You can’t haggle about everything
One’s life is entirely planned by destiny
Do not doubt
In the end you will have your share
if you are destined to have it
Scurrying around unnecessarily
stirs up the dust
The measure of what you can achieve is within yourself. How you fare compared to someone else is not important. Instead of contending it is better to concentrate on doing and to put all your powers and talents into it. Then your accomplishments will be your own and worthy of your pride.
338 One single plan
A small anxious heart is not yet ready to stop
For flowers it is difficult to stay beautiful
in the spring rain
Proud of oneself one takes a leave for rest
Disappointed one takes a leave for rest
The immortals only plan and prepare once
Some things simply happen, and it is
useless to fight against them, like fighting the
rain or fighting time. If you cannot accept the
flow of life it will just exhaust you. Do your
best to reckon with it when you make plans
but leave it at that. It is how the immortals
manage to live so healthy and so long.
一片 Small: one slice.
339 Two yin one yang
Two women and one man
Above and below drive each other away
Yin energy takes advantage of yang
Therefore consuming it and emptying it
When someone tries to take charge without the necessary power or wisdom, everything will deteriorate. The same happens when natural followers don’t acknowledge a born leader. When the need to appoint a ‘boss’ arises, it is a sign that the natural and harmonious order has been disrupted.
340 A pair of swallows *
A pair of swallows returns to the south of the country
They come to seek the home of the Wang and Xie families
The magnificent halls are silent in the spring days
This place used to support their livelihood.
Nature gives and nature takes. Human
creations are temporary, even fame which
lasts for centuries will fade eventually.
Nature is timeless, she works in cycles. She
takes back what had its time but supports
everything which follows cycles. Imitate her
燕 Swallow also means pleasure.
This poem is about the swallows of Wang and Xie
Destiny is obstructed - the time is averse
Calamity and disaster - my body is exhausted
I gaze upon Heaven - it does not look after me
I am sighing dearest one - sick and therefore a danger
Find the real cause of things. Complaining
is only useful to make things visible. Once
they are, then recognize what is really
happening and take the right measures.
Some things are beyond your grasp, but
other things can be handled by you. Maybe it
will not save you, but it will save your honor.
Full moon or: looking up at the ancestors.
342 Master Liu *
Gathering medicinal herbs in Tiāntāi, I was lost at a turn of the road
Peach blossoms and flowing water compose a beautiful moment
In the spring breeze many singing birds make you think of love
Pass on the message that Master Liú will not return for the time being
When you have a wonderful encounter
or find yourself in a beautiful place, then
don’t blindly answer to habit or duty. Is this
important enough to forsake those habits
and duties for the time being? This moment
will not return, if you let it go, it is gone.
What is most important to you?
Identical to LingQiJing 334.
This poem is about Liu An and Tiantai
343 The ferry of salvation
Coming from the warmth into the cold
Clad only in thin clothes
I go to the ferry of salvation
It is hard to solve flagrant mistakes<
Sometimes life is so hard, or mistakes so
big, that the only solution can be found
in what is bigger than the everyday world.
Where guilt returns to before the end of
innocence, and life is a gift instead of a
burden. Close to the origin of all values, to
eternal gods and symbols and rituals.
慈航 boat of love, 〈Budd.〉 the ferry of salvation
Put them in a bowl
Full and even overflowing
Small steps can cover long distances, small amounts can grow into large quantities. If you master the art of letting the small work for you, you can survive most anything or anywhere. It can be done with things, with words, with feelings, with gestures. Many small things become one sturdy big thing.
Who says that a home town has no flavor
Drifting about alone across lakes and seas
to the far corners of the earth
You’re allowed to sigh
At mid-autumn the moon is hiding
In spring rain is pouring
Many flowers wither
Travelers on a long journey
always remember home
As long as everything is easy, being far from
home might be no problem. When trouble
hits, people are nasty or the weather is awful,
then suddenly home seems so beautiful. Or
the other way around, you long for home and
‘far-away’ begins to look gloomy. Home has
its own special place in your heart.
天涯 heaven's border. Drifting about: the fade and fall of leaves.
中秋 mid-autumn (Festival).
346 One arrow
The clouds disperse and the moon is high in the sky
When the ox in front and the horse behind meet each other
Stretch the bow and support the defense
In the past one arrow decided the result
When people have to leave the plow and
saddle up for war, they need very different
skills in order to succeed both in fighting and
in surviving. So widen your skills beyond the
ones you need for what you do now. When
circumstances change, and they always will,
you should be ready.
Or: You meet in front of the cows and behind the horses.
Another possibility: when the fast horsemen and the slower footmen meet: the army gathered and ready for battle.
347 Everything has its measure
Horseback riding and strolling
each have their measure
The moon sinks in the western sea
and the sun rises in the east
When fortune aligns why trouble yourself
with mental or physical effort
The wind escorts you
over a great distance of clear rivers and lakes
No need to ponder or worry about things which move along in their own pace. It is useless to make them speed up or change course. The more you go along with them, the more peace you will find. Things will go smooth if you allow both yourself and them to move at their own pace.
348 A gentleman does not hate
Clouds transverse and mountains divide
waters are indistinct
From far away you long for your hometown
When obstruction or disaster comes
a gentleman does not hate
Or lean on the gate sad and dejected in the
slanting rays of the setting sun
As long as your emotions and surroundings govern you, they dictate your moods. If all things are to you like the clouds, they exist without changing your emotions. When they affect your moods, you are alone, when they don’t, you are part of all there is. It is less exciting, but it will be larger and all yours.
