THE VINEGAR TASTERS An Introduction to Three Great Philosophers of the East Activity: Tasting Vinegar Materials 3 Dixie Cups on each table 3 Different Vinegars (Brown Rice, Cider, Balsamic) Sheet of Paper to record your observations Task Label each Dixie cup Dip your fingertip into the Dixie cup containing one of the three vinegars Record your observations: What did each taste like? Be as descriptive as possible. Sour, sweet, tangy, bitter, spicy, woody, etc. How did you react? Allegory This painting is not a depiction of a real event, i.e. Confucius, the Buddha, and Lao Tzu didn’t really get together one day and sample vinegars Instead, this painting uses images to represent ideas The man on the left represents Confucius The man in the center represents the Buddha The man on the right represents Lao Tzu What does the vinegar represent? Confucius In the painting, Confucius has a sour look on his face This is thought to represent Confucius’ idea that the world is out of harmony with the natural order of things, i.e. the world had soured To restore harmony in the world, we need to: Return to the ways of our ancestors Establish clear roles for everyone in society Obey certain rules appropriate to each role in society The Buddha In the painting, the Buddha is thought to have a bitter look on his face This is thought to represent his idea that the world is full of disappointment and pain, i.e. bitter The goal of life then is to avoid disappointment by not expecting too much We should not desire too much for then we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment and bitterness Lao Tzu In the painting, Lao Tzu is thought to be smiling This is thought to represent his idea that beauty and happiness is found in experiencing things the way they are and not how we would want them to be Vinegar is a strong taste and it is “Wonderful!” Restoring harmony with the world is not something that occurred in the past; it can be achieved now Appreciate the beauty that lies within everything and happiness follows from that Assignment for Next Week Choose one of the three great Eastern philosophers whose approach to tasting vinegar you agree with most Write up a summary of why that philosopher believes vinegar/the world to be sour or bitter or sweet (do some research on your chosen philosopher, if needed) Then, explain why you agree with him. Why do you think that vinegar/the world is sour or bitter or sweet? What lessons can we learn from this painting?