The Master’s Medicine

A Zen master was confused when he opened a jar of medicine and found a frog inside.

“Truly, this is the medicine I sought,” said the master, and he swallowed the frog.

The master’s student walked up just as the master had finished swallowing, holding a jar of his own.

“Master,” he said, “it seems your medicine was mixed up with one of the local’s frog jars.”

The master began retching and coughed up the frog.

The student was shocked and amazed.

“What the hell?” he thought, “Is this enlightenment? I’m not sure I’m on board with this.”

“Don’t look so worried,” the master reassured the student, “this isn’t a Zen thing. I swallowed this frog because I thought that my medicine jar … well, it was in my medicine jar or what I thought was my medicine jar and so … so I swallowed it. The frog. I swallowed the frog.”

The frog began hopping out of the room. 

“Oh, look at that!” said the master, “It’s still alive! So … so, enlightenment is like a swallowed frog, see? You think it’s something you have to take into yourself, but really you’re taking the wrong thing … the – you’re supposed to wait a minute and someone will bring you the right thing to … to eat.”

But, the student had left as soon as the frog started moving. It was pretty freaky.

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