Relaxing and Catching Up


The original Chinese article is from I edited and translated it in order to share it with you here.

A famous monastery’s residents included a certain Taoist priest. He had a pet dog, whom he fed every day at 6 pm. This dog had a very bizarre name: “Put Down.” Every day at around sunset, Master Jingxiu delivered food to the animal while calling out: “Put down! Put down!”

One of the priest’s disciples grew curious, so he asked his master: “Why did you give the dog such a strange name?” Master Jing Xiu did not reply. The young disciple decided to watch the old Taoist priest carefully in the hope of discovering the answer to his question. He soon realized that, after feeding the dog, the priest completed his reading of the scriptures for the day. Instead, in the evenings, he went to the courtyard to practice Tai Chi and take a walk.

The young disciple confessed what he had been doing to the Taoist priest and told him the results of his observations. The old Taoist priest smiled, nodded, and said: “You finally understand. When I call out to the dog, I am also telling myself to ‘let go’ of my desire to push myself to complete my work. It is impossible to finish everything in one day; only do what is urgent, and then give yourself a break.”

This point can be further illustrated by this story: A Western expedition team went deep into the hinterland of Africa and hired local tribesmen as porters and guides. Due to time constraints, they needed to travel quickly, and these indigenous people were very hardworking. They could carry a lot of the heavy equipment while still walking fast. The expedition team went as planned for three days, and everyone was thrilled. However, on the morning of the fourth day, when the expedition team was about to set off, the indigenous people decided that they needed to rest and refused to move. The expedition team was completely puzzled. Everyone had gotten along very well those past few days; what had happened? Did they accidentally offend them, or do the men they had hired want more money? Then the leader of the locals explained that according to their tradition, if you have been on the road for three consecutive days, you must stop and rest on the fourth day, lest your soul cannot catch up with your steps. I know that this belief may seem odd to many, but I found it quite touching.


一個著名的寺院裏,住著一位非常有道行的道長。他每天都要在傍晚 6時去餵他的狗。狗的名字很奇怪,叫做「放下」。每到日落時分, 靜修道長就為「放下」送飯了, 嘴裏還一邊呼喚著: 「放下!放下!」

弟子覺得很奇怪, 就問道長?「為什麼要給狗起這個奇怪的名字,為什麼您的狗叫’放下’?」靜修道長不語。小弟子觀察老道長,發現:每天當道長餵完狗後,就不再讀經書,到院中打打太極拳,散散步。




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