Four Things That Endanger a Society

September 30, 2013 at 10:00 am | Posted in Asia, Culture, Discoveries, Discussion, Good Advice, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

September 18, 2013 | By Li Qing

Minghui.org

Around 2,400 years ago, about 10 nations coexisted in China, and each had its own king. One day, King Hui of the Wei Nation invited the other kings to his magnificent palace for a feast. Among them was King Gong of the Lu Nation (the nation where Confucius was from). When King Hui proposed a toast, King Gong told a story about the factors that lead to a nation’s destruction:

“Yidi was good at making wine, and she once gave some to King Yu, who tasted it and liked it very much. Nonetheless, from then on, King Yu abstained from wine and distanced himself from Yidi. Yu said, ‘I know some kings in the future will ruin their nations for greed for good wine.’

“When King Huan of the Qi Nation felt hungry one night, renowned cook Yi Ya prepared a delicious meal for him. King Huan really liked it and ate a lot, which made it difficult for him to wake up the next morning. King Huan then said, ‘Some kings in the future will lose their nations over their fondness for delicious food.’

“After King Wen of the Jin Nation obtained the beautiful Nan Zhiwei, he indulged himself in sensuous pleasure for three days before returning to his work on national affairs. He thus sent Nan away and said, ‘Future kings will ruin their nations for over indulging sensuously in beauty.’

“When King Zhao went up a tower to view the scenery surrounding his kingdom, he was deeply impressed by the great mountains and rivers. He was so impressed that he almost forgot everything else. He thus promised to never again forget his duties and warned others: ‘Someone in the future will lose his nation after exerting too much effort in building grand structures and being too moved by beautiful scenes.’

King Gong then concluded that any one of the four indulgences from the story could lead a nation to destruction. During this feast, however, King Hui had gathered all four types of pleasure, which could be an alerting sign.

King Hui heard these words and wholeheartedly agreed with King Gong.

Using History as a Guide

The story offers insight into the many examples of this kind from history. The Zhou, Shang, Qin, and Sui Dynasties all came to an end as a result of over-indulgences by their rulers. When kings have recklessly sought for physiological or material pleasure, they’ve doomed themselves for destruction.

Similar things are also taking place in contemporary China. Especially over the past two decades, seeking material pleasure has become a stronger and more accepted trend. Government officials now go all out in the pursuit of self interest. Officials in all spheres of society openly accept bribes at the demise of society’s well-being. Mass food consumption and untended waste from public works projects are skyrocketing at unprecedented levels. Prostitution, including the exploitation of under-aged young girls, is now commonplace. Moral degeneration on the whole has reached an unprecedented level.

After recognizing the communist regime’s corruption and inevitable deterioration, especially through reading the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party nearly 140 million people have publicly declared their intentions to quit the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations. Such an occurrence is an encouraging sign for China and the rest of the world.

Chinese version available

CATEGORY: Traditional Art and Culture

Taken from: http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2013/9/18/142085.html

Advertisements

Crave Less, Live More

June 17, 2013 at 12:17 am | Posted in Good Advice, Reflections, Relevance to Today | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What primary foods can do for you

By Tysan Lerner | June 15, 2013

Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. (Epoch Times)

Most of us spend years searching for the perfect diet and the perfect way to feel healthy, energized, and attractive. Scientific studies are launched one after another, showing how each new diet that comes along is superior to the one before.

It’s Not Just About Food

What we eat is deeply important. Food nourishes our blood, our cells, and our brains, but who we are being between meals is just as important for good health as what we eat.
So, as you embark on your health journey, look not only at what you put into your mouth, but also at who you are when you eat, what is your life is like, and what you are doing with your body, the temple of your soul, on a daily basis.

Joshua Rosenthal, founder of Integrative Nutrition, has coined the term “primary foods.” He says: “Food is more than what you find on your plate. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.”

I used to think that if I ate a balanced diet, it would bring me into balance. That I would feel centered, awake, and happy to be alive. I became obsessed with finding the perfect way to eat, hoping I would soon find the balance I so craved.

As a result, I did look and feel physically better. My digestion and skin improved. I had more consistent levels of energy, fewer headaches, and less belly fat, but I still struggled with my mood and weight. I kept thinking, I must fine-tune my diet even more. I must get this right.

