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in all the pain there is joy, you simply have to find it…

March 8th, 2002

A Zen Poem:

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 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 then saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.

How sweet it tasted.

— I think I have found the strawberry. —

4 Responses to “in all the pain there is joy, you simply have to find it…”

The english professors interpetation of the above passage:
As you can see, this is truely a writing about the evils of segregation and color. The villians, in this case the two mice, are distinctly mentioned to be black and white. They threaten the very existance of the man. But if the man ignored their influence on his life, he tasted of the true fruit of humanity.

Nice passage Beggs. Where did you find it?

Rebuttal to the English Professor:
I will have to disagree with the English Prof’s interpretation of the poem. I see nothing to do with race anywhere in the poem. Remembering that the poem is of Chinese origins — as a ancient Zen (of Chin [sp?], in China) poem it is easy to see that the black and white mice represent the eb and flow of the universe, good and bad, right and wrong, chance and destiny — in short yin and yang. I think it is interesting that an American unfamiliar with the passage would find a race commentary in the poem. I think another Zen saying would be appropriate here: the only thing at the top of the mountain is what you take with you.

I first ran across it in a book on Zen when I was a freshman, the book is in C’ville, so I looked it up on the net. thought it fitting in light of recent developments in my world… even if I detest strawberries! Yuck! but it’s a medephor!

::sigh:: And as the “English Prof” was suppose to miss the true importance of the peice, so did you miss my humor.

(I hate the over interpretation of writing too many English professors seem hell bent on doing. It’s like an art prof asking the student “what feeling does this convey” when all the student was really trying to do was paint a coffee cup.)

Ok numbnuts! I got the humor… I was trying to be sarcastic myself, while explaining the meaning of the poem… Ah, I guess my humor is too advanced for your inferior intellect!