(<– continued from Why did the rabbit give the tiger a pipe?)
“Why did the rabbit give a pipe to the tiger?” the monk asked.
The only thing that came to mind was, “To save their own skin!” but lacking confidence in my thoughts, especially when it comes to Zen, I shook my head.
The monk eventually said, “Because the rabbits don’t want the tiger to eat them.”
Out of pride, I sort of wished I’d spoken my mind, but once that wore off, I thought about the answer a little more.
Initially, it seems basically selfish of the rabbit. He’s not genuinely concerned for the tiger’s wellbeing. If he were, he’d offer him something like a cup of tea, or perhaps his own flesh. I suppose back when tigers smoked pipes, they may not have been aware that it wasn’t very healthy, though. He’s only concerned about the tiger’s contentedness for his and his friend’s sake.
As I thought about it more, it reminded me of my own path. I didn’t become interested in the Buddha’s teachings for anyone’s sake but my own. I was (probably still am) self-centered, depressed, and hid behind a mask of cheerfulness not to let anyone see the real me. Eventually, I read in a book that I should shift my attention outwards, to be concerned for others. Grudgingly, I tried, because it was supposed to bring me happiness also, of course. Eventually, it started working, not because I was any happier, but because I’d genuinely started developing more concern for those around me.
So, maybe the rabbits, acting out of self-preservation, do have some concern for the tiger’s joy. And knowing rabbits, they probably have a den full of babies who are depending on their safe return, in which case, they’d be much more needed there than in the tiger’s belly!
Happy Korean New Year! Saehae Bok Mani Badeusaeyo!
Have a nice Year of the Rabbit!
8 thoughts on “Why the rabbit gave the tiger a pipe”
I just finished translating a story by Daehaeng Sunim, where the conclusion addresses this:
“Although you do something for someone else, ultimately you’re the one who will benefit. And if you do something harmful, that doesn’t just fade away. Eventually it will all return to you. If you understand only these two truths, how could you just drift through life? Be diligent; live while doing your best. Be utterly sincere in the things you do. Do your best! Then the things you do for yourself end up benefiting others (as well), and the things you do for others will also benefit you.”
That’s really good!
Nice conclusion and commentary and nice clarification, Chong Go Sunim!
Enlightened self interest?
Chong Ir Sunim, Marcus, Barry, Doug, tanya and others
Congratulations from the center of our hearts our Inner Buddha in full connection with the Buddha of the Universe, and from its center, light to all in one, and from that one at all, beyond time and space.
Hands together in greeting Dharma
Alejandro (Mun Hye)
Oh, by the way, the best way to have a great year for rabbits is by not having one as a pet! They really don’t like being kept as pets. Read more here:
And I don’t suppose they much like being trained to pass smoking pipes to tigers either! LOL!
Thanks again Joseph for these excellent posts!
I have done harmful things and they never fade away.
Well, never is a long time!
What’s done is done, there’s no reason to carry that with us for ever.
Thank you for being here.