289 To become true
Even if you have many honors and official ranks
How about their usefulness?
Practice ascetism and become true
The real body of Buddha is immortal
Containing a myriad eternal springs
Whatever you achieve is without value if
you don’t find your own truth, your true
soul. Inner truth does not care about worldly
accomplishments. Finding your truth is the
real purpose of life, everything else is just
‘what you do’, not what you are. Make sure
your life is about more than ‘what you do’.
真身 Your real self or: the real body of Buddha
長春 Longlasting springs or: vitality.
290 Thinking it out
Walking and walking
Meeting a dog
Urgently your thoughts are seeking
You take charge for a long time
When you see an opportunity, it will only be one if you grasp it. Or if it is something not good, if you avoid it. Life gives innumerable chances, over and over again. Some people are clever and use them to their advantage, others don’t even notice them when they bark in their face.
291 Lock the doors
Not aware of the true information,
Information comes unexpectedly.
The moon waxes and wanes in the night,
You should not leave the locks of the doors open.
Rumors and tidings will always fly around. Good and bad ones, true and false ones. Make your own decisions, make your life secure so nothing can harm you. Believing everything others say will not only make you insecure but also vulnerable. Keep your eyes and ears open but close your doors.
292 Learn about danger
Deal with big fires or else they will not stop
Deal with deep waters or else you are a fool
In the end they serve as deliberation
Not to invoke disasters
Disasters teach you how to deal with them. First of all, not to freeze and not to panic. Both are disastrous in themselves, in any situation. They also teach you about their size, how it is paramount to make sure they cannot happen. It is what nature teaches all creatures, the basics of survival.
293 Geese or ducks
Geese return from distant lakes and fields to regain their home
After completing a grand work of merit you return quickly
After all clinging is no blessing for anyone
Do not teach chickens and ducks
to compete with each other
Small people will emulate great people. So if you wallow in honor, it will teach them to do the same, and the result will be a lot of mutual contention for anything which can bring honor - or what they imagine to. Do what you need to do and move on. Even if everyone sings your praise, move on.
294 A beautiful night
Wind high in heaven
Moon on the horizon
A pale moon and a refreshing breeze
Everything needs balance, nothing can prosper on its own. Work on your career but don’t postpone the matters of your heart. The two might even boost each other, and they will certainly ally with each other to bring you to a higher plane. A one-sided mind or action can only bring limited results.
Leaves return to the roots
Heaven and earth exist for eons
Clear water from the source turns little by
little into rivers and oceans
A person who achieves the pill of immortality
has a long life at the deep shore
Renewal is the secret of immortality. Again
and again returning to the origin, the pure
innocence, the clear and clean starting point.
Repair your faults, clean up your act, make
amends. Throw the garbage out and let a
fresh wind in. Let go of who you think you
are and be the real version of yourself.
A different translation of 2nd line: Heaven and earth will exist forever (for a long time).
296 Flowers and rain
Riding on horseback to Cháng’ān
Beholding the flowers opening in perfection
One day rain will start pouring
Their fragrance and color will exhaust and wither
The now is always where you are, but where
you are depends on your timing. You create
your own nows. Be on time, flowers will not
wait for you, if you are late, they are gone,
and your ‘now’ will just see rain. Being happy
and having success both depend on your
timing, keep your senses open at all times.
A different translation of 2nd line: Looking tearfully showing one's feelings
Cháng'ān (litt. longlasting peace): capital of China in the Han/Tang dynasties
297 Strong roots
A longstanding tree in spring
tough roots and trunk
Seeds in autumn
the branches bare and the leaves falling off
It doesn’t wither at all
You don’t see the durable roots
When building something up, first of all give it a strong base. Then make or let it grow in its own steady pace. It will not collapse easily, and it will survive good and bad seasons. Your work may not make it to the frontpage of the newspapers, but it will be living in health for many years.
298 Wild grass
What a road, what a road!
Heaven will be clear
Why not raise your head with pleasure
The opposite of ending in the wild grass
If you get the chance to find your own road,
then do it! Subjected to the ideas of a boss
or a general, you have no say in where you
end up. You think going into the unknown is
too much risk? What about giving your life
for a goal which is not yours. Then the end is
certain: everything you ever wanted is gone.
舒眉with pleasure: litt. relaxing brows
道 road or Dao
The medicine is genuine
taking it gives peace
Three doses later it is clear enough
Spirit is inner spirit
clarity is inner clarity
You certainly achieve tightness
you can live long
Make sure you know what you’re doing. If a pill can cure you, then first find out if that is true. Don’t believe a proposal but make sure you know to what you say yes. Seeing, hearing or experiencing something three times is often a good guideline. Then you know there is at least some truth to it.
300 Heaven’s Hall
In the past you formed an association in three days
You made your name in the whole country
A long ride on an excellent steed
Entering right into Heaven’s Hall
First the start, second the test and trial, and third the completion. Three is the number of the creation of something. A lucky number, heeding it means you do it right, with a real beginning, a middle and an end. And a triangle is solid, it cannot change its form, you can rely on it.
301 Inner laughter
In your free time you encounter a master
By chance you happened upon this person
Healthy in old age
Inner laughter causes vitality
Wisdom is often found in unexpected
places. The ‘normal’ world is just that, the
norm. Which means devoid of any masters.
