A Favorite Tea Story, Retold
Once upon a time in ancient Japan, a young samurai undergoing hard training was growing discouraged over his lack of progress. Observing this, he sensei (master) called him in and told the youngster to heat a pot of water. Then, he told him to fetch a daikon radish, an egg, and some tea leaves. Placing each ingredient into the pot of hot water, the two watched them cook. Soon, the master asked the student to spoon the radish out. It had gotten soft and limp.
"Life is a pot of boiling water," said the sensei. "There are always many challenges. However, some people, when faced with these challenges, grow afraid and soft, unable to rise to the occasion."
The student was then instructed to spoon out the egg, which had become hard-boiled.
The sensei said further, "Other people face the challenges of life, and become hard, like this egg."
The tea leaves have now scattered throughout the pot of hot water, releasing its aroma.
"You have to be like these tea leaves," said the sensei. "Rise to the occasion, adapt to the situation; when faced with difficulties, give the best of your qualities, and change the hot boiling water into a fragrant pot of tea!"
--paraphrased excerpt from the comic book Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai, Dark Horse Comics
Many thanks to Teance Fine Teas, firstname.lastname@example.org