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Posts by Alice Lin
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 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.
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.
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
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
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.
It takes 20 seconds to finish reading a short story, but it can take long time to find the essence of the story.
A man treated his wife better than before they were married.
At a party, his friends laughed at him and asked him: “How come you didn’t love your wife more before marriage?”
He smiled and said: “There were many boys that chased her and were good to her before we were married. I got her because I treated her the best.
After the marriage, I needed to treat her even better so she would not feel that she had lost it.”
A cat and pig were good friends.
One day the cat fell into a pit. The pig brought a rope, but when the cat called the pig to throw the rope down, the pig threw the whole bundle down.
The cat was frustrated and said: “You threw the whole rope down, how are you supposed to pull me up?”
The pig said: “What should I have done?”
The cat said: “You should have held one end of the rope!”
The pig jumped down into the pit and grabbed the end of the rope, then said, “Now I’ve got you!”
The cat cried and felt loved because she understood that some people might not be brilliant, but whatever they do, they would always be your friend.
A conversation from a pair of newlyweds.
Bride: Tell me, will we be together in the next life?
Groom: You asked me this question in the previous life.
” Dyeing Hair”
Today, my father dyed his hair at home.
I asked him, “Dad, you are almost 60. Do you want to look young so you can attract women?”
My dad said, “I dye my hair black before I go back to visit your grandmother so that she will think I am young, and that she is not old.”
A father is 75 years old. One day, a crow flew in their direction.
He asked, “What is this?”
The son replied, “It is a crow.”
After a while, the father asked again, “What is this?”
The son was frustrated and roared, “That is a crow, What is wrong with you?”
Then another day, his son opened his father’s diary to an entry that was written 40 years ago.
“Today, my son was three years old, and he pointed to the crow in the park and asked me what it was.
I told him that it was a crow. He asked me again, and I answered again.
He asked 11 times, and I answered 11 times.”
A man of morals is like water.
Water benefits everything without evoking conflicts or resistance.
It willingly takes the dirtiness that everyone hates within itself instead, so it is close to resembling “Tao.”
A man of morals always falls back and humbles himself,
His heart is deep and silent.
He treats people with love and kindness.
He has nothing but sincerity in his words.
He governs with fairness.
He is competent in business.
He chooses the right time to take action.
There is nothing to contend with,
so he is without reproach.
Image from Forbes
Our bodies are 66-70% water, so if we are too dehydrated, we cannot survive. We need water. Moreover, the earth is also called a water planet. The Earth is a watery place. About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered. Water plays a significant role for humans and the Earth. All living creatures on this planet are dependent on the water; the water is the source of life.
You might have heard the story of the jar – a life lesson by a professor to her students. I would like to use the same ingredients to show you the character of water. If we fill the jar with large rocks, we can still put small pebbles inside, and again we can still put sand in as well. The story serves to demonstrate that we should not focus on little things that trouble us, but rather, keep in mind our large goals in the midst of them. The lesson she tells ends here, but I want to point out that the full jar can still be filled with water.
When looking at the character of water, one might notice that the water only flows downward to the lowest place. It has no constant shape nor steady flow. We see nothing in water but humbleness and harmony without competition. No wonder Lao Tzu regards water as Tao. Water fills any spaces that we lack in because it travels to the bottom and because water is shapeless as it flows. The water is the Tao in our full lives.
In 2012, Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work as a writer “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”.
He is best known to Western readers for his 1987 novel Red Sorghum Clan, of which the Red Sorghum and Sorghum Wine volumes were later adapted for the film Red Sorghum. Below are some of his writings.
有 一天“我”字 丟了一撇，成了“找”字， 為找回那一撇，“我”問 了很多人，那一撇代表什麼？商 人說是金錢，政客說是權力，明 星說是名氣，軍人說是榮譽，工 人說是工資，學生說是分數…
最 後“生 活”告 訴“我”那 一撇是：健康和快樂，沒有它 們，什麼都是浮雲！
When the Chinese word for “I” (我) loses a stroke, it becomes the word for “searching” (找). I asked a lot of people, what does that stroke stand for? Businessmen say it is money, politicians say it is power, celebrities say it is fame, soldiers say it is honor, workers say it is wages, students say it is grades…
Finally, “life” tells me that it is is health and happiness, because without it, everything becomes nothing!
莫 言自嘲說他年輕時怕多言，易於 開罪別人，所以筆名“莫 言”。
特 别是他說他敬佩的兩種人，表達 得非常好。
Mo Yan was ridiculed because he was afraid of offending people when he was young, so he used the pen name “Mo Yan.”(In Chinese, it means “do not talk”). As a result, he wrote more than he spoke, and his words got him the Nobel Prize in literature.
Here are his words, and his philosophy of life:
I admire two kinds of people:
A woman who stays with a man through hard times when she is young;
And a man who stays with a woman when he becomes rich.
I stay away from two kinds of people:
The person who stretches out their hands for any good thing;
And the person who dodge when they encounter hardship.
I miss two kinds of people:
The lover who helps you in a time of difficulty;
And the friend who treats you from the heart.
I decline two kinds of people:
Those who do things immorally;
And those who have no sincerity.
I am responsible for two kinds of people:
The one who gave birth to me;
And the ones I gave birth to.
I cherish two kinds of people:
Anyone who dares to lend me money;
And those who care about me!