The country of Lu 鲁国 was a small country of the Warring States era, and had a priceless censor. Its larger neighbor’s king demanded it as a tribute. The Lu king did not wish to give up the national treasure, and therefore had a fake censor made and intended to present it as the original.
The sovereign ruler said, “If his adviser Nhạc Chính Tử 樂正子 (Zeng Zi’s famous disciple) brought it here himself, only then would I believe that it is genuine.”
The King of Lu asked Nhạc Chính Tử to bring the fake censor to the sovereign king.
There was an old man who lived in the border area of the country. He raised a horse. One day, the horse ran away and was not to be found anywhere. His friend came to express his sympathy. He said, “You never know. Losing that horse may actually be a blessing in disguise!”
A few months later, the horse came back and brought another one with it. His friend came to congratulate him. He calmly replied, “Getting another horse may actually be a misfortune!”
The Buddhas warned against laziness. They say that lazy people are prone to doing evil. Therefore:
1. We should train our children and the young to be diligent instead of spoiling them.
2. Adults should apply themselves to pursue worthwhile endeavors to contribute to society.
There is a Chinese verse:
If the river is clear I’ll simply use its water to wash my hat;
If the river is muddy then I’ll get its water to wash my feet.
When Confucius heard of the verse, he told his students: “Did you hear? Man must accord with the river’s water. It’s really up to the river to decide which way to go independently of any outside influence.”
A great official often sighs even during his leisure time. One of his disciples asked why.
The official said: “I wish all nations would get along with each other so that we could do away with all the weapons of destruction. I also wish that great men would train even more great men so that the remaining small men would have no choice but to withdraw and disappear."
Duyên Lăng Qui Tử, was an ambassador during the晋 Jìn Dynasty. One day, he visited a neighboring country’s king while wearing his priceless jeweled sword.
The king admired the sword tremendously and wanted to ask for it but did not express his wishes.
However, Duyên Lăng Qui Tử had to represent his country to yet another powerhouse nation and therefore decided that he would offer up the sword when he doubled back after his mission was accomplished.
Thunder cannot be muffled so that it can harmonize with the sound of bells and whistles. Sunlight or moonlight cannot be bent so as to illuminate an alleyway or a hidden cave. Rivers cannot be squeezed so that they are easier to cross. Tall mountains cannot be lowered in order to make it easier to climb.
Likewise, great men cannot compromise themselves in order to be accepted by the masses.
To Tan had to wait for three days before he could get an audience with the King.
After he presented his thoughts, he prepared to take his leave.
The King said: “I heard that you are a man of great talent and wisdom. You traveled a long distance to come here. Why are you leaving in such a hurry?”
During the Han Dynasty in China there was a wise man called Bang Cong. He was even-keeled and composed and avoided noisy and crowded places. He and his wife were very courteous toward one another and treated each other like guests.
One day, an official friend came for a visit and found him working in the field. Bang Cong came up to talk with his friend while his wife and children continued their field work below.
The Buddha said that there are four kinds of yokes:
The Buddha said that his disciples should repay their parents’ kindness. He said: “Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder and your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, and rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate and urinate right there [on your shoulders], you would not in that way pay or repay your parents.”
The Buddha said that there are four wheels which when endowed, will bring prosperity, and in the near future, will help achieve greatness and abundant wealth:
The Buddha said that one can go off course because of four reasons:
The Buddha said that there are four bonds of fellowship:
As the Buddha recollects his journey to Buddhahood, he said that throughout his wanderings on the Reincarnation Wheel, he accomplished many meritorious acts. As a result, his existences were: blissful, desirable, pleasing, charming, and endearing.
The Buddha said that there are three kinds of drunkenness:
1. Of youth
2. Of health
3. Of life
It is called drunkenness because there is a lack of discernment and as a result, one engages in rash behavior.
For the sake of the world great men value their personal character and avoid compromising themselves. To value one’s personal character, one should reduce desire, be less greedy and disengage from plotting for fame and profit.
A king was on a boat ride with his entire court for a day of sight-seeing.
The king pondered, “I conquered LD’s country and had confined him under supervision for quite a while. Now his children are grown up. One of his sons snuck out and left the country. Does anyone know of his whereabouts?”
There is usually a wide gap between people’s words and actions.
Therefore, the ancients used to employ these tests to assess people:
Mahayana (Big Vehicle Buddhism) is primarily the perfection of the three non-outflow (i.e. lacking outflows or leakages) studies of Precepts, Samadhi and Wisdom. Most of us fall short and yet have no idea why so.
In ancient China, there was a sagely man called KL. He would not compromise himself and therefore decided to join the court. Many kings came offering official positions but he turned them all down.
He was so poor that when he passed away, they had to use an old worn out blanket that was too short to cover his body.
Zeng Zi, a well-known Confucian scholar, came to pay respect.
How does one practice self-improvement as advocated by Confucius?
When seeing other’s right, one strives to emulate; when seeing other’s wrongs, one self-examines in order to correct one’s mistakes.
A man decided to go for a stroll to enjoy the good weather. When he left his home, he was in white clothing. Half way through his promenade, it rained and he was drenched. His relative whose home was nearby lent him some dark clothes to wear.
Confucius taught that people should nurture the Five Virtues: Humaneness, Principle, Etiquette, Knowledge and Trustworthiness. We should take a closer look at them and compare them against the Buddhist teachings.