Sunday, 16 May 2010

Treasured Moments

The master was growing old, and yet he still rose early and each day he was to be seen in the garden doing his share of the toils. The students thought that he was getting far too old to be doing this. They spoke to him often about taking things easy; each time the answer was the same. “I am well able to do my share. I am alive and a new day waits.”

One day the students decided to hide his tools. That evening at dinner he did not eat. The next day it was the same, and the next. The next morning the students returned his tools and he worked. That night he was seen enjoying his dinner.

It was a windy day many years ago when my son and I went to sail in the small boat I had bought from my “not smoking money.” We were both beginners and probably foolhardy.

We were well out in the middle of the loch when we capsized. Before we were aware what was happening we were under the boat, with a pocket of air. My son was caught in the ropes. I managed to get out but could not turn the boat upright. There was no sign of anybody, we were alone. I went back beside him. He said to me, “Dad are we going to die?” “No,” I said with all the gusto I could muster.

I was not so sure that this was the case. Some forty minutes later the rescue boat arrived, and with their help we managed to right the boat and reach the shore.

It is only when you are aware of your fragility that you that each moment of each day becomes the most precious treasure.

So step bravely, today is a new day and like the master you have much to do.

This blog is linked to my other where I speak of the artwork used:- Ross


  1. Good Morning Ralph, I am alive! If this had been the story of al old servent working and not a Zen Master, I would think you wrote it for me!
    There I was yesterday climbing around a hillside,setting steel posts in concrete for my next project. My apprentice, who admittedly did most of the work, asked me why, having cancer and being retired, am I doing this? "Because I can and so you can" was my reply. I will admit to you and no one else, I am very tired today, but the satisfaction in doing that job is unmeasureable. Did you go sailing again? Probably.

  2. What fabulous thoughts for the day today, Ralph. So inspiring, truly.

  3. Yes indeed! My 92 year old mother has fought two bouts of cancer plus another three very ill years. She is in her home and works like a 'horse' daily; we cannot convince her to take it easy and move to a senior's home. Just as well I believe....if she could not do what she has done every day of her life I think she would die.
    Her doctor cannot believe she will not ascribe to some assistnace, at least to meals being provided since she is legally blind and also still cooks. I've noticed when she visits my sisters she uses her cane more often and is much slower. In her home the cane is discarded and she literally trots up and down those stairs!
    I think she must have met your Zen Master!!

  4. Life is precious. We need to live every single minute of it.

  5. i wish for you a ship of dreams that never capsizes and an angelic journey, are loved

  6. I've been thinking about this story for a few days now... What a traumatic experience for you! And I bet your son had complete faith that you were going to save the two of you...
    How many times do we assure our loved ones that all will be well... when in fact, we aren't so sure?
    You're a great writer, Ralph!