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by Fang Xiaoru (1357 - 1402, Ming Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

The mishaps of the world usually begin from the smallest things, which then turn into serious troubles. A seemingly insignificant problem which is neglected in the beginning will become an unresolvable issue in the end.

Just to spare a moment’s effort, a problem is neglected while it still can be easily resolved; it is not until after it progresses, when it begins to consume time and wear out one’s thoughts, do many people begin to deal with it.

── from Guwen Guanzhi (An Anthology of Chinese Classical Prose)


Chase away not those crows on the roof,
For they will return to feed their parents*.
Cook not those wild geese on the lakes,
In flight, they are like brothers.

Witnessing the relations between birds and beasts,
Subsequently reveals the sentiments of nature.
Life itself is tied with family bondage,
How can you not have empathy?
Every union and farewell at the farmer’s house,
Grass and trees thrive and wilt over such.
I vow for three days in spring,
To shed light on an orchid tree;
Along with the same root and same stalk,
To grow and flourish as one.

── from Xunzhi Zhai Ji (Collection of Works from Xunzhi’s Study)

*According to legend, crows are filial pious.