How one man learned to concentrate

A warlord once stopped at a monastery on his way home from a successful military campaign to visit the abbot who was an old teacher of his. As the abbot and the warlord sat in the courtyard pleasantly chatting and drinking tea, they were distracted by an argument between a novice and a senior monk. The novice was complaining that the meditation technique given him by the senior monk was ineffective and worthless.

“It cannot teach me how to concentrate much less meditate,” shouted the novice. “Give me a more reliable
technique.”

Observing that the argument was distressing his old master, the warlord stood and said, “Please, Master, allow me to help this young man.” When the master nodded his assent, the warlord summoned six of his archers. The warlord then filled his teacup to the brim and carefully handed it to the novice.

“Take this cup of tea,” he ordered, “and without spilling a single drop, carry it around the entire periphery of this courtyard.”

As the novice took the cup the warlord commanded his archers, “Follow him! If he spills a single drop, shoot him!” The archers drew their bows and began to walk beside the novice who, in the next twenty minutes, learned how to concentrate.