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Some time ago I bought a book called Zen Flesh Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings and one of the stories there (“The Tunnel”) best illustrates the success lesson we’re about to learn here:
Once upon a time, a samurai’s son named Zenkai became the retainer of an official. Unfortunately, he fell in love with that official’s wife and, when he was discovered, Zenkai killed the official in self-defence. He then ran away with the woman and they both became thieves to survive. After a while, however, Zenkai grew disgusted by the woman’s greed and so he left her and he became a beggar at Buzen province.
To atone for his past misdeeds, he wanted to do something good before he died. When he found out about a dangerous road in a valley where many travelers died, he decided to carve a tunnel through the stone mountain. Begging for food during the day, he did his work every night.