10/10/2004

The Three Vinegar Tasters

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A friend has asked about the motive of three old man standing around a pot.
Well, that looks suspiciously like
the Three Vinegar Tasters
.




http://www.3dcom.com/couples/vinegar1.html



Read this quote:
Vanessa Kaye

We frequently hear and read about religion and transgenderism. These conversations are exclusively centered around how to interpret Christian teachings and tenets in such a way as to justify our rightto be who we are.I find it odd that a relatively new, predominantly Western, minority religion is used as the spectacles through which to view a universal and timeless phenomenon.

Among the Five World Religions are Taoism,Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. There is value in all good books and in all good teachings. Without a doubt, when we are dealing with such an issue as transgenderism, which is certainly not only a Western issue, we should expand our scope. Let me talk to you about an ancient Chinese painting.

Roughly translated, it is entitled, The Vinegar Tasters. In this painting, composed long ago, we see three men standing around a vat of vinegar. Each has dipped his finger into the vinegar and tasted of it. The expression on each man's face shows his individual reaction. The painting is intended to be allegorical and each of the three men represent one of the Three Teachings of China. The vinegar they are tasting represents the Essence of Life. The three men represented are: K'ung Fu-tse (Confucius), Buddha, and Lao-tse (author of the oldest book of Taoism). For the purposes of this story we shall call them Confucius, Buddha and Lao-Tse.

The first man has a sour look on his face, the second wears a bitter expression, but the third man is smiling. Why the difference?

To Confucius, life seemed rather sour. He believed that the present was out of step with the past and that the world would be a much better place if there were strict rules. Confucius emphasized astrict order which ruled the affairs of all in his land. Anything that did not fit into the established order, was bad and not worthy.

To Buddha, the second figure in our painting, life on earth was bitter. This world, according to Buddha, was filled with attachments and desires that led to suffering. The world was seen as a setter of traps, a generator of illusions and a revolving wheel of endless pain. In order to find peace, Buddha maintained that it was necessary to transcend this world. The Buddhist sees the path to happiness constantly being interrupted by the bitterness of this world.

Now we come to the third man in our painting, Lao-tse. According toLao-tse, the world was governed by the laws of nature, not by those of men. He maintained that the more man interfered with the natural balance of things, the more out of balance the world became. As things became unbalanced, trouble followed.

So why is Lao-tse smiling? We all know what vinegar taste like. And, if the vat of vinegar represents the essence of life, should he not also have the bitter expression on his face as the other two? From the Taoist point of view, sourness and bitterness come from the interfering and unappreciative mind. Life itself, when understood and utilized for what it is, is sweet. That is the message of The VinegarTasters.

How does all of this relate to transgendered behavior? Let us look at ourselves through the eyes of the three men in the painting and weshall see.

Confucius, set rigid standards of behavior. This is much the same as with Christianity. To step outside of these guidelines, is the determining factor for what is right and wrong, what is good and bad. Under this type of system the individual is not allowed to explore and "shame" as well as guilt are often the tools used to keep people in line. It is no secret that any type of transgendered behavior falls outside of these guidelines. As a result, many of our sisters feel tremendous guilt immediately following the joyous exploration of their alternate gender roles. This leaves them with a sour taste in their mouths that is always associated with their feelings and need for self expression.

Through the Buddhist´s eyes, while there exist no clear black-and-white definition or right and wrong, the key is desire. Buddha emphasized that desire causes suffering. He explained that when one strives to become or achieve something, failure results in sadness and misery. If, on the other hand, one had no desire, there would be no suffering.

Now, let´s look through the eyes of Lao-tse. To the Taoist, the femme nature within us is much like a reservoir of water waiting to be released. The water will flow eventually and cannot be stopped. In time, cracks or leaks will develop, and the water will flow. Trying to impede the natural tendency of the water to flow its course results in disaster. To Lao-tse, only by working within the laws that govern the flow of water will happiness be achieved.




Read the rest here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Darumasan-Japan/message/473




Click on the thumbnail to see more photos.


For more about Confucius, sometimes painted as one of the three sages, see the LINK given in the comments.

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. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

月華の是やまことのあるじ達
tsuki hana no kore ya makoto no arujitachi

these three
of the moon and flowers:
masters of the truth


In the haibun “Praise for a Painting of Three Sages,” which was written on a portrait of the renga poet Sōgi and the haikai poets Yamazaki Sokan (16th century) and Arakida Moritake (1473–1549).
The portrait was painted by Bashō ’s disciple Morikawa Kyoriku(1656–1715).
Tr. and comment by Barnhill

tsuki hana - moon and cherry blossoms as the ultimate combination for Japanese nature love and poetry.

Written in 1685 貞亨2年。Basho was at Atsuta with his discpile 東藤, writing for his painting.
(熱田皺筥物語)

. - Morikawa Kyoroku / Kyoriku 森川許六 - .

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source : johntrigonis.com/

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4 comments:

. Gabi Greve said...

> tasting vinegar
> tasting honey
> tasting haiku


Gabi

the vinegar tasters -- priceless expressions on their faces!

ai... chibi

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/happyhaiku/message/1638
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Gabi Greve said...

Confucius in Japanese Art
Gabi Greve

Anonymous said...

.
Hokku by Basho

tsuki hana no kore ya makoto no arujitachi

these three
of the moon and flowers:
masters of the truth


Note: "In the haibun "Praise for a Painting of Three Sages," which
was written on a portrait... painted by Basho's disciple Morikawa Kyoriku (1656-1715)."

Anonymous said...

Vinegar Tasters poster and painting can be gotten here:

http://www.edepot.com/taoism_3-vinegar-tasters.html