t happened once, a Zen samurai, a Zen warrior, had come home early from the front and he found his servant making love to his wife. Being a man of Zen, he said to the servant, “Don’t be worried, just finish your job. I am waiting outside. You will have to take a sword in your hand and fight with me. It is perfectly okay whatever is happening. I am waiting outside.”
This poor servant started trembling. He does not even know how to hold a sword, and his master is a famous warrior: he will chop off his head in a single blow. So he ran out from the back door to the Zen master who was also the warrior’s master. He said to the master, “I have got into trouble. It is all my fault, but it has happened.”
The master listened to his story and he said, “There is no need to be worried. I will teach you how to hold the sword, and I will also tell you that it does not matter that your master is a great warrior. All that matters is spontaneity. And in spontaneity you will be the better because he seems to be confident: “There is no question of his servant surviving. It will be almost like a cat playing with a rat.” So don’t be worried. Be total and hit him hard because this is your only chance of living, survival. So don’t be halfhearted, don’t be conditional, thinking that perhaps he may forgive you. He will never forgive you – you will have to fight with him. You have provoked and challenged him. But there is no problem: as far as I can see, you will end up the winner.”
The servant could not believe it and the master said, “You should understand that I am his master also, and I know that he will behave according to his training. Knowing perfectly well that he is going to win, he cannot be unconditional – and you have no other alternative than to be unconditional. Just be total. You don’t know where to hit, how to hit, so hit anywhere. Just go crazy!”
The servant said, “If you say so, I will do it. In fact there is no chance of my survival, so why not do it totally!”
Seeing that the time had come, he learned how to hold the sword, and he came back and challenged his master, “Now come on!”
The samurai could not believe it. He was thinking the servant would fall at his feet and cry and weep and say, “Just forgive me!” But instead of that the servant roared like a lion, and he had got a sword from the Zen master! The samurai recognized the sword and he asked, “From where did you get it?”
The servant said, “From your master. Now come, let it be decided once and for all. Either I will survive or you will survive, but both cannot.” The samurai felt a little tremble in his heart, but still he thought, “How can he manage? It is year’s training… I have been fighting for years in wars, and this poor servant…” But he had to take out his sword.
The servant went really crazy. Not knowing where to hit, he was hitting here and there and just… The samurai was at a loss because he could fight with any warrior who knew how to fight – but this man knew nothing and he was doing all kinds of things! The servant pushed him to the wall and the samurai had to ask him, “Please forgive me. You will kill me. You don’t know how to fight – what are you doing?
The servant said, “It is not a question of doing. It is my last moment; I will do everything with totality.”
The servant was the winner and the warrior went to the master and said, “What miracle have you done? Within five minutes he became such a great warrior, and he was making such blows, so stupid that he could have killed me. He knows nothing but he could have killed me. He pushed me to the wall of my house, his sword on my chest. I had to ask to be forgiven and tell him that whatever he is doing it is perfectly okay and to continue.”
The master said, “You have to learn a lesson, that it is finally the totality, the unconditional absoluteness… Whether it brings defeat or victory does not matter. What matters is that the man was total, and the total man never is defeated. His totality is his victory.