Perfect shots

1001 Tales Discourses

“Intellectuals are profound archers – first they shoot the arrow and then they draw the target!” explains Osho.


This is the problem with intellectual understanding. You seem to understand, and still you go on somewhere missing the point. The intellectuals try in every way to be as profound as the mystics, but their profundity is hilarious.

I am reminded of an ancient parable: A great archer – he was also the king of his country – was going through a village in his golden chariot, and he was amazed to see that on every tree there was a target, and an arrow or many arrows exactly hitting the bull’s eye. There was a circle, and the arrow was exactly in the middle; there was not a single miss, and on almost all the trees there were a few arrows. He could not believe that in this small village there was such a great archer.

He stopped his chariot, and he enquired about the archer. The person he enquired of started laughing. He said, “He is an idiot! Don’t be worried about him.”

But the king said, “You don’t understand. He may be an idiot – I’m not concerned with that – but he is a greater archer than me, that is certain. I would like to see him.”

A crowd gathered, seeing the king, and they all laughed and said, “It is pointless. He is really a fool.”

But the king could not understand how an idiot can manage such good shots, absolutely perfect, impeccable. He said, “Stop laughing and call the man!” A young man was brought to him; he looked stupid, retarded. The king was also puzzled. He asked the young man, “What is your secret?”

The young man said, “What secret?”

The king showed him that every arrow is exactly in the middle of a circle.

The young man started laughing. He said, “I cannot lie to you. The truth is, first I shoot the arrow and then I draw the circle. Naturally, one hundred percent… It does not matter where the arrow goes; wherever it goes, I make the circle later on. Everybody who passes through this village is struck by the great art. I remain quiet, I never say the truth to anybody, but you are the king and I cannot lie to you.”

This is really the situation of intellectuals. They are profound archers – but first they shoot the arrow and then they draw the target! Their work appears, to those who don’t know their way and their strategy, as perfect.

Osho, The Great Zen Master Ta Hui, Ch 14, (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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