Archive for November, 2017

A Painter’s Invoice

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One lady hired a painter to paint the walls. When the painter walked into the house, he saw that her husband was blind. But the lady’s husband was very cheerful and optimistic, so the painter had a pleasant time working there and he never once mentioned the man’s physical impairment.

After he had finished the job, he gave the lady the invoice. The lady took a look and found a significant discount on their negotiated price. She asked the painter, “Why did you charge so much less?”

The painter replied, “I was very happy to work here in the presence of your husband, and he made me feel that my situation was not the worst. The discount serves as my gratitude to him because he did not make my work a hardship!”

Image result for image of painter to paint the walls with one hand

Image from Franklin Painting, LLC

The painter’s admiration for her husband made her shed tears because…the generous painter had only one hand!

The moral of the story:

Although we can not change our lives, we can change our outlook on life;

Although we can not change our environment, we can change our state of mind;

Although we can not adjust our environments to adapt to our lives, we can instead adjust our attitude to adapt to all environments, so our attitudes will determine our fates!

 

The Chinese version of this article is posted on

油漆匠的帳單

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 10

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載營魄抱一,能無離乎?
專氣致柔,能嬰兒乎?
滌除玄覽,能無疵乎?
愛民治國,能無知乎?
天門開闔,能為雌乎?
明白四達,能無知乎?
生之、畜之,生而不有,為而不恃,長而不宰,是謂玄德。

In embracing the One with your soul,
Can you never forsake the Tao?
In controlling your vital force to achieve gentleness,
Can you become like the new-born child?
In cleansing and purifying your Mystic vision,
Can you strive after perfection?
In loving the people and governing the kingdom,
Can you rule without interference?
In opening and shutting the Gate of Heaven,
Can you play the part of the Female?
In comprehending all knowledge,
Can you renounce the mind?
(Translated by Yu Tang Lin)

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.
(From a translation by S. Mitchell)

Image is from https://kknews.cc/zh-mo/culture/46emkbv.html

Lao Tzu presented six concepts here to lead us to “Tao”-
Oneness – the body and soul are one and without separation.
Gentleness – gather chi (vital breath) to reach a gentle state, like a child.
Flawlessness – clear your thoughts and look deep within yourself to be flawless.
Fairness – rule the people with love but do not exempt yourself from the natural law.
Quietness – be peaceful and silent when opening and shutting the Gate of Heaven.
Clearness – see everything as they are without relying upon your knowledge.

What is “Tao”-
The “Tao” gives birth to all things and nourishes them;
it produces them and does not claim them as its own;
it does all, and yet does not boast of it;
it presides over all, and yet does not control them.
This is what is called ‘The Mysterious Quality of the Tao.”
To sum up to reach “Tao”-
Do nothing無為.
Hold nothing不恃.
Have nothing不有.
Control nothing不宰.

Note: Gate of Heaven-
There is life, and there is death; there is breath in, and there is breath out; there is no such thing as the appearance for the gate of heaven. The gate of heaven is nothingness, and all thing comes from nothingness.

Civilization – To Be In Another’s Shoes

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A famous writer, Mr. Liang, was on the way to visit friends together with two other senior writers in a suburban area while he was in France. It was windy and raining, and in front of the writers’ car was an SUV with two French girls, who kept looking at the writers through their back window. As they drove, the SUV kept splashing mud on the writers’ car – and though they tried to pass the SUV, the road was just too narrow to do so. Mr. Liang asked the driver if they could pass and move in front of the SUV, but the driver thought it would be impolite, as the SUV would be splashed with mud once the writers’ moved in front of them.

Image result for image of car driving on the raining day and splash to the other car

Image from The Telegraph

Suddenly, an older man driving another SUV behind them stopped to speak to the writer’s driver. Afterward, Mr. Liang asked what the man had said, and the driver responded that the old man had informed them that his car was splashed with mud as he drove behind them. The old man had stopped to tell the writers because his two daughters were in the car with him, and he did not want them to think that it was alright to ignore what their actions did to others. Mr. Liang was ashamed, because at that moment, when he wanted to pass the SUV, he had only been thinking of himself, and not what the action of passing the SUV might do to those in the car.

