The "Hermit's Vegetable Guide" or "Vegetable Roots Treatise" was a Ming dynasty Hermit's guide to living. Written in 1596 in a time of turmoil and decline in classical ethics- this was a lone man's testament to what he believed and lived for. Contained inside were words of wisdom that extended from Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism which he was able to skillfully write about in a non-denominational manner. This text is a time honored classic of the Chinese Wisdom traditions.
An old Chinese saying goes "eat bitter". Vegetables and roots can be bitter, but it alludes to the bitterness endured during life's trials. If one can learn to "eat bitter" and endure difficultly then the outcome is a more hardened, wise, skillful and ultimately happy person.
As the old Zen saying goes: How can the plum blossom smell so sweet if it did not endure the winter's cold?