But here’s the thing, eating right wasn’t going to fix my financial issues, my relationships, my lack of creative expression, or my body composition. Nor was eating right going to bring me closer to higher spiritual ground.

Eating right helped me fix my physical body, but not my mindset. And when I finally understood this, my life began to change.

Getting in Alignment

According to Rosenthal, there are four common areas in peoples’ lives that carry a lot of weight for them: relationships, career, fitness, and spirituality. Take a look at each of these areas in your life and think about how they are going for you.

Do you feel that they are in alignment with who you are and what you value? Rather than allowing them to just happen to you, think deeply about what you want them to look like for you and how you can make them work even better.

An Exercise to Get Started

Take four pieces of blank paper. Label each with one life area: relationships, career, fitness, and spirituality. Create two columns on each paper. One column is for the things that are nurturing this aspect of your life, and the other column is for the things missing in this aspect of your life.

Write down one thing you can do on each page to help improve this area of your life. At the end of the day, when you have filled your life with healthier primary foods, enjoy craving less, and living more.

—-

Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is http://www.lavendermamas.com

Taken from: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/110111-crave-less-live-more/

By Doing Good We Benefit Ourselves

January 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Posted in Asia, Children's Stories, Culture, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Stories from China | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

To the reader,

Enjoy this wonderful story from the Qing Dynasty (the last dynasty of China). It’s very touching. I hope this story will inspire compassionate thoughts in your life. Have a great day, and a wonderful new year!

Kind regards,
June Taylor

August 04, 2012 | By Chufan

(Minghui.org) A broker in the Qing dynasty, Mr. Zhang, crossed the Yangtze River from the north to Jiangning, also known as Nanjing, to collect a debt. He planned to return home for the New Year holiday right before the year ended. With his belongings on his shoulder, he left very early, but had to wait under the eave of a building in the market for the city gate to be opened.

After waiting for some time, Mr. Zhang got so tired that he gave up, put down his cloth bag filled with gold and silver, sat on it, and closed his eyes to rest. When the city gate opened, he rushed to the gate with his belongings on his shoulder, completely forgetting the cloth bag he had been sitting on. When he realized he did not have the bag with him, it was more than one li (~0.3 mile) away. He immediately hurried back to the site. But the marketplace was already crowded with people and his bag was gone.

Mr. Zhang frowned and hovered nearby, hoping that someone might return his bag. An elderly man appeared and asked what had happened. He listened, then invited Mr. Zhang to his home and said, “I found a bag on the ground when I opened the door this morning. I don’t know if it is yours.” Mr. Zhang replied, “Inside the bag are two envelopes, each with a certain amount of silver bullion. The larger one belongs to my boss and the smaller one is mine.” The elderly man checked the items in the bag, which were exactly as Mr. Zhang had described. He thus returned the bag to Mr. Zhang.

Mr. Zhang was moved to tears and wished to thank him by giving him his own silver bullion. The elderly man smiled and replied, “I would not have told you about the bag if I loved money so much. Do you understand?” Mr. Zhang asked the elderly man his name and left for home.

When Mr. Zhang was waiting by the river for the ferry, a strong wind suddenly started up. Many boats capsized, and many passengers were drowning. Seeing this terrible scene, Mr. Zhang had a compassionate thought: “I recovered the lost bullion today. Without it, I would have been dead. I indeed regained my life.” Using all of his own money, he hired people to rescue those who were drowning. Several dozen people were saved by his compassionate thought.

All the survivors came to thank Mr. Zhang for saving them. One of them happened to be the son of the elderly man who had returned Mr. Zhang’s lost bag to him. He was on his way home to Nanjing after finishing business in the north area of the Yangtze River. Mr. Zhang was surprised about this. He then told his own story to those present, and everyone was amazed at the miracle. They realized it must be the heavenly law of good is rewarded with good. Later, these two families became relatives by marriage.

In this story, the elderly man did not keep the fortune he found for himself and did not ask for a reward for doing a good deed. He not only saved Mr. Zhang during his hardship, but also planted a seed in Mr. Zhang’s heart to do good deeds, thus laying an opportunity for his own son to be saved later.

