Archive for July, 2018
The highest perfection is like imperfection,
And its use is never impaired.
The greatest abundance seems meager,
And its use will never fail.
What most straight appears devious,
The greatest skill appears clumsiness;
The greatest eloquence seems like stuttering.
Movement overcomes cold,
(But) keeping still overcomes the heat.
Who is calm and quiet becomes the guide for the universe.
( Translation by Lin Yutang )
Lao Tzu said, “something that is complete or perfect is like a defect, but its function is still there, and it will not disappear.”
Things that are full are like they are empty, but their function is not exhausted.
In the same way: the big straight thing seems bent; great coordination seems to be clumsy; and great eloquence seems to be dull.
So he says clearly: peace is better than agitation, cold is better than heat, and quiet and calm can be used as a model for the world.
Fame or one’s own self, which does one love more?
One’s own self or material goods, which has more worth?
Loss (of self) or possession (of goods), which is the greater evil?
Therefore: he who loves most spends most,
He who hoards much loses much.
The contented man meets no disgrace;
Who knows when to stop, runs into no danger –
He can long endure.
( Translation by Lin Yutang )
This chapter emphasizes the importance of self. Lao Tzu began by asking:
Self and fame, which one is closer to you?
Self and the goods, which is more important to you?
If you gain fame and good but cause harm to yourself, which one makes you lose more?
He added: If you love fame too much, you need to spend a great deal and if you try to store too much, you will end up suffering a severe loss.
So Lao Tzu said: If people can be content enough, they will not be subject to humiliation. If they know when they should stop, they will not be in danger.
In an age when most people are rushing to their next destination, be a person who occasionally looks up at the stars.
In “The Moon and Sixpence” by W. Somerset Maugham, the main character says that he has tried his best to live an ordinary life, which was probably the fate of the majority.
Some people look down at the ground for sixpence, while some people look up to see the moon in the sky.
As for a boring life, some people choose to accept fate and muddle along. But the inwardly rich man has drawn a flower in dull life and painted suffering into a poem.
More important than life is attitude and lifestyle, and the man who loves life, regardless of what fate has sent him, always tries to play it well.
There is no such thing as a truly rich life, but you can still try to take a good afternoon nap. You can’t sit and make footprints under a wave of maple trees, but you can make time for playing chess to enjoy a brief break.
Take life seriously, and you will find that a meal and vegetables, a day and night are perfect, and you won’t be complain anymore. You will only be in awe of life.
Whatever the world does to you, may you be as brave and hopeful as ever.
Author W. Somerset Maugham (picture from Wikipedia)
The original Chinese text is from https://www.weibo.com/3611356753/FhPiBipga?type=comment#_rnd1530516812435.