Monday, February 01, 2016

By Example

Once, a gambler who had fallen on hard times visited a sage who lived in the forest. The gambler described their misfortune and asked the sage what to do. The sage said that much could be learned from observing animals and told the gambler that not far from where they sat lived a fox that had lost its legs. “Go and watch the fox,” counseled the sage. The gambler found where the fox lived and was curious to see how it managed to get by. Taking a position in a tree, the gambler waited and watched. After some time a tiger came walking amidst the trees with game in its jaws. The tiger walked towards the fox, dropped the meat, ate some, and then left the rest for the fox. The next day and the day after that the gambler witnessed the same thing, as the tiger brought its catch to the fox, ate its fill, and left the remainder for the fox.

The gambler now understood what the sage had been getting at and thought: clearly the fox is as unfortunate as I, so all I need do is to trust in the beneficence of the Divine who will provide me with all I need. So, for many days, the gambler sat in the forest awaiting the providence of the Divine but nothing happened. The sage came upon the gambler almost dead from lack of food and water. The sage understood what had happened and said, “Why do you follow the example of the fox and not that of the tiger?”

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