Can you imagine what might have happened if the elderly man had kept it for himself? Mr. Zhang might have killed himself over the huge financial loss, and in turn, would not have had the chance to save many people from drowning, including the son of the elderly man. Even if Mr. Zhang did not die and was compassionate toward those who were drowning, he would not have had the money to hire people to help rescue them. On the other hand, it would have been worse if Mr. Zhang had not cared about those who were drowning because of his own misfortune.

An old saying advises, “Doing good deeds without seeking repayment will inspire others to be compassionate and resolve your own tribulation; helping people in need will help them accumulate money to do good deeds and you will receive help from others.

Finally, the following saying provides sound advice, “It is better do small good deeds to build up fortune for the future than to sigh over the decline in morality; it is better to help others every day so that you might be helped in hard times than to sigh over degenerate morals.”

Story from Xi Chao Xin Yu by Xu Xiling and Qian Young, Qing Dynasty

Chinese version available

CATEGORY: Traditional Art and Culture

Two Ancient Stories of Honoring Teachers

October 14, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Posted in Asia, Culture, Discoveries, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

August 31, 2012 | By Zhi Zhen

(Minghui.org) The emphasis of discipline and showing respect to one’s teacher are traditional values found in ancient Chinese culture, and such sayings as “A teacher to a student is like a father to a son,” and “A teacher even for one day should be respected as a father forever” were common. A student looks to his teacher as a profound person akin to his father, thus calling him “gracious teacher” or “master.” Teachers impart ethics, knowledge and values to their students. They teach people proper manners for interacting with each other, and for handling things in society at large. While learning from the teacher, a student must not only clearly understand the principle of respectfully serving the teacher from his heart, but also faithfully performing what the teacher imparts to him. Below are a few examples of how the ancients respected their teachers.

Emperors Yao and Shun Honored Xu You

Xu You was a noble scholar in ancient China with high moral standards. He considered moral principles more important than personal gain, and according to the book “Zhuangzi” he was Emperor Yao’s teacher. The “Lu’s Spring and Autumn Annals states that he was also the teacher of Emperor Shun. All three were considered to be sages.

The land of China was peaceful and prosperous during the reign of Emperor Yao. Although Emperor Yao appointed many wise persons to assist with the governance of the country, he was still worried about possibly overlooking many qualified people. To uncover those people, Emperor Yao often searched everywhere, including outlying villages and remote mountains. When Emperor Yao heard of a man called Xu You who was virtuous and had high morals, he traveled a long way to visit him. After a conversation, Xu realized that Emperor Yao was indeed the Emperor. Emperor Yao admired Xu for his profound knowledge in the universe’s principles, and asked him to be his teacher.

After returning to the palace, Emperor Yao thought of handing over his reign to Xu. He thus asked the Secretary of Agriculture to take care of the nation’s business and set out to invite Xu to the palace. When he met Xu in a low-lying area, Emperor Yao was very respectful to him and treated him as his teacher. Emperor Yao said: “I, your student, am poor in virtue and weak in ability. When I took over the country, I made a vow that I would rule it temporarily. I said that I would visit all sages and invite one of them to lead the country. I thoroughly believe that your ability and virtues are as bright as the sun and moon, and no sage can eclipse you. I am willing to give you the country. It will be good for the people if you accept this offer without hesitation.” Xu responded: “You have led the country to peace and prosperity and made people rich and happy. This credit is yours. If I were to take over credit and your job, wouldn’t it mean that I am doing it to gain fame?” Emperor Yao persistently tried to persuade Xu to take the position, but Xu firmly declined. When Emperor Yao when to visit Xu the next day, he was gone, and no one knew where he went.

Emperor Yao continuously searched for Xu and finally located him one year later, farming on the foothills of Songshan mountain. While working on the land one day, Xu heard someone approaching and yelling “Teacher.” Xu looked up and saw Emperor Yao. He was surprised and asked: “What does the Emperor come here for? Is there anything I can do?” Emperor Yao said: “I planned to let you be in charge of the country last time because I was afraid that my poor ability and virtue might mislead the people. It was unexpected that Teacher declined the position and left. I have now been sincerely asking anyone with sublime virtues to assist me in ruling the country. After carefully thinking, no one is better to do this than Teacher. I thus come again to sincerely ask you to become the head of the Nine States (these were the territorial divisions of the nation at that time). It will be fortunate not only for me but for everyone in the country if you accept the position.” Hearing this, Xu said: “I do not understand what you said. I have never heard of anyone being head of the Nine States, only the Emperor, and that is you.” Emperor Yao explained: “Originally, there was no such title. I created it for you to show my sincerity. Please accept it.” Xu declined again and moved away to live as a hermit in a solitary place, and could no longer be found. The people knew of this story and praised Emperor Yao for his generosity and humility, and Xu You for his virtue.

