Enjoying the honey in the midst of adversity

This is the fourth tale in a series of classic old stories I am posting throughout December, told pretty much as they have been for generations.


Many years ago,  a wise man encountered a hungry tiger while walking through the jungle back to his village. The man immediately began to run and the tiger gave chase.

After a few steps, he recalled a dried up well which was quite fortunately just a few steps further down the path.  He sprinted for the well and quickly dived into it.

However, as he was falling downward he heard a hiss.  Alarmed he quickly reached out a hand and grabbed at the sides of the well.  Luckily his had caught an overgrowing root and he was able to stop his fall.

He looked downwards and saw a huge hungry snake at the bottom of the dried up well. He looked up and saw the tiger peering over the edge of the well.  He hung for a minute or two before his situation got worse.  A small rat appeared from a hole in the wall of the well and it began to chew at the root.

The root soon began to fray.

Meanwhile, the tiger was reaching into the well.  In doing so, its feet were pushing against a nearby tree for purchase. causing it to sway.  The swaying motion of the tree caused a drop of honey to fall down the well from an overhanging bee hive.

The snake continued to hiss, the tiger continued to push, the mouse kept chewing through the root, the tree kept swaying and the beehive kept dripping honey into the well.

The man extended his tongue and caught some honey.

mmmm, honey”, he thought.


Life can throw us so much adversity.   Can you still enjoy the drops of honey that fall even during adversity?

Enter Zen from there; A simple Zen story of how to find peace

A learning student of Zen practice was out for a stroll with a more experienced teacher. They walked through the mountains near their accommodation.  Majestic views, a cool evening, everything so calm, truly a blissful environment to walk.

After some time the student said to his friend, “I am trying to find Zen* but I keep thinking about where best to begin and how to do it”.

They continue walking for a few minutes. The student, lost now in further worry, begins to think his friend might not have heard the remark.  He opens his mouth to speak again when his teacher comments. “Do you hear the steam? Enter Zen from there.”

The student listens for a minute or two, paying attention until he eventually hears the sound of a distant stream.  “Satori”** He realised something he could not express.

They continue walking and for the first time the student experiences all there is around him.  After some time however, his mind intrudes upon this peace.  He asks his teacher, “What would you have said if I could not hear the stream? If I heard or saw something else?” 

His teacher responds, “Enter Zen from there.”


We can choose to enter mindful alertness and find peace at any time using anything. I find myself guilty of demanding the ‘right’ circumstances sometimes.  But, we can instead just choose to be alert and alive to the unfolding moments.  Don’t let the mind make excuses or conjure layers of complexity.

We can enter Zen from anywhere!


*Zen – Something words cannot describe, but perhaps the state of completeness with the universe, mindfulness, alertness, presence.

**Satori – A sudden realisation or enlightenment.

zenmountainquote