Dec 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

To boast of fame is not such a pleasure as to avoid it; to be versed in worldly affairs does not bring such leisure as to be unconcerned with them. Lo, a lone cloud idling across a mountain peak does not care whether it stays there or passes on; while the bright moon hanging in the firmament is indifferent as to whether the world is silent or noisy.

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Oct 17 2017

The Blessings of No Politics

Published by under Transcendentalism

From Walking (1851), by Henry David Thoreau.

I took a walk on Spaulding’s Farm the other afternoon. I saw the setting sun lighting up the opposite side of a stately pine wood. Its golden rays straggled into the aisles of the wood as into some noble hall. I was impressed as if some ancient and altogether admirable and shining family had settled there in that part of the land called Concord, unknown to me—to whom the sun was servant—who had not gone into society in the village—who had not been called on. I saw their park, their pleasure-ground, beyond through the wood, in Spaulding’s cranberry-meadow. The pines furnished them with gables as they grew. Their house was not obvious to vision; the trees grew through it. I do not know whether I heard the sounds of a suppressed hilarity or not. They seemed to recline on the sunbeams. They have sons and daughters. They are quite well. The farmer’s cart-path, which leads directly through their hall, does not in the least put them out, as the muddy bottom of a pool is sometimes seen through the reflected skies. They never heard of Spaulding, and do not know that he is their neighbor,—notwithstanding I heard him whistle as he drove his team through the house. Nothing can equal the serenity of their lives. Their coat-of-arms is simply a lichen. I saw it painted on the pines and oaks. Their attics were in the tops of the trees. They are of no politics. There was no noise of labor. I did not perceive that they were weaving or spinning. Yet I did detect, when the wind lulled and hearing was done away, the finest imaginable sweet musical hum,—as of a distant hive in May, which perchance was the sound of their thinking. They had no idle thoughts, and no one without could see their work, for their industry was not as in knots and excrescences embayed.

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Oct 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

A true heart can cause snow to fly in a summer’s day, a fortified city to fall, or a stone to be pierced; but a hypocrite has only his common clay without a spiritual master. When he is with others, his countenance is hideous; and, when alone, his body and his shadow are ashamed of each other.

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Sep 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

A mind full of light is like a blue sky found in a somber room, but an intention tainted with darkness is like the Demons discovered under the white sun.

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Aug 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

By the side of Honor, Humiliation waits. When honored, one ought not be high-spirited. Behind Poverty, Prosperity follows. When impoverished, why should one be low-spirited?

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Jul 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

Most people can read a book with words but not one without words, and they can play a lyre with strings but not one without strings. How can they derive tranquil pleasure from a book or a lyre, when they exercise their intelligence only on the material, but not on the spiritual, aspect of things?

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Jun 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

A man must neither be found by the Dharma nor entangled by the Void in order to put his body and mind at ease.

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May 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

Sitting by a teapoy in a room bathed with pure breezes and moonbeams, one can read the mind of Heaven in every thing. Walking along a running brook in the clouded mountain, one can observe the mysteries of the Tao in every moment.

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Apr 07 2017

The Secret of Life

Published by under John Cowper Powys

From In Defence of Sensuality (1931), by John Cowper Powys.

The more childish and unworldly a person’s disposition is, the more happiness he gets from such simple things as air, water, sun, earth-mould, sand, leaves, bread, butter, honey, or the still more primeval sensation of a certain delicious drowsiness in his own limbs. This is what I mean by my recurrent image of the ichthyosaurus. What I am trying to indicate by “the ichthyosaurus-sensation” is nothing less than this simple primeval happiness in the immediate experience of being alive. To blink at that mysterious god, the sun; to stare at that equivocal goddess, the moon; to watch the incredible shapes of the clouds, as they pile up above the horizon; to observe, in early afternoon, a certain yellowish light upon a brick wall; to note a certain dark-blue wave of colour, as it sinks down upon the roofs of a city after sunset; to catch the ink-black silhouettes of bare branches against a November sky, just before the windows are lamp-lit in a roadside village; to feel the ploughed-up earth under your feet, and a cold wet wind upon your face; to sit over a fire of wood or of red coals, thinking the long thoughts of vague race-memories–all these things, belonging to a world of psychic-physical sensations that go back to the beginnings of consciousness, are the stuff of which the secret of life is made.

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Apr 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

After the ground has been swept, dust-clouds roll over it. When one begins to act, obstacles arise. After the pool has been dug, the moon shines on it. When one makes one’s mind void, illumination is begotten.

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Mar 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

A man can apprehend Truth at another’s intimation, but he will stray from it. Hence that is not so enlightening as apprehending it completely by himself. And he can secure a pleasure from an extraneous source, but he will lose it. Therefore that is less secure than an ecstasy from within.

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Feb 12 2017

Pure Happiness

Published by under Simple living

From The Way of Contentment (17th century, translated by Ken Hoshino in 1913), by Kaibara Ekken.

There is a happiness called pure happiness, and it is enjoyed by him who has neither too much nor too little. Though he is not recognised by the world and possesses neither position nor wealth, yet he enjoys his peace of mind and leisure hours. He lives in a house which is sufficient to protect him from wind and rain. He wears cotton cloth, and enjoys simple vegetable food. He reads books quietly, and enjoys poetry. To follow the teaching of the Sages is his delight, to see and feel the beauty of Nature his joy. Friends he has also who share with him this pure and simple pleasure in life.

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