When Emperor Shun was farming at Lishan, he often gave away fertile lands to others because of his righteous virtues. Within six months, farmers were politely taking barren lands and also left the fertile lands for others. Emperor Shun was well respected in Lishan, so much so that he, instead of the government, was sometimes asked to judge and settle arguments. Because of him, many people moved to live in Lishan, causing this outlying area to gradually grow into a prosperous region. Everyone there called Emperor Shun the sage, adding: “Everyone the sage meets will indeed be assimilated. The sage teaches us justice and giving, instead of taking and corruption.”

When touring Chishan one time after farming, Emperor Shun saw an elderly man walking towards him. The man then suddenly tripped over a rock and fell to the ground. Emperor Shun rushed to help him and let him sit down to rest. Emperor Shun asked the man his name and where he lived. The man answered: “Why do you ask? I have not told people my name for many years.” Then the elderly man asked about his name. When Emperor Shen told him his name, the man smiled and said: “Oh! You are the one. I have heard so much about you. Alright, I will tell you my name, but just keep it between us.” After Emperor Shun promised repeatedly, the elderly man said: “My name is Xu You.” Emperor Shun immediately knelt on the ground and bowed his head to show his respect. He said to Xu: “Where do you live? I will walk you home.” Xu smiled: “That is very good of you. Thank you. I live on the other side of Chishan.” Emperor Shun replied: “It is my honor.” After talking to Emperor Shun at his home, Xu accepted the request to be his teacher. The next day, Emperor Shun presented a lot of gifts to Xu for accepting him as his student. Emperor Shun learned many principles from Xu You, which helped guide him to become a heavenly-inspired, benevolent emperor.

Zeng Shen Sincerely Complied with the Teachings

Zeng Shen became a student of Confucius at the age of 16. He was studious and sincerely compliant with his master’s teachings, and became the main successor and disseminator of Confucianism, playing an important connecting role between generations in Confucius culture. His motto, “multiple self-reflections daily,” meant that he repeatedly examined himself every day to determine whether he had done his best for others, been honest to his friends, or reviewed his teacher’s homework diligently.

There is a classical story called “Zeng Shen showing his respect,” in which Confucius asked Zeng one time when Zeng was sitting next to him: “Former kings had sublime virtues and profound theories that they used to teach their people. Do you know why people could live in harmony and there was no dissatisfaction between the kings and their subordinates?” Knowing that Confucius was going to teach him profound principles, Zeng immediately got up and stood beyond the edge of the mat. He then respectfully answered: “I am not wise enough to know the reason. Please teach me.” This was a demonstration of great respect for the teacher. People have later learned this etiquette from Zeng Shen.

After returning to the State of Lu from Chu with Confucius, Zeng farmed during the day and studied in the evening until midnight every day. He was poor because he did not hold any official position. The king of Lu heard the good virtues of Zeng, and decided to bestow him with a piece of land. Zeng declined the offer, citing that he could not accept the land without doing any work to earn it. The king’s envoy advised him: “Why don’t you accept, since you did not ask for it?” Zeng sincerely replied: “I often hear that a giver has pride, while a receiver is humble. Even though the giver is not prideful, how can I not be humble?” Knowing that, Confucius praised him: “Zeng’s words have proved his moral integrity.”

After Confucius died, Zeng and other students such as Zi Xia, Zi Zhang, Zi You and You Ruo went into a period of mourning for three years. At the end of the mourning period, they bowed in unison to Confucius’ grave and then left in tears. Zi Xia, Zi Zhang and Zi You then proposed: “Since You Ruo looks like teacher, we can make believe that he is Confucius and serve him as sincerely and courteously as we did Confucius. Doing so would show our respect for teacher.” Zeng became very angry and was opposed to the idea. He said assertively: “We should not do this. Teacher’s virtue was so clean, like being washed by the clear river water, and so bright, like being bathed by the autumn sunshine. His virtue was also as glorious as the vast universe. How can he be compared to someone who just looks like him?” They we astonished at what Zeng said, and were deeply moved by his sincerity to his teacher and his meticulous etiquette.

