The Man-Eating Tigers

Posted: October 21, 2012 in Short Stories

Once there was a sage who agreed to teach three young students the way to enlightenment. Fearing that they might be lured from the path by the glitter of the world, the sage took his students to a place deep in the mountains, where he taught them for many years. When the boys reach the age of sixteen, the sage decided to take them into a city to show them what life in the world was really like. No sooner did they enter the city than the sage noticed that his students were fascinated by the beautiful women that were walking about there. To keep their minds on the truth, the sage said, “Be careful of them for they are not what they seem. They are man-eating tigers!”

They continued touring the city. They visited the temples and shrines, and called on several renowned masters. At nightfall the sage led them back to the mountains. When they were safe in their retreat again, he asked, “What did you learn today? What was the most interesting thing you saw?”

Without hesitation the three replied in unison, “The man-eating tigers!”

We cannot run from who we are. That sage would have done better to raise the boys in a town where they would have learned to understand themselves from an early age. We must learn to disentangle ourselves from the fixations of our minds, not to run from them or pretend that they can be ignored. This tale reminds us that only wisdom can overcome ignorance, and that it is impossible to run away from ourselves.


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