Taro was a young man who lived in a small village in Japan. He was fascinated by Zen and decided to seek out a Zen master to teach him.
After traveling for many days, Taro finally found a master who agreed to take him on as a student. The master lived in a small temple at the top of a mountain, and Taro was instructed to climb the mountain every day to receive his lessons.
At first, Taro was eager and enthusiastic about his studies. He would climb the mountain each day with great energy and anticipation. But as time went on, he began to feel tired and discouraged. The climb became more difficult, and he found himself questioning whether he had what it takes to become a Zen master.
One day, Taro came to the master with his doubts and said, "Master, I am tired and I am not sure if I am cut out for this. Perhaps I should go home."
The master listened patiently and then said, "Taro, do you see that large boulder outside the temple?"
Taro looked outside and saw a huge boulder, almost as tall as the temple itself.
The master continued, "Every day, I want you to move that boulder to the other side of the mountain. It may take you a year, or even longer, but you must not give up until it is done."
Taro was shocked. He couldn't believe that the master was asking him to move such a massive rock. But he didn't want to disappoint his master, so he began to work on the task each day.
Months went by, and Taro slowly began to see progress. At first, he could only move the rock a few inches. But as he worked at it day after day, he became stronger and more determined. Eventually, he was able to move the boulder a few feet.
One day, as Taro was resting after a hard day's work, he looked out at the boulder and realized something profound. He had been so focused on moving the boulder that he had forgotten about his doubts and fears. He had become so consumed by the task at hand that he had found inner peace and clarity.
Taro went to the master and told him of his realization. The master smiled and said, "Taro, the boulder was not the task. The task was to find the strength and determination within yourself to keep going, even when the task seemed impossible. You have learned an important lesson about Zen today."
And with that, Taro understood that true Zen was not about achieving some external goal, but about finding inner strength and peace within oneself.