zen tales: the strawberry story

skipping further along the path of storytelling, here is one of my favourite zen tales:

a man walking alone in the wild suddenly finds himself chased by a tiger. he starts to run but soon arrives at the edge of a cliff. with no way out, he jumps and, luckily, manages to grasp a vine. the abyss yawns under him, the tiger threatens him from above. two mice, one white, one black, appear from a crevice and start gnawing at the vine. as the vine grows thinner and thinner, the man notices a plump fresh strawberry. he plucks it. how delicious it tastes!

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

5 thoughts on “zen tales: the strawberry story

  1. Pingback: writing our own story » change therapy - isabella mori

  2. Pingback: writing our own story » change therapy - isabella mori

  3. Victoria

    I much prefer your delicious strawberry to the poisonous one. Perhaps because, as a counselor, I’m always telling my clients that, even in the most dire of circumstances, we can always find something sweet to carry us through. 🙂

    I found your web site two days ago and am enjoying it immensely!

    Victoria

  4. Victoria

    I much prefer your delicious strawberry to the poisonous one. Perhaps because, as a counselor, I’m always telling my clients that, even in the most dire of circumstances, we can always find something sweet to carry us through. 🙂

    I found your web site two days ago and am enjoying it immensely!

    Victoria

  5. isabella mori

    hi victoria

    thanks for your comment!

    well, we all prefer the delicious strawberry, don’t we? supposedly, d.t. suzuki felt that the “poisonous” ending was too harsh for western minds and so left it out.

    i think the teaching here is that ultimately, our preferences (or avoiding pain and seeking pleasure) is what gets us into trouble. rather than walking the middle way of, we’re always running away from pain and running after pleasure, and usually we’re doing both at the same time 🙂

    however, all of this requires a willingness to accept life, to a degree that is near incomprehensible to us here in the west. we need the reward of the strawberry. and that’s fine with me. i’d be most happy to help get my clients and myself to a point where, chased by tigers, we could happily munch on a strawberry, untroubled by what the next moment might bring.

  6. isabella mori

    hi victoria

    thanks for your comment!

    well, we all prefer the delicious strawberry, don’t we? supposedly, d.t. suzuki felt that the “poisonous” ending was too harsh for western minds and so left it out.

    i think the teaching here is that ultimately, our preferences (or avoiding pain and seeking pleasure) is what gets us into trouble. rather than walking the middle way of, we’re always running away from pain and running after pleasure, and usually we’re doing both at the same time 🙂

    however, all of this requires a willingness to accept life, to a degree that is near incomprehensible to us here in the west. we need the reward of the strawberry. and that’s fine with me. i’d be most happy to help get my clients and myself to a point where, chased by tigers, we could happily munch on a strawberry, untroubled by what the next moment might bring.

  7. Paul

    I always viewed this a little differently. I felt that what it was saying was that in certain circumstances, you can only do what you can do at that given point in time, and that as such, you may as well do them.

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