Once there was a student studying under a great teacher; but the teacher always insisted that the student must practice his breathing in order to meditate properly.
"Who cannot learn the little things cannot learn the great things," he said.
Every day, from the first moment of teaching to the last, the teacher made the student practice his breathing. This went on for many months. Finally the student went to the teacher to complain.
"Teacher," he said, "I am tired with this breathing in and out. It is so boring. I think it is time for me to learn something that is actually interesting for a change."
The teacher reflected a moment, then nodded. "Sometimes, perhaps, it is necessary to learn something interesting. Come with me to the river."
They went out the river. The teacher than grabbed the student by his neck and held his head under water while the student struggled. Finally, when it seemed as if the student might drown, he let him back up, gasping and sputtering and choking for air.
"There! Isn't breathing in and out interesting for a change?" asked the teacher. "Now, practice your breathing."