It reminded the author of the story of his niece in Australia, who traveled to Sydney with a friend who was an ABC (Australian Born Chinese) to go fishing for shrimp. While there, an older, native Chinese man was also fishing, and when he pulled up nets full of shrimp, he would only pick a few shrimp and release the rest back into the ocean. The niece asked why he put the shrimp back after spending so much effort catching them in the first place, and the man replied that Australian citizens knew that they could only fish a particular size of shrimp, and that, in Australia, no one needed to remind them of that rule.

Image result for image of catching the right size of shrimps in Australia
Image from Yacht & Boat

These stories show the meaning of civilization – actions and beliefs that stem from humankind’s inherent values and virtues. It is kindness, and being able to put oneself in other people’s shoes. Most of all, it appears in daily life in person-to-person relationships.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 9

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持而盈之,不如其已;
揣而銳之,不可長保。
金玉滿堂,莫之能守;
富貴而驕,自遺其咎。
功遂身退天之道。

Stretch (a bow) to its very longest,
And you will wish you had stopped in time.
Temper a (sword-edge) to its very sharpest,
And the edge will not last long.
When gold and jade fill your hall,
You will not be able to keep them safe.
To be proud with wealth and honor
Is to sow seeds of one’s own downfall.
Retire when your work is done,
Such is Heaven’s way.
(Translated by Yu Tang Lin)

 

What is Heaven’s way? That is the way of the Tao.
Never hold anything to its fullest because it will overflow, and then you lose more than you gain.

If you keep showing off your ability; you will lose support from your colleagues and success will not last long.

When gold and jade fill the halls, their possessor cannot keep them safe. Gold and jade are mere worldly possessions which come and go. Virtue is more important than external property.

When wealth and honors lead to arrogance, this brings evil upon that person. Because they invite criticism and jealousy from people, it ignites the beginning of a curse.

When your work is well done, and your name is becomes well-known, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.

Here Lao Tzu taught us how to practice ” Tao” in our life. Never do anything extreme and find the balance instead, because the balancing is the Tao. I love this story from Osho. It shows us how to gain balance.

Here is excerpt from Osho-Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1 Page 70

 

Image result for image of walking on the rope

I have heard:
Once, a great king had to make a decision that was against his heart. Two of his ministers had committed some crime, and he loved the ministers very much. Even if they had committed the
crime, he wanted to forgive them; his love was such for them. But that was against the law of the country, and it wouldn’t have been a good precedent. So they had to be punished. And the law of
the country said that for the crimes they committed, the only punishment was death. So what to do?

It was too difficult to decide, so he found a way out. He said, ”They have to be sentenced to death, but I will give them one more chance to live. Between two hills a tightrope will be stretched. If they can walk over it and survive, then I will forgive them.”

It seemed almost impossible. It was impossible because the ministers had never walked on any tightrope, let alone on one between two hills over a big valley – there was death everywhere. And to walk on a tightrope is a great art, one has to learn it for many years, and it is a great discipline. They had not even dreamed in their lives that they would become tightrope-walkers.

One of the two couldn’t sleep. The whole night he prayed to God to help him. He couldn’t take his tea in the morning. He came to the place where this phenomenon was to happen; the whole capital
had gathered.

The other, knowing well that he didn’t know anything about tightrope-walking, that nothing could be done and it was almost certain that he was going to die, so why not sleep well? He slept. In the morning he took his usual tea. He walked leisurely to the tightrope that morning. The other was trembling and feverish, but he was quiet and calm knowing well that death was to happen – and when it is certain, why bother? Die silently.

He started walking on the rope, and wonder of wonders – he walked!

Nobody could believe it! Even the tightrope-walkers had come to watch – even they could not believe it. It was difficult, even for them – the distance was too great, and the danger was too much. One step wrong, a little too much leaning towards the left or the right and you are gone; become a little unbalanced and death is waiting at every step. But the man walked, and he walked as leisurely as if he had gone for a morning walk. He reached the other hill.

The first man was trembling, perspiring. He shouted from his place to the other man, ”Please tell me how you walked, so I can also walk!”

The other man shouted back: ”It is difficult to say because I don’t know how. I know only one thing – this is the way I have been walking my whole life. I’m not a tightrope-walker, but now I know I am because this is the way I have been living my whole life – balanced, never going to the extreme. Or, if I lean towards the left immediately I balance it by leaning towards the right. I have not done anything else. But this won’t help you because this is not something you can learn suddenly. If you live in this way, it comes to you.”

Yes, never go to the extremes – to the fullest and sharpest… Be in the middle and be in the balance for that is skill and that is Tao. That is eternal.

 

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