Perhaps… (A Zen Koan)

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There was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Perhaps,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “What great luck!” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Perhaps,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Perhaps,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Perhaps,” said the farmer…

I love this.  It is such a wonderful reminder that no event is the be all and end all of life as we know it.  Don’t dwell on the tragedies, and don’t get attached to the seemingly positive.  True control comes from realizing you have none.

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4 thoughts on “Perhaps… (A Zen Koan)

    • It truly is. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the comment! Its good to know my writing (or my plagiarism in this case) isn’t just echoing through the halls of the interwebs unheard.

  1. We describe the world shift between lucky to unlucky with an idiom “Shi Shi Wu Chang”. It means the affairs of the world are inconstant. Despite gaining and losing, the only thing we can control and worth our attention is our mind.

    • Very true, yet we so often forget it. I can’t tell you how many times I catch myself getting worked up about events I cannot control. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it.

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