carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

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carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:12 am

Hello all,

I suspect there is a teaching in this email I received:

I just love coffee:

You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil.

In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.

The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:43 am

Hi Chris

Sorry to be a pain in the behind but if you boil coffee it goes bitter.
I'm not a fan of the 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' doctrine.
Metta

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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby Dan74 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:59 am

Whatever brings some light to an aspect of ourselves that had until then remained in darkness, is a great teaching!

:bow:

What I enjoyed in this story was whether carrot, egg, coffee or anything else for that matter, all reflects an aspect of the mind, an aspect of ourselves.

So when one is engaged in practice 24/7 one tends to see these things as I observed in my teacher at one stage. And see not only superficially but experiencially and deeply.

"The mind is the forerunner of all things." Including soft-boiled carrots and hard-boiled eggs.

Now as for coffee, I believe that falls under the Fifth Precept (unless you meant decaf). :tongue:

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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:14 am

Hello Ben and Dan,

Now is possibly not the best time to admit it, but .... I only drink decaffeinated coffee - and, believe it or not, decaffeinated tea. I came from a family which started babies on sips of tea and I drank a great deal of it all my life, until my twenties, when I developed a sensitivity to caffeine. So I bow to superior knowledge.

Besides which ... you don't have to consume these items - you just have to observe what they are like ... for instance, the coffee 'changed' the water .....

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby Fede » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:34 am

Ben wrote:Hi Chris

Sorry to be a pain in the behind but if you boil coffee it goes bitter.
I'm not a fan of the 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' doctrine.
Metta

Ben


I love the alternative to that one....

What doesn't kill you merely delays the inevitable....

I see Chris' analogy.....
But I guess the transformative process can be read in different ways....

being confronted with adversity, a 'Good' Buddhist can actually soften and become more receptive, like the carrot.
Alternatively, they could look to their strength, and grow steadfast and solid in their practice, containing both elements of skilful and unskilful, but honing them into one mass and internalising, thereby being neutral..... as in the egg....

With the coffee, we can be one thing, and influence things around us, but people will either perceive it as 'pleasant' or unpleasant.... so we have to accept we can please all of the people some of the time......

I dunno.... it's a variation......

Thanks for the stimulus Chris!!

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:24 pm

now im hungry
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:27 pm

Trying to think of what the Buddhist analogy would be... perhaps a rock? A fourth pot with a rock? Regardless of how much the water boils, the rock stays a rock. Equanimity in the face of any external circumstance?
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:21 pm

I'll admit at this particular time in my life I've become an egg. :jumping: But think I will go have a large cup of strong coffee now.

J
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby Jechbi » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:53 pm

Then there's a frog. You stick him in a pot of room-temperature water and he's pretty comfortable. Slowly you turn up the heat. He doesn't notice. By the time the water boils, the frog has died.

Sometimes you gotta jump out of the water.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:19 pm

I prefer the image of a sponge. A sponge in hot water retains its material form, while being receptive to the water that flows through it like, er...water, without grasping or blocking. When it is wet, the sponge is all wet. When it is dry, it is all dry. When it is hot, it is all hot. No preference, unlike a rock that that isn't penetrable, or a coffee bean that changes it's environment - both striking me as reactions if we understand them as metaphors for mind states.

I lean toward eggishness, but practice for sponge-ness.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:45 pm

I prefer the image of bacon and eggs because... yum! bacon and eggs! :tongue: And coffee! And maybe a muffin too. Ok, maybe I need an analogy that isn't so breakfast related. :lol:
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby appicchato » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:09 pm

Peter wrote:I prefer the image of bacon...



:pig:
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:47 pm

What about onions? Why aren't onions on the menu??
:goodpost:

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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:02 am

I like it, thanks Chris :anjali:
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:33 pm

Chris wrote:Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

I like the analogy of the coffee bean. That sounds the most Buddha-like, remaining in equanimity and also changing the situation around him, by teaching the good Dhamma.
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:34 pm

Jechbi wrote:Then there's a frog. You stick him in a pot of room-temperature water and he's pretty comfortable. Slowly you turn up the heat. He doesn't notice. By the time the water boils, the frog has died.

Sometimes you gotta jump out of the water.

:goodpost:

:jumping: My 'vote' for the best response here.
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:54 pm

TheDhamma wrote:
Jechbi wrote:Then there's a frog. You stick him in a pot of room-temperature water and he's pretty comfortable. Slowly you turn up the heat. He doesn't notice. By the time the water boils, the frog has died.

Sometimes you gotta jump out of the water.

:goodpost:

:jumping: My 'vote' for the best response here.


That's awesome :) Some of my favorite song lyrics are from "The Gambler." You've gotta know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby cooran » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:20 pm

Just listened to them here.... :smile:
http://www.last.fm/music/Kenny+Rogers/_/The+Gambler

Lyrics:
On a warm summer's evenin' on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin' out the window at the darkness
'Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, "Son, I've made my life out of readin' people's faces,
And knowin' what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
so if you don't mind my sayin', I can see you're out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey I'll give you some advice."

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

Ev'ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner and ev'ry hand's a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep."

When he'd finished speakin', he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.
chorusx3
http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/ ... 51000BE2A7

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: carrots, eggs, and coffee beans ... which?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:21 pm

:twothumbsup:
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