To Enjoy the Moment ~ A Zen Tale


One day while walking through the wilderness a man stumbled upon a vicious tiger. He ran but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice.


As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine.

Suddenly, he noticed on the vine a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth. It was incredibly delicious!


Note: It's been claimed that D.T. Suzuki, the man who first brought attention to this story, changed the ending because he thought the original would not appeal to Westerners. In the original version, the strawberry turns out to be, in fact, deadly poison, which would indeed make the point of the story even stronger. But I have no idea if this is true or not. I think either version works well.

My friend @victorbz posted a funeral photo and included some of his thoughts. Go read his post. His musing, specifically towards the end of his post, reminded me of this tale.

So often we live in the past or the future. Constantly revisiting our failures and beating ourselves up over them, or constantly looking to tomorrow, to our hopes and dreams. But the past and the future aren't real, they are stories we tell ourselves. Now is the only real moment, the only moment we can touch and interact with and direct, and we waste it by ignoring it. Yesterday will never come again and tomorrow will never come at all (tomorrow is always tomorrow). But now—now is when we can live!

As Victor so aptly puts it in his post:

[L]ife is good, but it's good now, when it happening, not someday.


Hi thereDavid LaSpina is an American photographer and translator lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time and searching for the perfect haiku.

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