Sunday, August 12, 2012

Not Zen 18: The Heavy Staff

During springtime in the mountains, travelers hiked through the narrow trails from valley to valley. Following one such trail, an elderly hiker crested a rise near the top of a high hill. There he saw a younger hiker deep in the practice of a kata. The kata employed many strikes with a staff.

The elder stopped to watch. After a while, the dedicated fury of the younger man disturbed him. In particular, he was troubled by the potentially deadly staff.

"Your hiking rod looks hard and heavy," he said after the young man finished a kata. "It is the same size and weight as my walking stick and yet it is so different."

"Do you not practice martial arts?" asked the young man.

"I do. There is nothing wrong with preparation. But what is your purpose, I wonder? The land is at peace. Why do you practice your physical skills so furiously?"

"Because wherever I go with my trusty staff, I find strife."

The elder narrowed his eyes.

"Wherever I go with my humble walking stick,” he replied, “I find only peace."

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