Lesson 34: The Taste of Life

An experienced and wise master grew tired of his apprentice complaining.
One morning he sent the apprentice for some salt.
The master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and drink it.
“How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter,” said the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to put
a handful of salt in the lake nearby.
The two walked to the nearby lake. After the apprentice
threw a handful of salt into the water,
the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin,
the master asked, “Now how does this taste?”
“Fresh and sweet” remarked the apprentice.
“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.
“No,” said the young man.

The master sat beside the young man
and held his hands.
He told the young man, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less.
The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same.
However, 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 expand your sense of things…
Stop being a glass.
Become a lake!”

A) Vocabulary:

Apprentice –   a person who is being trained to do a job.
Container  –   anything that contains something inside – like a box, carton etc.
Expand    –    make something larger.

Please make your own sentences with the above words, to demonstrate their meaning.

B) Discussion:

  1. Why do you think the title of this passage is “The Taste of Life”?
    Can life be tasted?
  2. Would you describe your life as sweet or bitter? And why?
  3. If our life is like a ‘container’, what should we fill it with?
    Gratitude or complaints?
    Trust or mistrust?
    Hope or despair?
    Optimism or pessimism?
    Kindness or selfishness?
    Compassion or bitterness?

C) A Gratitude Poem

I am thankful for my family.
I wonder if they know that
I hear them when they say “I love you” and
I see the things they do to help me.
I want everyone to know I love them because
I am not always good at saying so.
I pretend that I don’t like my sister and brother, but
I feel lucky to have them.
I touch other people’s stuff sometimes and
I am appreciative they don’t get too mad.
I understand that it’s not a good idea so
I say “I’m sorry” when I‘m wrong.
I dream about being bigger and helping out more and
I try to be patient, but I guess
I hope everyone knows
I am glad to be part of this family.