10 SEC READING: Here where I am

After having won many archery contests, the town champion went to the Zen master.

– I am the best of all – he said. – I didn’t study religion, never sought help from the monks, and succeeded in becoming the finest archer in the whole region. I heard that, for a time, you were the best archer in the region, and ask you: was it necessary to become a monk in order to learn to shoot?

– No – replied the Zen master.

But the champion was not satisfied: he took an arrow, placed it in the bow, fired it and hit a cherry which was very far away. Smiling, as if to say: "you might have saved your time, devoting yourself only to technique." And he said:

– I doubt whether you could do that.

Without looking in the least bit worried, the master went inside, fetched his bow, and began to walk towards a nearby mountain.
On the way, there was an abyss which could only be crossed by an old bridge made of rotting rope, and which was almost collapsing.
The Zen master went to the middle of the bridge, took his bow and placed an arrow in it, then aimed at a tree on the far side of the precipice, and hit his target.

– Now it is your turn – he kindly told the young man, as he returned to firm ground.

Terrified as he gazed down at the abyss below his feet, the young man went to the spot and fired, but his arrow veered wide of the mark.

– That is why the discipline of meditation was worthwhile – concluded the master, when the young man returned to him.

“You may have great skill with the instrument you choose for your livelihood, but it us useless, if you cannot command the mind which uses that instrument.”


  1. ishita says:

    very true. it is necessary for us to control our minds to the extent that we can perform our work, job to perfection.

  2. florencia says:

    son los mejores libros que he leido. soy flor de argentina y admiro tu talento. un saludo enorme

  3. melanie delina says:

    dear sir,
    thank you sir for the wisdom you are sharing to the people who needs it. may you continue to share your blessing sir.

  4. Arto Hutto says:

    as the song text says:

    Free your mind and the rest will follow…

    1. joanne says:

      Sir Paulo never fails to overwhelm me with such wonder…Thank you for sharing your wisdom. in our mind indeed lies great power.

  5. shubi says:

    how true..
    thnx Paulo….:)

  6. Mariana says:

    Foarte reuÅŸită comparaÅ£ia í®ntre arc (instrumentul care lansează săgeata) ÅŸi minte. SăgeÅ£ile minÅ£ii sunt gí¢ndurile ÅŸi ideile noastre, care atunci cí¢nd ating Å£inta se materializează í®n ceea ce vrem de fapt. Uneori, pentru asta este nevoie meditaÅ£ie, de mult exerciÅ£iu, pentru a reuÅŸi aÅŸa cum Å£i-ai propus. De multe ori nu-Å£i iese ÅŸi trebuie să o iei de la capăt, ÅŸi iar gí¢ndeÅŸti, ÅŸi iar repeÅ£i pí¢nă cí¢nd totul iese conform dorinÅ£elor tale…AÅŸ spune că e ceva fără í®nceput ÅŸi fără sfí¢rÅŸit, í®ntr-o continuă miÅŸcare ÅŸi schimbare…
    Pace, linişte şi multă dragoste pentru toţi !
    Cu multă preţuire, Mariana

  7. So true, thanks Paulo for this nugget

  8. ajay says:

    meditation cant be replaced …
    tnx a lot for sharing sir…

  9. kealan says:

    & next the Zen master hits his target without the use of a bow and arrow.

  10. MAMS says:

    ….la verdad yo no practico la meditacion, pero puedo decir por lo poco q lei que te sumerge en un mar profundo de armonia con todo el universo….ademas que abunda en ti la humildad. hermosa lectura

  11. Jojo says:

    Dear Paolo
    Thanks again for sharing. What comes to me is when being in the “abyss” or over the “abyss”, all collapse, all that constituted one who thought he was suddenly is uncapable, without resources, well without those needed. In a Proverb, it is said … in moment of great distress, your energy is to thin … material, money, diplomas, social network, mental security, etc …, all that is nothing of rescue, of solidity. What is is being in awareness of who one is truly and resting on that ground, connected to that ground … I read somewhere … be a limpid lake. It is and all that keeps him alive is there … a little leaf or a big rock can hit it … but he receives it, goes with it, and knows deeply that all is in total harmony, in total safeness … well, he does not even think about it … it is just a lake.

    Meditation … not performance, not knowledge, not things to do in order to be more and more, better and better … take time to reflect, to free the mind, to stop the world in order to go in the deep of the lake … in order to be full of energy at all time. But then, meditation … many ways to meditate … I do not follow techniques of meditation … I just do what I like the most, what brings me to empty my mind, permits me to as I do what I like (be it gardening, walking, just looking at the little church in front of my house) to just silence and capture.

    Love, Jojo.

  12. Sibila Maria India says:

    Philosophy is speculation – zen is participation.

  13. sunny says:

    beautiful, and so true!!!
    thanx for reminding me of the importance of meditation.
    It really takes enormous courage and patience to focus on your target, even in critical circumstances….

    Mind is a powerful horse, bbut you need to focus all its energy in one direction….

    That’s what Krishna, the charioteer of Arjuna in Mahabharata had been doing….

  14. Prince says:

    Use of All senses… with a control over them… wow… what a learning….

  15. aksh says:

    “That is why the discipline of meditation was worthwhile ”

    does not matter if u shoot arrows or broom floors or teach people or just sit lazily !! discipline of meditation helps beings a quality to your ‘work’ a kind of depth, a gravity, a joy un fathomed, so meditate my fellow wols, and shoot your arrows


  16. trea says:

    So true. Wish I read this 30 years ago.

    1. Lazaros Pavlidis says:

      It was true 30 years ago, it was true even before that but it still remains true to this day… And it will be true in the future… At least most possilby! (never said I could predict the future!). So, you read it today. Everything is a circle and… A circle doesn’t have a beginning and an end. you read it now. So, apply it.

      Best wishes to you my friend….

  17. HECTOR says:


  18. jacqueline.f.smith says:

    We are not alone, ever help is always but a step away.. my step begins each day with Paulo the legend in My World.

  19. Monisha says:

    nice one!!!

  20. Obrigado pela sua mensagem!