Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Parable

Buddha told a parable in sutra:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

My take on this parable:

Do not take life for granted. Enjoy every minute of it, for that minute may be your last.

What do you think the moral of this koan is?


Castor said...

Obviously, the man is very afraid, almost frozen to death.
But this man unlike the rest of us, is not afraid of fear itself, so he still could do something inspite of it. And obviously in such a very death-defying situation, where he has no choice, he'd do the most natural thing.
The lesson: do not be afraid of being afraid.

Sophia said...

Hi Castor,

That's a nice moral to go with the story. This is similar to a discussion that you and I had a few days ago about fear, and how it protects us. If we're afraid of being afraid, we try to put our fears on the backburner, ignoring them, when instead we should be confronting them.

TreeBeard said...

Hello Stacey,

I am glad to see you are back.

When I did not see you for a while I went back and read your earliest poems on IB. I had never seen them before. They are very nice and I saved them on my hard drive.

Although I suspect that koans are not meant to be answered, at least not with words, the thought I had was "stop running and accept this moment". It was a good reminder for me. Thanks,

ps I like your new blog.

pps Don't neglect your poetry talents.

Sophia said...

Hi TreeBeard,

Thanks for your message. I'm glad you found your way over here. :) I may be able to pull-off a haiku or two, but for the most part I think my poetry talent has been lost. I seem to suffer from writer's block. :(

Do you have a blog?


TreeBeard said...

Don't you recognize your old friend Treebeard the Ent? AKA Mark.
Sorry, still no content on the blogger blog. I have to get busy on that.

Sophia said...

You took on a new name, Mark1 from CA. :)

Yes you should get busy on your blogger blog!

Aaron said...

Hey Stacey, glad to see you haven't dropped off the face of the planet!

Anyway, I think the parable is about doing your best and making the most of things within whatever constraints you happen to find yourself. Now, if it were me, I would have grabbed the mice and tossed one of them to the tiger up above, and the other to the tiger down below. :-)

Sophia said...

Hi Aaron,

I'm so glad to see you here!

I don't know. I really like strawberries. It would be hard for me to avoid plucking the strawberry and eating it, even in the face of death!

Aaron said...

But there will be plenty of time for strawberries after you take care of those mice that are trying to kill you!

Sophia said...

I don't think I could kill two cute little mice!