Home | 365 Days for Travelers

SELECTIONS FROM TENDING THE ROOTS OF WISDOM (PART ONE)
WEALTH IS LIKE A FLOWER
by Hong Yingming (Years unknown, Ming Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Wealth and fame:
If acquired by virtue, are like flowers in a forest;
they will naturally flourish.
If acquired by merit, are like flowers in a pot;
they will experience shifts, rise, and fall.
If acquired by power, are like flowers in a bowl;
they cannot take root, wilting is a matter of time.


THE WORLD IN REALITY

Two tasks are considered difficult in this world:
ascending to the sky, and even more difficult, asking others for help.

Two things are considered bitter in this world:
the taste of coptis chinensis*, and even more bitter, poverty.

Two things are considered dangerous in this world:
the world itself, and even more dangerous, the human mind.

Two things are considered thin in this world:
ice in spring, and even thinner, sympathy.

By knowing the difficult, surviving the bitter, detecting the dangerous, and
enduring the thin, one shall be able to deal with the world.


BE STRICT WITH ONESELF AND LENIENT TOWARDS OTHERS
English translation: John Balcom

When someone speaks of me,
It’s better to tolerate it than debate about it.
When someone insults me,
It’s better to let it go than try to prevent it.
Do not be too harsh in chastising people for their unwholesomeness,
You must consider what they can endure.
Do not set the bar too high when teaching people wholesomeness,
You must consider what they are capable of achieving.

── from Cai Gen Tan (Tending the Roots of Wisdom)


SELECTIONS FROM TENDING THE ROOTS OF WISDOM (PART TWO)
ALL IN A THOUGHT
by Hong Yingming (Years unknown, Ming Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang and Zhi Yue

A thought of happiness,
is like the auspicious star and cloud.
A thought of anger,
is like the trembling thunderstorm.
A thought of compassion,
is like the breeze and sweet dew.
A thought of austerity,
is like the scorching sun and autumn frost.


DRIPPING WATER WEARS AWAY THE STONE

Little strokes fell great oaks,
Constant dripping wears away a stone,
One who is learning the Way
needs to exert extra effort.
Where water flows, a canal is formed,
Fruits fall off when ripe,
One who obtains the Way.


A TRANQUIL BODY AND MIND

If this body is in a constant state of carefreeness, who can order me around with the temptations of honor and disgrace, success and failure?

If this mind is in a constant state of tranquility, who can deceive me with right and wrong, gain and loss?


BE SYMPATHETIC TOWARDS THOSE LESS FORTUNATE

When in a place of wealth and nobility,
Be aware of the circumstances of poverty and humbleness.

When in a time of youth and strength,
Be aware of the bitterness of old age and deterioration.

When in a state of joy and stability,
Be sympathetic towards those who are less fortunate.

When in the position of a bystander,
Be aware of the hardship experienced by those involved.

── from Cai Gen Tan (Tending the Roots of Wisdom)