An aging master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.


“How does it taste?” the master asked.


“Bitter,” said the apprentice.


The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”


As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”


“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.


“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.


“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,


“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 enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”



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Replies to This Discussion

I like this a lot. I see that the way we become the lake is to practice unconditional love. The more we do that the bigger our "lake" becomes.


I always go back to this tale when I find myself losing true perspective and I need to return to mindfulness. Thank you, Wilbert, Mary Ellen and Roddyg for your comments.

It is so true, although take lots of wisdom to become the master.  Everyday is a new opportunity to get there <3

Great lessone, excellent, inspiring and a definitive reminder - I will definatly put more effort into becoming a lake ! thanks for sharing

I love the 'chuckle' cheeky, because the student knew it would be bitter but still trusted the master enough to more or less do as he was told regardless.  A great lesson for all, not only when we are in pain, to remember this when we are is sometimes the difficulty for some. Grace is to be given in times of deep pain both to ourselves and from others, not sympathy. Namaste All 



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