We are always our worst enemies,
by giving in to our inner enmity,
while our outer ‘enemies’
only ‘help’ to remind us of this.
There was a priest with a very hot temper.
As a hackberry tree grew beside his hut,
others called him ‘the hackberry priest’.
Much offended by this, he cut the tree down.
As the stump was left,
others called him ‘the stump priest’.
Much more offended by this, he dug the stump out.
As a large hole that filled with water was left,
others called him ‘the ditch priest‘…
The tree, stump, ditch and others
were never really at fault,
just being the way they were.
Seeing irritation as external,
he can never find or eradicate it,
as it originates from his temper.
The more he externalises the problem,
the more he feeds his temper,
the more frustrated he becomes.
[The hackberry anecdote was recorded in ‘Essays In Idleness’
(Tsurezuregusa: 徒然草: Scribbles In Vain) by Yoshida Kenko]
We are always our best friends,
by growing more of our inner loving-kindness,
while our outer friends
only help to remind us of this.