To the vast majority of our readers (22 and counting) this post will mean nothing – and I mean nothing, not "No Thing", which is zen-speak for letting go of all pointless, ultimately painful preoccupations with the fleeting material world.

However, as someone who had my existential cage rattled today, I feel the need to share an oft-shared zen parable, attributed to the Buddha, but possibly apocryphal:

"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."

There it is, that rarest of zen parables – one whose meaning is easily understandable on the face of it: you never know when the vine’s gonna snap, so get the strawberry while the gettin’s good.

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