Archive for October, 2018

Everything is Still There

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For many days, a monk sat alone in a room in meditation, silently. The master saw him there and led him out of the gate with a smile. Outside the temple, there was a beautiful spring. Looking around, heaven and earth were filled with fresh air, green grass buds, flying birds, and flowing rivers…

He took a deep breath and looked at his master, who was now sitting peacefully on the hillside.

After spending the whole afternoon outside, the master got up and, without saying a word, made a gesture for the monk to follow.

Just after entering the gate of the temple, the master suddenly stepped forward and lightly closed two wooden doors, shutting the monk outside the temple.

He did not understand the master’s will and sat alone outside the door, thinking why his master would do this.

Soon it was dark, and a mist hung over the hills and the trees. The sounds of water in the woods, of the streams, and even of the singing of the birds were no longer evident.

Then the master called his name from within the temple.

The monk opened the door and went in.

The master asked, “How is it outside?”

“It’s all black.”

“What else?

“Nothing.”

“No,” said the master, “Outside, the breeze, the green field, the flowers, the creek…everything is still there.”

Suddenly, he realized his master’s actions.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 58

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其政悶悶,其民淳淳;其政察察,其民缺缺。
禍兮福之所倚,福兮禍之所伏。孰知其極?
其無正。正復為奇,善復為妖。
人之迷,其日固久。
是以聖人方而不割,廉而不劌,直而不肆,光而不燿。
When the country is ruled with a light hand,
The people are simple.
When the country is ruled with severity,
The people are cunning.

Happiness is rooted in misery.
Misery lurks beneath happiness.
Who knows what the future holds?

There is no honesty.
Honesty becomes dishonest.
Goodness becomes witchcraft.

Man’s bewitchment lasts for a long time.

Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straightforward but not unrestrained,
Brilliant but not blinding.
(Translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English )

Picture is taken by Wing at the Sea Galilee.

If we govern the country without playing tricks, playing smart, and do everything slowly and gradually, the people will be simple and honest. On the other hand, if government scrutinizes the people’s every move, burdens the people with restrictions, and intrudes upon their life, it creates an environment where people are forced to become tricky and cunning.

Lao Tzu tells us the truth that woe and blessing have a cause and effect relation. When one is proud, one must know that it is the beginning of disappointment. The feeling of gain and loss in life depends on the opinion of each person. Indeed everything is unpredictable; it changes by the passing of the time and environment so it can be very confusing for anyone to know what to do.

Fortunately, by following the Tao, we will not go astray. Here is what the Tao guides us to do:
Be sharp and pointed but not offending or hurting others.
Be straightforward without being ruthless.
Be illuminated without being flashy and blinding others.

Zen Stories

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A young man asked a monk: “Master, some people say that I am a genius, and some people call me a stupid person. What do you think?”
The monk asked, “How do you see yourself?” And the young man was puzzled.
“A kilogram of rice is a few bowls of rice in the eyes of the housewife; a biscuit in the eyes of the baker, and a fine wine in the eyes of the brewer. Rice is still rice. Similarly, you are still you, but how much you can accomplish depends on how you treat yourself. So how do you think of yourself?” And the young man was enlightened.

The image is from https://tinybuddha.com/blog/9-powerful-life-lessons-from-studying-with-a-monk/.

 

Someone asked Picasso: “How can we understand your paintings?”
Picasso said: “Have you heard birds sing?”
“Yes.”
“Is it nice?”
“Yes, it’s nice.”
“Now do you understand?”

Image result for picasso image
The image is from WikiArt.

 

Buddha: “What is most precious in the world?”
Disciple: “It is the thing you lose and the thing we cannot get.”
The Buddha was silent.
After several years has gone by, the Buddha asked again, and the disciple answered: “The most precious thing in the world is the thing we truly own!

Related image

The image is from https://tinybuddha.com/blog/9-powerful-life-lessons-from-studying-with-a-monk/

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 57

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以正治國,以奇用兵,以無事取天下。
吾何以知其然哉?以此:天下多忌諱,而民彌貧;民多利器,國家滋昏;人多伎巧,奇物滋起;法令滋彰,盜賊多有。
故聖人云:我無為,而民自化;我好靜,而民自正;我無事,而民自富;我無欲,而民自樸。
Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.

How do I know that this is so?
Because of this!
The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men’s weapons are,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action, and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires, and people return to the good and simple life.
(Translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English )

Sunset of Maui

Lao Tzu lived in the era of the social unrest, and the grim reality made him feel that the rulers, under the authority of power and force, want only to run rampant and do their own thing. Therefore they caused the chaos in the world that resulted in poverty, civil unrest, and crime. Therefore, Lao Tzu put forward a plan for rulers: Inaction – Strive for nothing and be at peace, with no interference and with freedom from desires.

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