Picture from Wallpoop – The Wallpaper Site
Most of my colleagues were very excited because a new manager transferred to our department. We had heard that he was capable, and he had come to reorganize the business, but after a few days, the new director had done nothing. He showed up at the office politely every day, but just stayed in his room and hardly came out. Seeing that he did nothing, those with bad motives who were initially nervous about his coming became bold and more rampant.
“He is not that capable, just a nice guy. It is easier to fool him than the former manager!”
Four months later, as people continued to feel disappointed towards the new manager, he suddenly took action – he fired all the bad employees, but he promoted the diligent personnel. After taking such a quick and precise action, he seemed to be an entirely different person.
At the year-end dinner party, the new manager gave a speech after everyone had filled and emptied their glasses three times:
“I believe that you were confused by my subdued action when I first came here, and then when I made sudden decisions for the office. I would like to tell you a story so that you will understand why I did so. I have a friend who bought a house with a huge yard. After moving in, he immediately cleared the whole yard. Then he planted new flowers throughout. One day, the original owner came to visit him, and he was shocked to see the yard, asking, “Where are the expensive peonies?”
Picture from Kujo Yardwear
Then my friend realized that he had thought the peonies were weeds and had removed all of them.
Later he bought another house, and although the yard was messy, he did not take action right away. And sure enough, the plants he thought were weeds blossomed in the spring. Likewise, the plants that flowered in the summer were what he thought were weeds in the spring. The small trees stood there quietly for half of a year and then began growing beautiful foliage in the autumn.
He waited until late autumn to make sure that he had seen all the plants and recognized the useless weeds and removed them. That way, he could preserve all of the flowers and trees.”
The manager raised his cup and continued:
“Let me toast to everyone here. The office is like a garden; you are all precious flowers. And flowers can not blossom throughout the year. Therefore we can only recognize it after long-term observation!”
The valley spirit never dies;
We call it the mysterious female.
The gates of the mysterious female,
These we call the roots of Heaven and Earth.
Subtle yet everlasting! It seems to exist.
In being used, it is not exhausted.
(from – The Tao and the Field)
What is a valley? – It is between the two peaks. The difference between peak and valley is that the peak is high up there and filled with rocks whereas the valley is on the bottom and can be like an empty vessel.
The spirit of the valley is the spirit of emptiness. The valley represents the acceptance, endurance, humbleness and it is like the female. On the other hand, the spirit of the mountains is more like the male. It is boastful and not as humble and accepting as the valley. The valley just accepts and without taking action and moreover, it gives life, and then life goes on forever and ever. So it can be called the roots of Heaven and Earth. It is everlasting. Here, he uses the valley to explain “Tao” which is empty, existing, eternal and never exhausted.
As I was searching the material for this chapter, I found that there were a lot of explanations for this chapter and wondered why some did not bother to address the valley spirit. I think it’s important to keep the imagery of the valley spirit in the text. As you can see in chapter 28, he mentions it again:
“…Be the valley of the universe!/Being the valley of the universe…”
If the rooster crows in the morning, the sky will be bright,
but if the rooster does not crow in the morning, it will still be bright.
The morning is not for a rooster to decide,
but for the one who wakes up.
Some people wake up to pass one day,
but some may live their lifetime without waking up(enlightenment).
A person bought a box of pears,
But the weather was bad for keeping pears,
So he picked the worst one every day to eat,
And finally ate an entire box of rotten pears.
To sum up, save the good ones and eat the rotten ones:
When we eat rotten ones, the good ones we saved become rotten,
So that we always eat the rotten ones.
The image is from Secrets Of Zen (Japanese Chill Out) – YouTube
Life is like eating pears,
Because if you only see unhappy things every day,
Your whole life will feel unhappy;
Put down the bad things and throw them away instead,
And every day the sun will shine,
And you will be shining forever!
Cherish happiness now!
No one knows how to control the emotion by nature.
Knowledgeable people are always mindful not to let themselves fall into bad moods.
At the parents’ meeting, the teacher wrote these four questions on the blackboard:
“You miscalculated,” The parents said.
The teacher turned around and said softly: “Yes, you see very clearly that this is wrong, but the other three were right. Why did everyone focus on the wrong answer, and never mention what was right?”
The teacher said, “Parents, education is not about finding what is incorrect, but appreciating what children did right.”
If you are good for a person a hundred times, they forget all of those times when you are bad once!
Here is human reason, where 100 – 1 = 0.
In fact, we make the same mistakes between family members.
The original Chinese text is from https://www.facebook.com/landagent0935239738/posts/1354135637967612.
For the Chinese text, you can click on http://classic-blog.udn.com/singi28831/108754053.
Nature is unkind: (Heaven and earth are unbiased)
It treats the creation like sacrificial straw-dogs.
