A tea master once accidentally slighted a warrior. The master apologized, but the warrior, with a legendary temper, demanded a duel. Having no fighting experience, the master asked the advice of a fellow Zen master who did possess such skill.
As he was served by his friend, the Zen swordsman could not help but notice how the tea master performed his art with perfect concentration and tranquility. "Tomorrow," the Zen swordsman said, "when you duel the warrior, hold your weapon above your head, as if ready to strike, and face him with the same concentration and tranquility with which you perform the tea ceremony."
The next day, at the appointed time and place for the duel, the tea master followed this advice. As the warrior prepared to strike, he stared for a long time into the fully attentive but calm face of the tea master. Finally, the warrior lowered his sword, apologized for his arrogance, and left without a blow being struck.
Even when faced with adversity, understand your adversary, maintain your composure, obtain perspective, and open your mind to opportunities that may not be readily obvious.
Also on Firehouse Zen …
- Children – April 8, 2013
- Another Lesson To Be Learned – More of What You Don’t Want To Hear – January 14, 2013
- Customer Service – The Clincher – August 9, 2013
- Je Ne Sais Pas – March 4, 2013