John Suler's Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors
One day Chuang Tzu and a friend were walking by a river. "Look at the fish swimming about," said Chuang Tzu, "They are really enjoying themselves."
"You are not a fish," replied the friend, "So you can't truly know that they are enjoying themselves."
"You are not me," said Chuang Tzu. "So how do you know that I do not know that the fish are enjoying themselves?"
(A western version of this story describes two philosophers on a walk while discussing phenomenology. One of them kicks a dog and says, "See! This dog is experiencing pain".... etc.)
People's reactions to this story:Does any of us really know anyone else's true-sself or soul?
You never say no to know because the truth can't be false.
Only THE fish knows the fishes heart...and even then it does not Know.
"I'm just assuming that, being of my kind, you're not any closer to a fish than I am."
"The fish in this story doesn't actually exist because, according to our spiritual leader Aristotle, all fish in this world are only imperfect copies of a sublime fish in a different world."
"This reminds me of some time spent in Scotland learning to fly fish. The secret to catching fish is to think like a fish. Disembodiment is the answer and the Tao of being the fish."
"does a fish have buddha nature?"
"I read an article in a fly-fishing magazine where the author (a zen philosopher name Lefty Kreh, I believe) said that you catch the fish by setting the hook just *before* you feel the strike. It took about four years of active contemplation at a local trout stream before I understand what he meant well enough do this with any consistency. Perhaps Chuang Tzu had spent more time at the trout stream than his friend."
"The story is about the fundamental problem that has been treated by all big religions and philosphers. It is the question of the relationship between subject and object. Logically we will not be able to tackle this "everlasting" problem, but maybe there other ways."
"To think like a fish, you have to drink like a fish"
"If these guys were enlightened, wouldn't they just enjoy the fish without trying to figure out what the fish, or each other, are thinking? Would these guys be thinking at all? Come to think of it, if I'm enlightened, why am I thinking about this? And if I'm a fish, who is wondering if I'm enjoying this experience? Myself? Can I stand on the bank and watch myself as if I'm a fish?"
"Read Lord Alexander's 'The remarkable Journey of Prince Jen'! This story and the butterfly dream shows up there and the whole book is about enlightenment!"
"We each have our own individual perceptions of reality."
"Chuang Tzu is not his friend, how can he know that his friend does not know? But I am not Chuang Tzu, how do I know that Chuang Tzu does not know that his friend does not know?"