349 A quiet stream
Now wind and waves already stop
Boat and oar pass a quiet stream
From then on honor and rank succeed
You do not need to sigh about old age
When things take a turn for the better,
then turn with them, concentrate on the
future and don’t look to the past anymore.
If you carry regrets or worries with you into
this new time, you will just interfere. Good
fortune is not only outside, it is very much
inside yourself as well.
舟楫 Boat and oar can also mean capable assistants.
風波 Wind and waves: disturbances.
350 Swift like the wind
Anxious to arrive in a safe and sound land
Rivers and mountains for thousands of miles
Green fragrant herbs swaying
Your nimble-hooved horse
is swift like the wind
If you are in a place where you are not happy, then do anything you need to do to reach better pastures. The stronger your wish, the faster and farther you will be able to go. The place where you are will affect a large part of your life. So tackle the dangers, endure the hardships, it’s worth it.
351 Vulture and hawk
In autumn the powers of vulture and hawk
Riding the wind with wide spreading wings
toward the toad’s palace
If you ask about glory and splendor in the future
Successively your fame will extend nine fold
A prediction of unparalleled success. There
is a ‘but’ though - you need to get the timing
right, and you need to put all your energy
into it. There is no success without a reason
for it, and this time it is certainly not just a
lucky strike. So, go for it, soar as high as you
can get, may sky and moon assist you.
Identical to Lingqijing 023.
352 Cat and mouse
Mice troubling you the entire time
All night not granting you peace
One mewl of a kitten
Several nights of peaceful tranquility
How can people not tell apart these beasts
Their features are very distinct
If there is trouble, then find the right
remedy or helper. It takes experience or
insight to distinguish between the people or
things which cause problems and the ones
you need for solving problems. Finding the
right one and discarding the wrong one is
what you have to bring in yourself.
Features: 理 principles
353 “dé, achieve”
Two people at the side
Sunshine from above
Shining on a one-inch heart
The suggestions of the old immortals were not bright
This is a character-riddle rather than a
useful answer. It is like that sometimes. The
oracle gives an answer, an image, even a
meaning, but it is not possible to draw any
understanding from it. So the only thing you
can do is what it literally says: achieve. Do
what you should do, and do it well.
This verse is about the character 得 'achieving': move + sun + inch.
仙機 The prophetic or suggestion made by a god.
354 Smart merchants
Gentleman’s Dao is disappearing
Petty people’s Dao is growing
Yin’s energy is lush
Yang’s energy is plain
What to do what to do
Smart merchants don’t show off
Adapt to the time. Sometimes strong action
works, other times careful planning or hiding
is better. Choosing the wrong attitude might
even be dangerous, especially when being
conspicuous calls up suspicion. Take the
safe course when in doubt, not calling too
much attention to yourself.
良Smart, good, intuïtive.
Go to Cháng’ān
On a North-eastern streetcorner
You come right upon the gate
of the Heavenly Palace
And that is the place to be
If you have a dream, then find out where to
search for its realization. Consult an oracle,
ask your intuition, or go for a pilgrimage,
a real one or in your imagination or on a
divination board. When your mind finds
itself in unfamiliar places, you will encounter
clues, help and inspiration.
長安 Cháng'ān: capital of China in the Han/Tang dynasties.
356 Healing herbs
Slowly walking into Tiāntāi
For information to get better
There is a recluse collecting healing herbs
His abode surrounded by spring scenery
Good fortune needs your efforts to come to fruition, you cannot sit back and expect miracles. If you need anything, or something went wrong, then do something about it. Help yourself or find the right help, and the gods will join in. They will open your intuition and give suggestions or hunches.
357 Just do it
Turning it over in your mind during one night
Is inferior to carrying out one work
In addition it appears to be a mistake
Irritation and anger reach lungs and liver
There is a big difference between thinking and worrying. Thinking about a problem can be useful, worry never is. It pulls you down and takes your energy away. Overrule dark thoughts by doing something which engages your mind. Even small chores are an effective remedy against worries.
Being careful and brave
You can succeed in a general’s position
Why concern your mind with success or failure
It is the heart which secures focus
The enemy will have a hard time
Success depends on skills like courage, intelligence, authority and the ability to oversee a situation. But one of the most important skills is the art of concentration. To focus on a goal, on a wish, or on a duty. The relentless pursuit which never falters. It makes the difference between good and best.
359 Heaven cares
Heaven cares for people who practice asceticism
So they don’t end up fading away
in the world of human society
Then they have peace of mind and can see Dao
In disturbance one loses one’s true spirit
It seems for asceticism one has to give up a lot. Most people don’t know that the rewards are much larger than anything lost. Heaven gives those who serve it intangible jewels, insight in many things unknown to others, peace of mind, deep happiness, and the truth of their Dao.
360 Fish on the mountain
Catching rhinos in deep waters
Seeking fish on mountains
From morning till dusk
Achievements get lost and strengths are abandoned
You have the ability to complete numerous plans
If you don’t have any strategy in your undertakings, they will amount to naught. Working hard is fine, but you need a direction and a sensible road to reach a goal. So, use your brain, get information, gather what you need, look at possibilities, all before you start and from there right to the end.