Don’t Take Hasty Actions

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The image is from 茶悦网.

Once there was a man received a precious purple clay teapot. He placed it at the head of his bed every night so no one could steal it away from him.

However one night he accidentally knocked the lid off the teapot in his sleep. After waking up to the noise, he decided to get rid of the teapot: after all, what’s the point keeping a teapot with a broken lid?

So, he grabbed the teapot and threw it out of the window.

The following morning, he found, on the contrary to what he had expected: the teapot lid stayed intact as it landed on his cotton shoes.

Exasperated and frustrated, the man stepped on the lid, crushing it to pieces.

As he stepped outdoors, he encountered another surprise: the teapot he had thrown out of the window the day before hung perfectly intact in a tree outside his window.

 

The image is from Brainy Quote.

Have you ever had the moment when you wish you could take back the hurtful things said to a loved one?  Unlike the teapot that stayed intact, a lot of hurts cannot be undone: it is perfectly human to feel exasperated or disappointed. However it is the actions upon those emotions that make all the difference: had the man decided not to throw out the teapot when exasperated, things would have been a lot different. Therefore, patience is no longer just a virtue, but also a state of mindfulness of the potential consequences of one’s actions.

It did feel like a practical joke however, when our protagonist found that he had thrown out the teapot when the lid was found intact, that there was no going back: he had crushed his own chances:  In fact,  luck had always been on his side: fate did not ruin his lid, he was the one who did.

Isn’t it ironic that it has never crossed our minds that it is ourselves who created our “bad luck” when hope and light have always proven to be on our side?

Note:

Archaeological excavations reveal that as early as the Song dynasty (10th century) potters near Yixing were using local “zisha” (紫砂 or 紫泥 ; literally, “purple sand/clay”) to make utensils that may have functioned as teapots. According to the Ming dynasty author Zhou Gaoqi, during the reign of the Zhengde Emperor, a monk from Jinsha Temple (Golden Sand Temple) in Yixing handcrafted a fine quality teapot from local clay. Such teapots soon became popular with the scholarly class, and the fame of Yixing teapots began to spread.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yixing_clay_teapot

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 62

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道者萬物之奧。
善人之寶,不善人之所保。
美言可以市,尊行可以加人。
人之不善,何棄之有?
故立天子,置三公,雖有拱璧以先駟馬,不如坐進此道。
古之所以貴此道者何?
不曰:以求得,有罪以免耶?故為天下貴。

Tao is the mysterious secret of the universe,
The good man’s treasure,
And the bad man’s refuge.
Beautiful saying can be sold at the market,
Noble conduct can be presented as a gift.
Though there be bad people,
Why reject them?

Therefore on the crowning of an emperor,
On the appointment of the Three Ministers,
Rather than send tributes of jade and teams of four horses,
Send in the tribute of Tao.
Wherein did the ancients prize this Tao?
Did they not say, “to search for the guilty ones and pardon them”?
Therefore is (tao) the treasure of the world.
(Translation by Yu Tang Lin)

Image of Xinjiang(新疆), China by Kue chu Chen

 

This chapter once again promotes the benefits and functions of tao. Lao Tzu thought that the “tao,” which is silent, is not only the magic weapon of the good but also for the bad person to keep. Therefore, this chapter points out that the world should be equal before the word “tao. ” Tao” protects the good, but it does not abandon the unscrupulous one. Tao answers the prayers of the people and forgives the faults of them. This is the valuable aspect of the Tao.

Lao Tzu gave an example of the significant offering. The most important ceremony in ancient China was the crowning of the Emperor and the installation of the Emperor’s three ministers(太师、太傅、太保). The ceremony included the offerings of large and valuable jade and a team of four horses. The Tao is valuable, and it surpassed those offerings. In another word, no material could compare the Tao; the Tao is priceless.

Why did ancient cherish the Tao? It was because the Tao brought them to the way of nature. For those who live in the society that follows the law of nature, they will gain the protection, and they are all equal. Not only for good also for the bad for Tao will not find fault in them, but they can also perfect and improve themselves, thereby they become better and better. Therefore the Tao is considered the greatest treasure of all.

Lesson of Letting Go

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An old man selling porcelain bowls was walking along the road carrying a pole.

Suddenly a porcelain bowl fell to the ground and broke, but the old man kept walking forward without turning his head.

When a passersby saw it, he felt strange and asked: “Why is your bowl broken and you don’t look at it?”

The old man replied, “No matter whether I look back or not, the bowl is still broken.”

The image is from Berry Thoughtful Life.

 

Enlightenment:

Learn to accept and let go of what you have lost. Things will not come back because of your grief, and you can’t change the result.

Let bygones be bygones, and your life will be free of burden.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 61

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大國者下流,天下之交,天下之牝。
牝常以靜勝牡,以靜為下。
故大國以下小國,則取小國;小國以下大國,則取大國。
故或下以取,或下而取。
大國不過欲兼畜人,小國不過欲入事人。
夫兩者各得其所欲,大者宜為下。
The big country is like the downstream of the river
It is the converging point of the world
The female of the universe.

The female always overcomes the male with quietude
Lying low in stillness.

Thus if the big country is humble to the small country
Then it can conquer the small country
If the small country is humble to the big country
Then it can be accepted by the big country
Thus one uses the lower position to take
The other uses the lower position to be accepted

The big country wants to gather and protect people
The small country wants to be sheltered
So that both obtain what they wish
The big country should place itself low

The big country should be like the downstream of the river so that whole world will meet here. She is in the position of the females. Softness and quietness of female overcome the strength of the males. Therefore big country shows the humbleness and respects to the small country and it will win over the submission of the small country. Whereas the small country humbles and respects the big country, and it will gain the trust from the big country in return.

A big country does this is for the sake of receiving all and shelter them. A small country does so is for mutual respect and non-aggression. Therefore, reaching the mutual respect through humbleness, both big or small countries achieve the best strategy. The key is that a big country should be humble and respect the small country in good faith.

Doing by Doing Nothing

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On Friday night, I watched my favorite program, the Voice: China. They usually have four very notable singers as judges. These judges each pick 5 or 6 students out of all of the contestants that enter. It was very competitive, and sometimes all the judges would like a single singer and try to get them to join their team. After many auditions, each judge was happy with who they selected. They would train their contestants, and then each judge’s team would compete with the others.

The image is from Cfensi – WordPress.com.

The other night, when I watched it, instead of competing, the contestants did duets with one judge and then were critiqued by the other judges. I happened to watch this group belonging to Jay Chou, with two female students. The song the first one sang was called Peace. I thought she sang well, but when the second one sang, I felt more at peace, even though her song was more lively and lighthearted. Afterwards, the judges picked the singer they liked the most.

The thing that got to me was that a judge mentioned that the girl who sang Peace had tried so hard to express her feeling that she did not sing with peace as well, so the listener could not feel it either.
At first, I thought his criticism was tough, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that this is what I was trying to reach when I start to read Lao Tzu. As you can see, the second singer won the competition, and the judges voted for her overwhelmingly because her singing was full of joy and calmness, and sounded more natural and helped the listener feel the same. You didn’t feel that she tried at all, that she was just being herself and made the song her own. It simply flowed naturally.

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