A Zen Master and a student were sitting, meditating in a zen garden, along the edge of the pond. A group of ducks were swimming toward them, ‘Quacking’ noisily in expectations of getting pieces of bread tossed to them. The student became distracted by their noisy presence, while the Zen Master remained still with his eyes closed, meditating. The student looked at the Zen Master then asked, “Master?”

“Yes,” the Zen Master answered.

“Doesn’t the noise disturb your meditation?” The student asked.

“What noise?” The Zen Master replied.

“The ducks quacking, begging for food?” The student said.

“Ducks quacking, wind blowing, frogs crocking, birds chirping, and a restless student are the reality around me,” the Zen Master answered. The student sat silent thinking about what the Zen Master had said. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a cracker, broke it up into pieces and tossed it to the ducks, in hopes it would silence them. Instead the ducks quacked even louder as they made a mad dash for the morsel. In their battle for the cracker, water splashed as their wings went outward to hurry and be the first to get a bite.

“See how the water rolls off the ducks back. The water is repelled from their feathers.” The Zen Master stated.

“Yes,” the student replied.

The Zen Master then said, “That is how you should be with noisy distractions as well as harsh words from another. Do not absorb another’s discontent. An un-happy person will splatter their un-happiness like the water and you have to choose rather to absorb their ways or allow the hatred to fall off you like water off a ducks back.”



have a zen-filled day