

    Arjun K Ramachandra

    An eye-opening story of the zen master!

  3. January 20, 2012

    Jagannath Dham Das

    A very profound story illustarating how we should deal in our relationships so that they become healthy, long lasting , peaceful & full of happiness !
    Radhanath Swami summarizes it in his first line !
    Thanks !
    Hare Krishna !

  4. April 7, 2012

    Pranjal dixit

    Until we are profound in our thoughts, actions and philosophy, we will be like that young archer. We must learn to go deeper.

  5. February 9, 2013

    Sada Nandini

    Thank you Radhanath swami for this wonderful point saying that if we are internally deep like the master in the story then we will be happy and peaceful in our life and in dealings with others too.

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3 Things you do in Married Life....

Tolerate

Appreciate

Love