the tiger’s whisker

The tiger’s whisker

Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit’s end. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate.

As Yun Ok approached the hermit’s hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: “I hear you. What’s your problem?”

She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, “Ah yes, it’s often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?”

“Make me a potion!” cried the young wife. “Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be.”

The old man turned around. “Young woman, your request doesn’t exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection.”

“I know”, said she.

“It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then.”

Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit’s hut. “Yun Ok”, he greeted her with a smile, “I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger.”

“What?” she gasped. “Such a thing is impossible!”

“I cannot make the potion without it!” he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. “There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I’m very busy.”

That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger – and not a smaller mountain creature – had been eating her food. Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger’s head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she’d have to come closer to it).

Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

“Actually”, she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, “it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it.” The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: “Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?” While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit’s hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: “I have it! I have the tiger’s whisker!”

“You don’t say?” he said, turning around. “From a live tiger?”

“Yes!” she said.

“Tell me”, said the hermit, interested. “How did you do it?”

Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.

“Yun Ok”, the hermit said softly, “you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?”

Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.

 

Source: Korean fable

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have a zen-filled day

(~_~)

using your wits

There was a dense forest on the sides of a mountain. Many kinds of animals lived in the forest. A deer was eating grass and leaves with her two young ones. The young ones wandered happily here and there. The deer followed her fawns. The young ones entered a cave. The deer was frightened. It was a tiger’s cave. There were bones of dead animals all over the cave. Fortunately, the tiger was not inside the cave at the time.

The deer was trying to lead her young ones out of the cave. AT that time she heard a loud roar. She saw the tiger at a distance. The tiger was coming towards the cave. It was dangerous to go out of the cave now. She thought of a plan. The tiger had come closer to the cave. The deer raised her voice and shouted, “My deer young children do not weep. I shall capture a tiger for you to eat. You can have a good dinner.”

The tiger heard these words. He was disturbed. He said to himself, “Whose is that strange voice from the cave? A dangerous animal is staying inside to capture me. I shall run away to escape death.”

So saying, the tiger began to run away from there as fast as possible.

A jackal saw the running tiger. “Why are you running in great fear?” the jackal asked. The tiger said, “My friend, a powerful and fierce animal has come to stay in my cave. The young ones are crying for a tiger to eat. The mother is promising to capture a tiger for them. So, I am running away in great fear.”

The cunning jackal was now sure. The tiger was a coward. It said to the tiger. “Do not be afraid. No animal is fiercer or stronger than a tiger. Let us go together to find out.”

But the tiger said, “I do not want to take a chance. You may run away. I will be left alone to die. So, I will not come with you.”

The jackal said, “Trust me. Let us knot our tails together. Then I will not be able to leave you.”

The tiger agreed unwillingly to this proposal. The jackal tied their tails in a knot. Now they walked towards the cave together.

The deer saw the jackal and the tiger coming together. She again raised her voice. She shouted towards her children standing inside the cave, “My dear children, I had requested her friend, the clever jackal, to capture a tiger for us. Now look the jackal has captured a tiger for us. He has tied the tiger’s tail to his tail. This is to prevent the tiger from escaping. You will soon have the tiger for our dinner.”

The tiger heard this. He was shocked. He was sure now. The jackal cheated him. So, the tiger decided to escape from the terrible animal standing inside his cave. He started running. He forgot about the jackal. He dragged the jackal over rocks and thorns. In the mad escape the jackal was caught between two rocks. The tiger pulled with all his might. His tail got cut. The jackal was killed in this incident. The tail-less tiger ran away to another part of the forest.

The deer and her young ones left the tiger’s cave. They joined their herd safely.

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whip them with your mind

 

have a zen filled day

(~_~)

coming full circle

When a novice starts learning martial arts, he wears a white belt, symbolic of innocence. After months of practice, the white belt gets dirty and turns brown, symbolic of the first degree of attainment. After more practice, the belt gets soiled and eventually turns black, symbolic of full attainment.

If the practitioner does not stop learning even after full attainment, the black belt starts getting frayed, turning almost white, symbolic of return to innocence. The frayed white belt represents technical competence of an experienced martial artist, combined with the innocence and receptivity of a beginner. It signifies going beyond technique and embracing no-technique—coming full circle.

story source: white belt

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The original martial arts used only one belt as described above. But now-a-days the different colored belts are used to describe the practitioners growth.

At inner spirit martial arts, the white belt was symbolic of the crane. Where speed was developed and patience acquired. A crane can only survive a tiger’s attack with evasive maneuvers.

Through much practice, exercise and persistence one attained an orange belt. The symbol for the Tiger, strength.

