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The Buddha

The famous Zen master, Shunryu Suzuki used the metaphor of four horses to explain the pith of Zen, which can stand here for all of Buddhism, although Zen is only one school.

He posits four horses, excellent, good, poor, and bad. He then suggests that most people want to be the best horse, or the best at meditation practice.

But, for Buddhists, this is a mistake. As we have seen, in Buddhism, your problems are your practice. Life might be too easy for the best horse. The worst horse will have to work harder and will appreciate its gains all the more for it.

Similarly, being very talented can result in arrogance, which is an attitude Buddhists definitely want to avoid. Good Buddhists are modest. The best horse will prance and preen and show off its skill. The worst horse will be modest and appreciate every accomplishment. All such distinctions are just human thoughts that will not last long anyway.

Be modest, meditate, and don’t worry about being the best horse.

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Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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