The Master and the Bull



As the master sat atop the mountain, he was contemplating how wonderful and beautiful the world is when his thoughts were interrupted by the agonised cry of a bull in obvious distress. The master raised himself from his meditations and went forth to investigate whence this excruciating sound was coming.

As he descended the pathway, he saw that a bull had become stuck in a mire of mud and was unable to move. It had become so exhausted from its struggles that it was now in a state of great anguish. Now, the master carried with him no ropes or apparatus to help the bull out of the mire, so he merely walked into the mud and whispered into the bull’s ear. Suddenly, the bull lifted up its legs, marched straight out of the mire and pranced joyfully along the pathway back to its paddock.

A passer-by was watching this activity with much amazement and with mouth agape in astonishment. He approached the master and asked him what he had said to enable the bull to release itself from its predicament.

It was simple,’ stated the master, ‘I merely reminded the bull that if he didn’t stop his fussing and focus his energies on lifting his legs out of the mire, the next door neighbour’s bull would be servicing all his cows from then on.’

Then, as the master walked back to his mountaintop after helping the bull from its dilemma, he noticed the gentle breeze that was caressing his face and he felt much at peace with the universe. As he strolled, a bird came along and perched itself upon the master’s shoulder.

As he smiled at his unexpected passenger, the bird whispered a thank you in the master’s ear. To which the master replied, ‘When I heard the bull’s cry I understood that I had a choice. I could have stayed sitting in meditation enjoying myself or I could go and render assistance if I was able.’

The bird then replied, ‘How did you know that you could help the bull from its predicament?’

To which the master replied, ‘If I could not have helped the bull, I would not have heard its lamenting.’




By Stephen Chong M.Ed.

Excerpt from The Music of the Soul: A pathway to a rich and fulfilling life, 2011, p.59-61, Sid Harta Publishers Pty Ltd