RELATED ARTICLES

Tales From the Practice of Medicine: Lack of Forbearance Can Ruin Health

October 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Children's Stories, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By Yu Lin

A patient whom I will call Rita came to me to treat her Parkinson’s disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, Parkinson’s disease is called “trembling paralysis.” 

Rita was referred to me by a doctor of Western medicine. She had been suffering from this ailment for three years. Both her hands trembled, but the right one trembled more severely than the left.

When Rita tried to eat, the food always fell to the floor before it reached her mouth because of her severe trembling. Although there were improvements after I treated her for a while, they were always followed by relapses.

After several relapses, I began to carefully inquire about recent events in her life. She related her story to me about events that had tormented her for the past three years.

While she was telling the story, her mood changed from one of tranquility to agitation, then anger, followed by sorrow. It was then that I understood the real cause of her illness and how the affliction arose.

“My husband and I own and operate a company that transports shipping containers, and we have a villa on an island. Along with our neighbor, we were the only residents of the island, and we shared a common private road. Because the road was in disrepair, we proposed that we share expenses to repair it, but they declined and we had no alternative but to do it ourselves.

“We never imagined that the contractor who repaired the road would inadvertently leave a pile of rocks in the middle of the road, which greatly inconvenienced the neighbors when they used the road.

“They thought that we had acted rashly in anger and had it done on purpose. So they closed a gate on their property, blocking a short cut we had been using to get to our villa. We then had to drive several extra miles to reach our home.

“My husband started talking about their actions with foul language and then in anger cut off their water supply. We had installed the water supply system, and the neighbor connected to it in order to save money.

“They almost went mad with anger and cemented a pile of stones in the middle of the road, thus completely blocking our way home. This cost us $2,000 worth of road repairs, and we became absolutely irreconcilable enemies. On top of that, the most intolerable thing was that both of us had to seek legal assistance, which ended up costing about $2 million!

“For the past three years, we have not been able to live in the villa. And the neighbors cannot live in their home either. Our conflict is now at the stage of a life-and-death struggle. Because the court has not delivered a verdict, we are unable to sell the villa, and we cannot live there but must keep up the maintenance of the house. …”

As she spoke, I could see she was trembling with anger. Her face was red, and she appeared to be on the borderline of collapse.

Seeing her pain and anger, I could see the root of the recurring relapses. Anger adversely affects the liver, thereby causing irritation and more anger. With this being the case, it causes discomfort, harming the flow of energy, the spirit, and the body.

It did not occur to her that the fight with her neighbor was nothing when measured against her own life. In fact, with just one thought, the conflict could have been easily dispelled, but now, because of small-mindedness, the dispute continued endlessly with much money spent in vain, and with only constant misery left.

I knew that her illness could not be cured with medicine alone, but rather must be cured from its root. So I spoke to Rita about forbearance, explaining the principle to her.

I told her, “Take a step back, as the sea and sky are boundless, and endure a bit, as even a flower will bloom in the shade of the willow tree.”

After listening to me, Rita said that if she had heard those words three years ago, she would have never allowed the situation to develop to what it was today.

I talked to her about the principles of “Zhen Shan Ren” (truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance), and about Falun Dafa, a meditation and exercise practice. I also spoke to her about reincarnation and the reciprocating effects of karma.

It was the first time she had heard of these principles. “Oh, my! Is it true that we have deviated so far from truth, compassion, and forbearance that such tribulations are upon us? Is it because we have done many bad deeds in our past lives, and now owe lots of debts to others?” she asked.

“Is that why we are suffering such retributions? Is it correct to suppose that they are warnings for us? Perhaps God allows us to be humans so that we can show kindness to others.”

Her hands stopped trembling. As she left, she said to me, “Doctor, you have assuaged my three years of depression and resentment.”

I did not say more but just watched as she walked away with a huge sigh of relief.

Translated from Zhengjian.org

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.