Saturday, 26 April 2008


In ancient China, a teacher, K’ung Fu-tse, and his followers were on their way to the state of Ch’u. As they emerged from a forest, they came upon a hunchback catching cicadas (winged insects) on the end of a stick as they flew by. “How skilful!” exclaimed the master, stopping to watch. “ Sir, what is your method?”

“At first,” the man answered, “I practised balancing pellets on this stick. After five or six months, I could handle two until they never fell down. Then I failed with only a few of the insects. I went on to three pellets. After that, I only missed one cicada in ten. By the time I could manipulate five pellets, I was catching cicadas without effort.

“When I focus my attention, my body becomes no more than a stump, and my arm the branch of a tree. Heaven and earth are great, and the ten thousand things multiply around me – but I pay no attention to them, only to the wings of the cicadas. My mind does not waver; my body maintains its balance. With such an attitude, how can I fail?”

K’ung Fe-tse turned and said to his disciples, “Remember the saying of old: ‘When one’s will is not distracted, one’s power is increased.’ How well this gentleman demonstrated the truth of that today!”

“No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagra is ever turned into light and power until it is tunnelled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined”

Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) American Theologian

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