A subtle story. I do not know the origin.
A young man decided to become a master archer.
He apprenticed himself the the Master Archer in the village and totally
devoted his life to archery.
The master gave him exercises – like staring at a a small object until it
became large and clear. And watching a spider make a web until the
whole process went into slow motion.
When the young man had mastered these exercises the Master taught
him about archery. One day the Master told him to meet in a field the
When the Master saw the young man coming into the field he shot an
arrow at him. The young man quickly took an arrow and fired it. The
arrows met in mid air.
The Master said that the young man had now learnt everything the
Master could teach him – so he should go to the Master of Masters of
archery – way up in the mountains.
So the young man took his bow and left the village in search of
The Master of Master Bowman.
After many years of searching the young man found an old man
sitting at the mouth of a cave. The young man asked about the Master.
The old man stood and beckoned the young man towards the end of a
small piece of rock sticking out over a huge cliff.
The Master told the young man to stand at the end of the rock and shoot
down a flying Eagle. The young man edged is way to the end of the rock,
and shaking, let go an arrow – missing the Eagle.
The old man strode to the very end of the projecting rock, pulled back
and let go of an imaginary bow – and the Eagle fell from the sky.
The young man spent many years with the Master, and eventually
returned to his village. Everyone was waiting for a demonstration. The
man was now very changed. Soft, gentle – like a sweet child. He
showed no interest in archery.
One day, when visiting a family, they put a bow on the table – hoping to
encourage him to demonstrate his skills.
The man looked at the bow and asked: “What is that used for?”