Like a noble horse, smart under the whip, burn and be swift.
Buddha was a prince before he became enlightened, and when he was a prince he really loved horses. He was a lover of horses. In those days, horses were the greatest support in war.
When he became enlightened he referred to horse many times, in many ways. He says there are four kinds of horses. First, the worst: even if you beat them, the more you beat, the more stubborn they become. They have no aristocracy, no grace, no dignity. You can insult them, you can whip them, you can beat them—they are very thick-skinned. If they don’t want to move, they will not move.
Then the second kind: if you beat them they will move; they have a little dignity, a sense of self-honor. Then the third kind, a little higher: you need not beat them—just the noise of the whip is enough. And the highest, the fourth: even the noise of the whip is not needed—only the shadow of the whip is enough.
Buddha says that people are also of four kinds. The highest, the most intelligent, the real seekers of truth, only need the shadow of the whip; just a little hint from the master is enough. Buddha says: A noble horse rarely feels the touch of the whip. There is no need for the noble horse to feel the touch of the whip—just the shadow.
Be like a noble horse—smart, aware, watchful.