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Eat the Strawberry, acrylic painting

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Size: 20"x16"x1/2"

Based on a Buddhist story about a monk being chased by a tiger, who nearly falls off a cliff, saved by a branch, he then notices a mouse chewing at the base of the branch.  He looks down knowing his demise is near, he then notices a strawberry growing near.  What to do? Eat the strawberry.  Equanimity.

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The Tiger and the Strawberry

The following ancient story- known as a “Koan”- from the Zen Buddhist faith tradition offers a useful insight into 2020.

Once upon a time, as a man was walking through a forest, he saw a tiger peering out at him from the underbrush. As the man turned to run, he heard the tiger spring after him to give chase.

Barely ahead of the tiger, running for his life, our hero came to the edge of a steep cliff. Clinging onto a strong vine, the man climbed over the cliff edge just as the tiger was about to pounce.

Hanging over the side of the cliff, with the hungry tiger pacing above him, the man looked down and was dismayed to see another tiger, stalking the ravine far below. Just then, a tiny mouse darted out from a crack in the cliff face above him and began to gnaw at the vine.

At that precise moment, the man noticed a patch of wild strawberries growing from a clump of earth near where he dangled. Reaching out, he plucked one. It was plump, and perfectly ripe; warmed by the sunshine.

He popped the strawberry into his mouth. It was perfectly delicious. The End.

Eat the Stawberry

Inspired by the story of  The Monk, the Tiger and the Strawberry" as told by  Michael Hoffman One afternoon a devoted monk walked along a bubbling brook deep in the forest. He gathered water there every day. When he knelt to dip his bucket in the water, he heard the bushes rustle behind him. He turned and saw a huge tiger staring at him and licking his hungry lips.

The monk jumped up, dropped his bucket and fled. The tiger leapt after him. The monk ran deeper into the forest than he had ever gone before. He kept running. The tiger kept chasing.

The thick foliage ended at a steep cliff. The monk stopped short and looked over the edge. He saw sharp rocks hundreds of feet below. If he jumped, he would die.

The tiger began to pounce. The monk thought dying on the rocks below was better than being eaten alive. He jumped. He grabbed desperately at vines and roots on the cliff wall to slow his fall. He caught hold of a thick vine, gripped hard and stopped his fall. He looked up at the growling tiger above. He looked down at the rocks below.

At that moment, the monk saw a plump red strawberry hanging on the vine. He forgot the tiger and the rocks. He plucked the strawberry and popped it into his mouth. He bit down slowly and savored the delicious sweetness.

“This is the most delicious strawberry I have ever eaten,” the monk thought.

1 Medium

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2 Size

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4 Frame

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Eat the Stawberry

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