Zen and the Art of Pitching Horseshoes
by Jim Atwell

One time there was an "A" pitcher that whenever someone asked him what the meaning of life was, he would simply hold up his horseshoes and not say a word. One day he noticed a spectator ask a beginner what the purpose of life was and the beginner simply held up his horseshoes like the "A" pitcher. When the beginner finished pitching and laid his horseshoes down, the "A" pitcher hid them. He then asked the beginner what the purpose of life was. When the beginner reached for his horseshoes and couldn’t find them, he was enlightened.

At a tournament, a beginner asked an "A" pitcher what the secret to pitching horseshoes was. The "A" pitcher told him to wait until everyone has left and he would tell him. Later, the beginner said to the "A" pitcher, everyone has left now and you promised to tell me the secret to pitching horseshoes. The "A" pitcher said yes I did and walked out on the court. He pointed to two shoes and said, "What a fine one that is, what a short one that is, that one is a ringer, that one is not," and the beginner was enlightened.

Horseshoes weigh approximately 2 1/2 lbs., the stakes are 40 feet apart and a ringer is a horseshoe that encircles the stake.
If you understand this, you will understand yourself.

In all ten directions of the universe,
there is only one horseshoe in your right hand.

The mind of a horseshoe pitcher is like a ringer.

Ringers are perfect as they are.

See every horseshoe tournament as an illusion.

Every horseshoe will land exactly where the pitcher wants it to land.

Flow with the game and let your mind be free.

The wise horseshoe pitcher plays his own game and does not compete against his opponent.

To pitch horseshoes and throw a ringer are one and the same.

It is not necessary to try, just pitch horseshoes.

Ringers that were never thrown can never be found.

The fish swims, there is no end to the water.
The bird flies, there is no end to the sky.
The horseshoe pitcher pitches, there is no end to ringers.

Ringers depart when we hate to lose them.

No amount of words can describe the feeling of throwing your first ringer.

He who knows that enough ringers is enough will always pitch enough ringers.

Are you able to pitch horseshoes and not throw a ringer?

Horseshoes cannot be swallowed and cannot be spit out.

Stay centered by accepting that your ringer percentage is perfect.

Sometimes the best horseshoe pitchers do not pitch horseshoes.

The quieter you become the more you are able to hear your ringers.

Knowing how to pitch horseshoes is a delusion.

Run tournaments, pitch horseshoes, and mail in the results.

The horseshoe pitcher that does not pitch in tournaments, does not lose any games.

Pursue the tournament, and you lose the game.

Allegiance to horseshoe pitching implies denial of how ridiculous it is.

If you pitch horseshoes, just pitch horseshoes.
If you keep score, just keep score.
Whatever you do, don’t leave until the last shoe is thrown.

If you seek ringers you cannot find them.

Die pitching horseshoes.
Die not pitching horseshoes.
Either Way, you are going to die.

Rice in the bowl, water in the bucket, ringers on the stake.

A good horseshoe pitcher leaves no ringers.

Taking a photograph of each ringer will not give you a picture of the tournament.

Tournaments come and go, but a ringer is always a ringer.

When the horseshoe courts are empty, everything appears as it is.

All ringers are perfect, just as they are.

Our thinking gets in the way of our ringers.

The horseshoe court has no mind to receive the ringer on the stake.

To see your perfect pitch in your mind and then throw it, is to become Buddha.

In the midst of all good and evil, ringers are thrown on the stake.

Test stakes with ringers.

A good horseshoe pitcher throws the same in a tournament as he does alone.

To understand horseshoe pitching takes time.

The ringers are always there.

A game begins with the first pitch.
A perfect game begins with the first ringer.

The spectators will laugh, but the horseshoe pitchers will understand.

Not til you abandon all thoughts of becoming a State Champion will you be on the right road to the State Championship.

To become a horseshoe pitcher, we must scatter life’s aims and objects to the wind.

Learn to see only the stake.

To lose yourself is to find horseshoe pitching.
To forget oneself is to become a horseshoe pitcher.

Everything becomes horseshoe pitching.

The world is just one big horseshoe court.
Life is just one big horseshoe tournament.

To find the stake, you must close your eyes and pitch in the dark.

Horseshoe pitchers can not stay away from the horseshoe courts.

Winning horseshoe tournaments creates illusion.

Every single thing is just one big horseshoe tournament.

The spectators reject what they see;
The horseshoe pitchers reject what they think.

The State Championship does not care how you get there.

The ringer can not see itself turn.

All the horseshoe pitching is the cause of all the horseshoe pitching.

He who conquers his ringer percentage is mighty.

We can only know how to pitch horseshoes.

Pitching at 40 feet when your opponent pitches at 30 feet gives you the advantage.

The more you leave the horseshoe courts,
The less you leave the horseshoe courts.

The way consists of simply pitching horseshoes.

If you pitch horseshoes with a person long enough,
They will tell you everything they know.