The Gates of Paradise

A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?”

“Who are you?” inquired Hakuin. “I am a samurai,” the warrior replied.

“You, a soldier!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar.”

Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.”

As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!”

At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.

“Here open the gates of paradise,” said Hakuin.

Just like Hakuin, your manager, your editor, your peers will say many things about your document, your writing style, your inability to understand or express.

The moment you allow anger to enter your head, you open the gates of hell. Anger will destroy you and whatever you have created. Never allow it to come in between you and your work.

Like Nobushige, accept criticism with humility. And you will open the gates of paradise. Ask your manager, how you can improve; your editor, how you can write better; read, read, read and write, write and write. There is no replacement for practice.

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