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Posts by Alice Lin
In caring for others and serving heaven,
There is nothing like using restraint (harvesting).
Restraint (Harvesting) begins by giving up one’s ideas.
This depends on Virtue gathered in the past.
If there is a good store of Virtue, then nothing is impossible.
If nothing is impossible, then there are no limits.
If a man knows no limits, then he is fit to be a ruler.
The mother principle of ruling holds good for a long time.
This is called having deep roots and a firm foundation,
The Tao of long life and eternal vision.
(Translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.)
The image is from Harvesting Rice, Agri-Crop | Deped K to 12.
The best way to manage people and serve heaven is to follow the laws of nature just as farmers do when they harvest grain. Harvesting grains is a simple way to follow Tao.
The average scholar interprets it as “being frugal, restrained, perseverant, and stingy.” But if we check the origin of the word 「嗇」(the last word of the first sentence of the Chinese text-治人事天莫若嗇), it has the meaning of harvesting of grain by the farmer. In my opinion, harvesting grain is the best way to reflect the law of natural growth. it is the core idea of Laozi’s Taoism and the essence of “Taoism is natural law.”
The general idea is to do things according to the laws of nature and to practice virtue. Then the practice of virtue will be invincible. There is no limit to the way of nature. When the Tao of nature cannot be exhausted, it is the beginning of a nation. When one knows not what the limit shall be, he may be the ruler of a state.
When he has a firm spiritual foundation in the Tao, he will be everlasting.
It is like the plant which roots are deep and which flower stalks are firm so that they will last longer. Similarly, through the principle of harvesting and cultivating virtue, the ruler will make the country he founds to continue for generations.
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.”
“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.
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.
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?”
“Is it nice?”
“Yes, it’s nice.”
“Now do you understand?”
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!
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.