How Sweet the Present Moment! - A Classic Zen Tale

"A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger.
He fled with the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice,
he lunged for 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 sustaining him.

"Two mice--one white and one black--little by little
started to gnaw away at the vine.

"Then, the man saw a luscious strawberry near him.
Grasping the vine with just one hand, he plucked the
strawberry with the other.

"How sweet it tasted!"

-from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, Paul Rep, Tuttle Publishing, 1957, 1985

Thanks to Jon Shelness, a member of the Des Moines Zen Center, for sending this quote from Paul Rep's book of classic Zen stories. See for details about its Wednesday and Sunday sittings, or click on the "Sitting Groups" handout listed on the right for more information about meditation groups in the Des Moines area. Peace, Charlie