Jack Kornfield

‘At a retreat on the Big Sur coast, I invited several visiting masters and lamas. Kobun Chino Roshi, a Zen Master, taught about being open to many possibilities, then he offered to demonstrate the famous art of Zen Archery.On the appointed afternoon, he set up his target at the west end of an elegant lawn, which dropped off into the Pacific Ocean. The retreatants and teachers gathered, and the Roshi made a beautiful shrine on a nearby rock, where he offered prayers. Then slowly and with exquisite care, like a ballet, he bowed and changed into an outer white silk robe. He raised and unsheathed his bow from its leather case and carefully strung it. Then he uncased the arrows, sat meditating with them in his lap, then spun them and looked down the length from feathers to tip, finally selecting one. He stood and mindfully paced fifty feet from the target. There he rested – alert, silent, present.
The spectators were hushed. After what seemed like a long time, he raised his bow and then notched the arrow. He turned toward the target, stood, very slowly drew the arrow fully back, aimed, and after a long time deliberately raised the bow higher and let the arrow fly. And it flew – over the target, over the cliff, into the ocean. Success. He smiled broadly. Then he took another fifteen minutes in elegant fashion to gracefully unstring the bow, pack the arrows, bow to the altar, and change into his black robe. At the end, he laughed and bowed to us all.’ (No Time Like The Present)

I would have been more impressed if he had clambered down the cliffs to retrieve the arrow…

(Tongue firmly in cheek in case you are wondering).

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