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This is from "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones", a wonderful collection of zen mantras and stories:



Buddha told a parable in a 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!
A PARABLE.

I PICKED a rustic nosegay lately,
And bore it homewards, musing greatly;
When, heated by my hand, I found
The heads all drooping tow'rd the ground.
I plac'd them in a well-cool'd glass,
And what a wonder came to pass
The heads soon raised themselves once more.
The stalks were blooming as before,
And all were in as good a case
As when they left their native place.

* * * *

So felt I, when I wond'ring heard
My song to foreign tongues transferr'd.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1828.

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