Then comes the green belt. Where the student learns holds and throws. Agility, vitality, perseverance.

here is where many schools differ, some will have blue belts (water), purple belts (air)  and other colors before the brown belt. Many will go from brown to black as is many customary practices. At Inner Spirit Martial Arts the brown belt symbolized: Earth, well grounded, growth, deeply rooted and solid.

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as shone here…

Red belt symbolized… the dragon, full of fire, energy and the stage where one readies them self for black belt testing.

To attain the black belt one must demonstrate their abilities in their style of martial arts. One of the key elements is teaching, for a black belts primary task will be to teach others… coming full circle.

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I thought about this when I went to work the other day and I was asked to mentor a new officer. To teach them the ways of our profession. I realized I had come full circle in my employment. No matter what you do in life, when you have reached a certain point in your life, you will end up teaching others. Rather it be a profession or a grandparent. So, teach them well…

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may you pass your wisdom on to another this day

(~_~)

the tiger, the arrow and the stone

A long time ago there was a young samurai and his fiancé who were deeply in love. One day his fiancé was walking through the forest when she was attacked and seriously mauled by a man-eating tiger! No matter what the young samurai did, nothing could save her… and she died

From the depths of his sorrow he vowed to revenge his beloved, by seeking out the tiger and killing it.

So he took his bow and arrow and sought out into the forest, month after month in search of the man-eating beast. Searching daily in the forest, the samurai finally saw a sleeping tiger in the distance and concluded that this must be the tiger responsible for the death of his lover!

He drew his bow, took careful aim and released the arrow which found its mark and pierced the tiger’s body deeply. Drawing and mounting another arrow he slowly approached the motionless creature to confirm the kill… only to find his arrow stuck deeply into a striped colored stone which happened to resemble that of a sleeping tiger!

After this, everyone in the village began to talk about how strong he was, because he could pierce a stone with his arrow, and people became determined to test him. However, regardless of how many times he attempted to repeat the undertaking his arrows kept bouncing off the rock.

This was because he now realized that his target is only a stone. In the past his resolve had been so profound that he was actually able to physically pierce a stone with his arrow. However, now under different circumstances, he was unable to repeat the same feat.

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Moral of the story?

“A strong will can even pierce stone”. In other words, resolve can serve as a powerful vehicle for achieving seemingly impossibe things.

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This story reminded me of the mothers day post, if you missed the read,,, click here…

Tiger’s son

~another great tiger legend tale~

May you achieve seemingly impossibe goals today

(~_~)

The Tiger’s Den

Ban Chao was a famous general during the Eastern Han Dynasty. He originally worked as a petty official, but later, to realize his ambition, he joined the army.

In 73 A.D, Ban Chao and 36 subordinates were on a diplomatic mission to a small country named Shan Shan to build alliances against Xiong Nu. At first, the king of Shan Shan wined and dined him well; when Ban Chao told him the purpose of the visit, the king was very happy, promising to sign the treaty in ten days. However, the king’s promise did not make Ban Chao rest easy, on the contrary, he began to worry that the king might change his mind, especially after he heard that a large Xiong Nu delegation had also arrived.

Unfortunately, what he worried about happened: the king’s attitude suddenly changed; he not only treated Ban Chao in a cold manner but also refused meet him when the time of signing treaty came. Aware that the situation was taking a turn for the worse, Ban Chao immediately called in his men, saying:” Gentlemen, we are in terrible danger. The delegation of Xiong Nu has arrived and the King has become so indifferent to us. He is very likely to bind us up and send us to the Hun’s king as a gift in a few days. What should we do?”

All his subordinates said they would like to know his opinion. Ban Chao said: ” The best way out now is to attack the Xiong Nu’s delegation tonight and kill them. Only in this way would the King pay allegiance to our country.”

Some people worried that they were too few in number. To it, Ban Chao replied:” I heard ‘One cannot capture the tiger’s cub unless he enters the tiger’s den’. Let’s do it! I will live and die with you together.”

Moved by his determination, all his subordinates agreed with his plan. That night, Ban Chao and his men ambushed outside the the camp of the Xiong Nu delegation. They set a fire around the camp and then shouted and stroke drums at the same time. Waken up by the fire and noise, the Xiong Nu thought they were being attacked by a large Han army. As a result, they soon fell into great panic and were unable to fight back.

Over 30 of them were killed in the ambush, including the leader of the delegation, and the other were burnt to death. The next day, Ban Chao met the king of Shan Shan with the head of the Xiong Nu leader. The king was so astonished that he decided to ally with the Eastern Han at once.

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This Chinese idiom story is from “the Book of the Later Han”.

Later people derived the idioms of “One Cannot Capture The Tiger’s Cub Unless He Enters The Tiger’s.” from this story. It is similar with the English phrase of “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

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story source: One cannot capture the tiger’s cub unless he enters the tiger’s den

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have a tiger of a day