The Sage is unkind: (The sage is not sentimental)
He treats the people like sacrificial straw-dogs.
How the universe is like a bellows!
Empty, yet it gives a supply that never fails;
The more it is worked, the more it brings forth.
By many words is wit exhausted.
Rather, therefore, hold to the core.
(Translated by Yu Tang Lin)
Note: The addition here in parentheses is to make the passage more understandable.
The original Chinese text is confusing. The direct translation of the first sentence – 天地不仁 – is “Nature is unkind.” In chapter 67, Lao Tze mentioned the three treasures, which he holds fast and watches closely – the first one is mercy. Therefore here it just implies that the heaven and earth are impartial or unbiased. The direct translation of the second sentence – 聖人不仁 – “The Sage is unkind” is also confusing. With the same principle, here we translate it to mean that the sage is not sentimental and has no preference. Both the sage and heaven and earth just follow the law of nature.
So here: Heaven and earth are unbiased, and because they treat everything like straw-dogs, they let it run its course. Similarly, saints are not sentimental; they have no preference, and also treat the people like the straw dog. Between heaven and earth, is it like a bellows? It is empty and not exhausted, the more you work, the more wind comes out, it is endless. It counts less if you use more words, as too much speech leads to mental silence. It is better to return to the core, that is to keep your mind quiet and empty.
Here Lao Tzu uses two things to explain. The first thing is the straw dog which is used for sacrifice during prayer. Once the prayer ends, the straw is thrown away. It shows that both heaven, earth, and the saint have no bias, they only follow nature and treat the people equally, letting them go with the flow.
The second thing is the bellows. As long as we work on it, the wind will come out and never be exhausted. So the heaven and earth are like the bellows, it is empty but never exhausted and it is up to us to use it.
A single bank accountant, thirty years old, worked ten years and never took any leave, was never tardy, was dedicated to his job, and never made any mistakes. He was so genuine that all his colleagues called him “honest man.” This honest guy had only one wish, and that was to travel around the world, but he was a salaried person who did not earn much extra money from his job, just enough to make ends meet.
One day, he took leave and the next day he was not at work either.
His boss and colleagues were anxious. How come a person who never took a day off, did not come to work? They feared that he had encountered an accident, as he lived by himself, and no one knew what had happened to him. They failed to reach him by phone, so they decided to pay a visit to his home.
The unexpected event caught people off guard. On that day, the bank audited and found that this honest person had transferred $100 million of funds from the company, and took the money.
Everyone was surprised by what had happened; no one believed that the honest man had done it. Some people even worried that he had been kidnapped in order to steal money. It was a major event, and they had to call the police for help.
A week had passed, and the police were trying to do everything possible to find him. Suddenly, he went to the police to admit his wrong-doing. He admitted that he stole $100 million. Knowing that he could not live a life as an outlaw, he decided to surrender.
This was an easy case, so the police asked him to hand over the $100 million in stolen money, then they can plead to the judge on his behalf. But the honest man said, “I confessed my crime, so I surrendered, but I can not tell you where the money is. I plead guilty.”
“Did you give it to a woman? Did you steal money for her? Do not be fooled, once you are in jail; she will run away with the $100 million.”
“No, no woman at all.”
“You can not imagine what could happen in prison, give back the money, let us help you to plead to the judge! You know what you did wrong, why not pay the money back?”
“I know that I am guilty, and I know that I should be punished, but I can not tell you where the money is.”
As a result, the judge sentenced him to fifteen years.
After deducting holidays, he was only in prison for thirteen years. He was a model inmate; he read a lot of travel books, he also taught other prisoners how to read and write books.
Time flies, and finally, the honest man was released from prison. The boss had retired, but he could not forget the honest man. He wanted to know what had transpired, and where the stolen money went. But just as he was thinking about it, the doorbell rang, and he opened the door to find the honest man standing in front of the door with a bag.
“I came to realize that I let all of you down, and I intend to give back the $100 million to the bank. Boss, can you go with me to the bank?” So the stolen $100 million was finally returned to the bank after he was in prison for 13 years.
Later, in the first class section of an airplane, the honest guy held a cup of red wine and read the travel magazines, on his trip to Paris, then to Iceland, and then to pay a visit to Russia.
The flight attendant asked him: “What do you do that you can travel around the world at such a young age?”
He laughed: “I invest. Do you know how much will you receive with one million dollars bonds that bear 6% interest after 13 years? It is a total of $239.29 million. It is more than 139 million after deducting it from 100 million. It is easy going around the world with the money from interest.”
The flight attendant replied, “How can I get $100 million dollars?”
The honest guy said calmly: “Go borrow it, but remember to return it. Then you will be qualified to be an honest person.”