Information on this page & website is not medical advice and is intended for a Canadian audience. For medical advice speak to your physician.
Traditional stories may not be appropriate for all cultures and traditions. Use your judgment and caution as you read, and speak to your mental health professional, therapist, counsellor or mentor if questions or concerns arise.
The art of story-telling, and it's many pearls of wisdom, has been passed down through the generations. These are some potentially inspiring stories you may enjoy or find useful.
Zen and other traditional stories
THE FARMER AND THE HORSE
(or The Chinese Farmer, The Farmer's Horse, Maybe, Perhaps)
THE STORY OF THE TWO WOLVES
Which wolf will you feed?
(Focus, Hard Work, Patience, Non-Striving)
I have also seen this as a simple Zen saying "Practice thirty more years".
Here is another version:
A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, “I am devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to master it.”
The teacher’s reply was casual, “Ten years.” Impatiently, the student answered, “But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice every day, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then?”
The teacher thought for a moment, “20 years.”
And one more version:
A fellow went to a Zen master and said, “If I work very hard, how soon can I be enlightened?”
The Zen master looked him up and down and said, “Ten years.”
The fellow said, “No, listen, I mean if I really work at it, how long—”
The Zen master cut him off. “I’m sorry. I misjudged. Twenty years.”
”Wait!” Said the young man, “You don’t understand! I’m—”
“Thirty years,” said the Zen master.