A Zen master made a habit at noontime to meditate while he walked in the gardens of the temple. On this particular day he became so engrossed in his meditation that he wondered far into the jungle, where he met hungry tiger. Well, our Zen master did what any Zen master would do, which is to attend to the urgency of the moment. He fled as fast as he could with the hungry tiger in pursuit. Soon he came to the edge of a sheer cliff, but with a hungry tiger about to eat him, he jumped over the edge. On the way down he grabbed the only thing jutting out from the cliff, a small tree. There he hung on as he heard the roar from below. Now, there was a tiger above and a hungry tiger below. Just then the small tree began to pull out of the ground. He looked to his right. Nothing. He looked below. Nothing. He looked to his left. A beautiful strawberry. He picked the strawberry, and it was the best fruit he’d eaten in his life.
To make matters worse, it seems that the Zen master, when confronting the tigers, was actually hanging from a small apple tree while mice were digging away the light soil that the tree was rooted in. Another tiger runs onto the scene, and now there are two tigers above. The Zen master enjoys his apple, and pretty soon he sees vultures circling overhead. The two tigers have bought and killed each other. The mice see the shadow of the vultures and flee. Below a herd of deer comes down to drink from the brook, and the tiger below sets off in pursuit of them. In short, what seemed like a dire circumstances fixed themselves.
This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life. We are not here merely to make a living. We are here in order to enable the world to live more fully, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. We are here to enrich the world and we impoverish ourselves if we forget the errand