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REFLECTION AND BEING GRATEFUL (EXCERPT)
by Lan Yinding (1903 - 1979)
English translation: Zhi Yue

The human eye can be likened to looking out a one-way mirror from the inside. Whatever the lenses are focused upon, from astronomy to geography, it apprehends the multitude of sentient beings in the entire cosmos, but yet it omits the “self.” We are unable to clearly perceive our own daily actions, so we appear to need a guide to instruct us which direction to go in. Who and where then, is this guide?

I believe there are two. One of them always advises and reminds us with gentleness and tact: they are called friends.

In contrast, those who use belittling and harsh language to ridicule and attack us: they are called enemies!

Without the guidance of others, we will neither have reminders nor progress. Criticism forces us to advance every step of the way, while warning us of the bottomless abyss into which we can fall. Having such a helpful friend is truly our good fortune, so why not be grateful?

A contemporary eminent writer in Japan, Kawabata Yasunari, has believed in two words his entire life: “be grateful.” If we can often make use of these two words, I believe that our enemies will eventually dissipate and go into hiding, or will change their stance and attitude into one of friendship.

── from Dinglu Xiaoyu (Dinglu’s Musings)