Martial Arts Stories and Zen Philosophy
|Strength Through Unity|
|Once there was a man with three sons. Each was to inherit part of his father’s estate. Often the three sons would quarrel about what each one of them would receive from the estate.The father recognized the conflict between the sons, so he bundled some reeds together and, with thongs and rope, bound them very tightly. He gave the bundle to the three sons and said, “If one of you can break this bundle of reeds, then you will inherit all that I own.”
Each son tried desperately to break the reeds, but none of them could. Disappointed, the sons returned the bundle to their father and explained that they could not break it.
The father proceeded to untie the complicated bundle of reeds and lay the individual reeds out in front of his sons. when he had done so, he broke each reed one by one. Then he said, “I want to make a point. The reeds as a unified bundle are very strong and undefeatable. Individually they are weak and easily broken.”
|Benefits of Struggling|
|A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were natures way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were allowed to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.|