Recently I traveled to Suzhou, China to visit a large Japanese IT company and promote cooperation between their organization and Logic Solutions. While there, a local friend took me to the nearby mountain to tour a Buddhist temple. I am not a Buddhist, but I like visiting temples because there is always something to learn and see.
A huge painting on the wall attracted my attention. My friend said the subjects of the painting are two famous Buddhist monks having an interesting conversation. Most Chinese know about the stories of these two monks. I was able to understand about 95% of the scripted words that the artist painted. But because I left Taiwan when I was almost 16, my Chinese history and literacy is somewhat behind the locals’. So, I immediately “Googled” these two monks and learned their stories.
They are among the greatest poets and philosophers in the Chinese history. The literal translations of the monks’ names are Cold-Mountain (寒山) and Pick-Up (拾得). You can read the stories of Cold-Mountain and Pick-Up on Wikipedia, but I’ll summarize their conversation:
Cold-Mountain asked Pick-up, “If one slanders me, insults me, sneers at me, despises me, injures me, hates me, and deceives me, what should I do?”
Pick-up replied, “Only bear with him, yield to him, let him, avoid him, endure him, respect him, and ignore him. And after a few years, you just look at him.”
The original Chinese, which is more interesting, is as follows:
You may remember I wrote a blog a while back that included my admiration for Adam Grant’s Taker and Giver. While we need more givers and fewer takers in this world, we also need to forgive more and offend less. Jealousy, greed, impatience, anger, hunger for power, all cause fights at home, at office, between organizations, and countries.
These days when I get very upset, I think of what Pick-Up replied to Cold-Mountain. It is very difficult to practice in reality, but it helps to try. It helps to reduce my stress level and avoid conflict.
It is so important to give more and take less. It is so much harder to forgive than give, but it is so much more wonderful to forgive and not offend. This would be a much better world if we could all give and forgive a lot more.
Oh, and I can’t forget to say something about technology: Google and Wikipedia are my best friends in learning a lot of Chinese stories and history when I travel.