The Sweetness!

A Zen parable:

A man traveling across a field, notices he is being chased by a tiger.  The man flees, and runs till he comes to the edge of a cliff.  Fearing for his life, he grabs hold of the root of a vine, and flings himself over the edge.  Hanging there, trembling, he can hear the tiger sniffing at him from above.  Looking down, he sees yet another tiger staring up at him from the bottom of the precipice.  Only the vine sustains him.

Two mice, one black, one white, begin to gnaw at the vine.  Glancing to one side, the man notices a luscious strawberry growing on a separate vine nearby.  He lets go of the vine he is holding with one hand, and stretches for the strawberry.  Reaching it, he puts it in his mouth. How sweet it is!

As I am sure you are figuring out, the man on the vine is each of us.  His predicament embodies life itself.  We are all, metaphorically, suspended in this space between birth and death, between past and future.  Turning back is not an option, and death is ultimately waiting there for all of us.  We can try and hold on, try and delay, but the vine will surely give way at some point. The black and white mice will make sure of it.  But even here, trapped in this absurd and precarious situation, can we find the very sweetness of life.  Indeed, the present moment is all we have. You can spend your time fretting, or you can look for the strawberry.  No one said life was easy.  Not even the Zen masters. We are born to die, and the time in between is filled with struggle, but even in the struggle, perhaps even because of the struggle, there is this sweetness. This blog is dedicated to that wild strawberry on the vine. 


Popular Posts