Real masters are free, they like to play, so
where you are free yourself you might meet
one. They are not difficult to recognize, their
sparkling eyes tell about fun and wisdom.
夫子 Fuzi, confucian master or title of respect for the elders.
春 vitality: litt. spring.
302 Starting a business
Free and unrestrained
Eagerly looking for a journey east
Only a fellow villager
Can really be an understanding friend
You manage to set up a business
in two or three springs
Later united under the streetlamp lights
A bright future in your hometown
The best partner is the one you can get
along with as a person, not just for business.
Maybe there is no need to seek far away,
because with an old friend you don’t need to
first find common ground. You can start right
away and put all your energy in your work.
Celebrate spring in your hometown.
東行 Journey East: starting.
303 Every place has its dust
The River of Han is ruthless
The river of Shu is clear
The Yellow River is billowy
Everywhere is smoke and dust
People can be compared to the big rivers. One is clear, another is muddy, a third will be dangerous or maybe just adventurous. Look at people the way you would study a river which may be dangerous to cross. Don’t trust, any sign you miss can make the difference between survival or disaster.
304 Submerged dragon
A submerged dragon enduring hard times
Still doesn’t see clouds rising
After waiting for a while he considers
how the clouds close in on all sides
And flutters up to heaven’s hall
Don’t rise up impulsively. Wait for the right
moment, for the signs that the time is ripe.
Once you know, then go for it with all your
heart. If you move too early, you destroy
your chances, if you move too late or too
hesitatingly you miss them. Dragons are the
creatures of time, let them be your teachers.
潛龍 Submerged dragon: unrecognized sage
困 Hard times, kùn: hex.47.
天庭 Heaven's hall also means middle of forehead.
This place has a strong flavor
Too rich and gaudy to endure for long
How about talking and laughing and making trouble
Booing and hooting and running about
Often things cannot be healed or changed
by mending or fighting them. Maybe others
cannot see how they really are. In those
cases exaggeration could be the right way.
Showing the ridiculousness or uselessness.
The ugliness. How wrong the result. Or
making the entire situation laughable.
東奔西走 running about: litt. run east rush west.
306 Get on your way
Here live villains
By no means stay or stop a bit
Hurry to pack up
It is better to set out
Sun and moon float along
Do not linger too long!
Don’t stay in a bad place, either physically
or mentally. It will always harm you. It is
the reason a sage does not read newspapers,
watch horror movies or listen to gossip. You
become part of it, even if you don’t notice.
Your heart is like a child, it learns from
anything which comes on its path.
日月遊 sun and moon travel: time moves on.
307 The horns of the dragon
The horns on the head of the dragon grow
There will be plenty and timely rainfall
At six seven and eight in the mornings
A good help for the peasants
Not everyone can do something grand for
the world, but everyone should cherish those
who do. They bring the values, the beauty,
the things which make life worthwhile and
breathtaking. When one of those comes into
the world, good fortune accompanies it. Be
part of it, cooperate or help.
頭角 head horn, clue; lead, talent.
308 Dragon and snake
Venus appears in the southwest
Dragon and snake compete
The dragon himself flies up sky-high
The snake however is covered in punishment
Every dawn and dusk the Dragon of day
and the Snake of night fight with each other.
When the light wins, clarity appears, when
the dark wins, the earth is plunged into
obscurity. It is a metaphor for the good which
is the better choice. Who chooses the dark
will live in darkness.
太白現 〈astr.〉 Venus; Vesper. 太白Great bright(ness. 白etymol: sun rising.
309 Longing for spring
In the past you took care of planting trees
And you want spring to come
A light and delicate Eastern breeze
And flowers blooming in all streets
You made the preparations, now you have to wait. For favorable circumstances, for the right people, or for the right time. Or maybe the change from preparing to reaping the fruits of your work. Use this in-between to rest and enjoy yourself, waiting may be the moment to repair and prepare yourself.
310 Enjoy your life
Forty remaining years
and your hardship already deep
Now you should enjoy the time you still have
Do not plan or prepare for love
Rather greatly treasure occasions
of joy and happiness
Cherish highly your youth
Don’t decrease your youth
Looking back makes sense if you enjoy the good things which happened. Not if you relive the difficult times or regret lost opportunities or love. Now it is important to make your future a good and happy one. Good memories can help, a content heart attracts happiness and friendship.
311 Got your masters, get your life
Three winters are enough
To master literature and art
You managed it up to the end
Already ice arrives
In a hurry turn around
Do not miss your future
A degree or talent is valuable, but you will have to find a way to make a living with it. Now is the moment to find out. If you can’t, you should find a different career. Or maybe another place or way to use it. If you wait too long, your opportunity will be lost. A talent is not a ticket for a cozy seat in life.
312 Strange events
Strange and amazing!
It happened before
Now it happens again
Be cautious and on guard
Do not cover it and cause a mess
When something attracts your attention it might be important. Especially if there is a repeat. Scrutinize it and don’t gloss it over with ‘common sense’, calling it random or coincidence. Someone is suddenly rude? Your intuition hesitates? A number keeps coming up? Always take a good look at it.