Three Kings

Underneath the emerald boughs
of a cypress tree,
three men stood
over a vat
of vinegar.

The first man reached for the ladle,
and poured himself
a cup.
He took a sip,
and his face curled
into a visage most foul.
“This vinegar tastes sour!”
the man proclaimed.
This man was Confucius
and his tasting of the vinegar
led him to see life as sour,
in need of rules to regulate
the inherent wickedness
of mankind.

The second man lifted the ladle
and gently poured himself
a cup.
He took a sip,
and his face tightened
as if he had eaten
a spoonful of saffron.
“This vinegar tastes bitter!”
the man proclaimed.
This man was Buddha
and his tasting of the vinegar
led him to see life as bitter,
infused with unavoidable pain
and suffering.

The third man,
seeing the expressions of the two before,
cautiously lifts the ladle
and pours himself a cup.
He took a sip,
and a great smile beams from his face.
“This vinegar tastes sweet!”
the man proclaimed.
This man was Laozi,
and his tasting of the vinegar
led him to see life as sweet,
intrinsically good
when experienced in its natural state
and is true
to its nature.

These three men
went on to create
three philosophical pillars;
Confucianism,
Buddhism,
and Daoism.

Suppose you, too,
were to lift the ladle.
What would vinegar taste like
to you?

~LT

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3 thoughts on “Three Kings

    1. Ah, but you see, you expect it to taste a certain way. When we remove our expectations and simply experience whatever it is we are experiencing, then we are experiencing it for what it truly is without allowing our own expectations to altar our perception of it. Fish and chips sounds pretty good, though 😊

      Like

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