Flowing Like A River
This is one of the great short moral stories for students which has been adapted from a Zen story. Once upon a time, in a monastery, a Zen teacher taught martial arts to many students.
One day while the students were practicing, the teacher observed one student. This student had grown extremely conscious of his fellow students. When the student saw the other students, he could not practice. The teacher realized that the presence of other students was preventing this student from practicing. Also, read The Gift Of Insults.
So, the master called out to the student. And asked the student to follow him. The student did as he was asked and followed his teacher out of the building. “I have been watching you. I understand that you have a problem, so what is it?” The student did not know what his problem was. So, he told his teacher that he didn’t know.
“Even though I am trying to concentrate, I simply can’t concentrate. I do not know what to do now,” the student said truthfully. As the teacher walked, he said, “Before mastering martial arts properly, there is something you need to learn. You must understand the harmony of things. And you must work in harmony with your surroundings.”
The teacher took his student to a river flowing in the woods nearby. “Look at the river,” the teacher instructed his student. “You can see that the river bed has many rocks. Small and big. But do you see the river lashing out at the rocks? Do you find this river angry? No. The river simply flows despite their presence. The presence of these rocks does not change anything for the river. Similarly, you should not let others hamper your performance. Be like the river, flow steadily and do what you must do!”
At once the student understood his teacher’s reason. The student took his teacher’s lesson to his heart. And from that day onwards, mastered the art of working in harmony with things around him. You may also like to read, Zen Master Asks, “Why Ride The Bicycle?”.