The Tiger and the Strawberry
I am puzzled by Canada. It’s where I was born and raised but I no longer understand it. This nation of peace and abundance and stunning natural beauty has somehow turned into a depressing place. I look outside and see lakes and mountains and summer flowers, but inside the TV continuously blares out the latest wars and acts of terror and murders and sex crimes and missing children and diseases that we are all probably going to get and foods that will likely poison us and insects that we must not be bitten by and stories of fallen heroes and hatred and fear and greed and filth and poverty and drugs and misery and alienation and ugliness. Apparently, it is not a priority to promote enjoyment of the lakes and mountains and summer flowers and I find that very sad. When did we become so willing to immerse ourselves in the fears and problems of others?
Why can’t we focus on life rather than death? On beauty rather than ugliness? On the strawberry rather than the tiger? Happiness is important, as pointed out in this story that was told by the Buddha:
“A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He ran but the tiger followed 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 at the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How delicious it tasted!”
I love that story! Each and every one of us is being chased by the tiger. There is no escape. But rather than living in fear and worry, why not enjoy the strawberry…