THE SALT ANT AND THE SUGAR ANT

Once there were two ants. One lived in a sack of salt while the other in a sack of sugar. The sugar ant once visited her neighbour and tasted the salt in her sack.. 

Finding it bitter she said, “Do come a visit my house. I’m sure you’ll find the food there much to your liking.” 

The salt-fed ant accepted her neighbour’s invitation but being naturally cautious and not wanting to run short of food she took a grain of salt with her in her mouth.

When she ate the sugar she said, “Frankly I don’t know what you’re talking about. Your food tastes much like mine.”

The sugar fed ant replied, “Perhaps that’s because you’re hounding on to something of your own. Get rid of that and I’m sure you’ll notice the difference.” 

The salt fed ant cleaned out her mouth, tasted the sugar and never returned to the sack of salt.

Source: samathavipassana.org

CONSIDER THIS

Are you clinging to a thing, an event, an experience or a person in such a way that the disordinate attachment is blocking you from seeing and tasting the sweetness of fresh and new gifts awaiting to be acknowledged and embraced with a gentle and relaxed grasp?

THE DONKEY AND THE LOAD OF SALT

A merchant who owned a donkey heard that salt was cheaper by the seashore, so he decided to go into the salt business. He went and loaded his donkey with salt and then headed back home. At a certain moment, the donkey accidentally lost his footing and fell straight into a stream. This caused the salt to dissolve, making his load lighter. The donkey was thus able to rise easily to his feet and enjoy a less taxing journey home. The merchant sold what was left of the salt and led the donkey back again to load him with an even greater cargo than before. As the donkey made his way with difficulty back to the stream where he had fallen before, he sank to his knees on purpose this time. Then, after his cargo had dissolved in the water, he leaped nimbly to his feet, delighted to have turned the situation to his advantage, or so he thought. The merchant realized what was happening and decided that the next time he would bring back home a big load of porous sponges. On their way back across the stream, the wicked donkey fell down on purpose as before. This time the sponges grew heavy with water and the cargo expanded. As a result, the donkey had to carry a burden that was twice as heavy as it had been to begin with.

Source |  Aesop’s Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs.
(Oxford University Press, 2002) page 78

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Here’s a slightly different version

A Salt Merchant drove his Donkey to the seashore to buy salt. His road home lay across a stream into which his Donkey tripped and fell by accident. When the Donkey got out of the water, his load considerably lighter, as the water melted the salt in the sack.

The Merchant went back to the market by the seashore and refilled his bags with a larger quantity of salt than before. When he came again to the stream, the Donkey fell down on purpose in the same spot, and, regaining his feet with the weight of his load much diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he had obtained what he desired.

The Merchant saw through this trick and drove the Donkey for the third time to the coast, where he bought a cargo of sponges instead of salt. The Donkey, again playing the fool, fell down on purpose when he reached the stream, but the sponges became swollen with water, greatly increasing his load. Thus his trick recoiled on him, for he now carried on his back a double burden.

CONSIDER THIS

It often happens that the same things which brought us luck can also get us into trouble.

BECOME A LAKE

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. “How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter” spit the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” “Fresh,” remarked the apprentice. “Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. “No,” said the young man.

At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things …. stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

Source | A Hindu parable as told by
Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening
(Conari Press, 2011) pages 17-18

CONSIDER THIS

“The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.” | Wayne Muller

 

A DOLL OF SALT

A doll of salt, after a long pilgrimage on dry land, came to the sea and discovered something she had never seen and could not possibly understand.  She stood on the firm ground, a solid little doll of salt, and saw there was another ground that was mobile, insecure, noisy, strange and unknown.  She asked the sea, “But what are you?” and it said, “I am the sea.”  And the doll said, “What is the sea?” to which the answer was, “It is me.”  Then the doll said, “I cannot understand, but I want to; how can I?”  The sea answered, “Touch me.”  So the doll shyly put forward a foot and touched the water and she got a strange impression that it was something that began to be knowable.  She withdrew her leg, looked and saw that her toes had gone, and she was afraid and said, “Oh, but where is my toe, what have you done to me?”  And the sea said, “You have given something in order to understand.”  Gradually the water took away small bits of the doll’s salt and the doll went farther and farther into the sea and at every moment she had a sense of understanding more and more, and yet of not being able to say what the sea was.  As she went deeper, she melted more and more, repeating: “But what is the sea?”  At last a wave dissolved the rest of her and the doll said: “It is I!”

Source | Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, Living Prayer ,
(Darton Longman and Todd, 19 66) pages 105-106

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a slightly different rendition

A salt doll journeyed for thousands of miles over land, until it finally came to the sea.

It was fascinated by this strange moving mass, quite unlike anything it had ever seen before.

“Who are you?” said the salt doll to the sea.

The sea smilingly replied, “Come in and see.”

So the doll waded in.

The farther it walked into the sea the more it dissolved, until there was only very little of it left. Before that last bit dissolved, the doll exclaimed in wonder, “Now I know what I am!”

Source | Anthony De Mello, Song of the Bird
(Image Books, 1984), page 98

CONSIDER THIS

  • I have been crucified with Christ;  and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.Galatians 2:19-20
  • What is it that you need to give and what is it that you need to receive for a better understanding of who you really are?
  • What do you think is the relationship between you and the other, you and the rest of creation, you and the Other?