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Showing posts from February, 2009

Lord Jiang went fishing; those who want to be caught, get caught

Lord Jiang, before becoming the Lord Chancellor of the future King, went fishing with a hookless fishing rod. The future king walked by everyday and saw this old fisherman fishing with a hookless rod. One day, curiosity finally compelled him to go up and talked to this old fellow. The fellow told him that : "I am not fishing for fish, but I am fishing for man." You see, this old fellow is waiting for the right person to come along. Nowadays, the saying that Lord Jiang goes fishing simply implies that " those who wants to get caught, gets caught. " Jiang Ziya (dates of birth and death unknown) was a Chinese historical and legendary figure who resided next to the Weishui River about 3,000 years ago. The region was the feudal estate of King Wen of Zhou. Jiang Ziya knew King Wen was very ambitious, so he hoped to get the king's attention and gain a position in his court. He often went angling at the Weishui River, but he would fish in a bizarre way. He hung a straig

More haste, less speed.

ZI Xia, a disciple of Confucius, was going to his post as a county magistrate in the state of Lu. Before his departure, he came to Confucius and asked him how the affairs of the government should be run.  Confucius knew that the trouble with Zi Xia was that he tended to focus his attention only on the immediate interests and was impetuous. He therefore said to him, "Whatever you do, do it step by step instead of pursuing mere speed. Don't focus your attention only on the immediate interests. The more haste, the less speed. Attention to minor and immediate interests prevent one from accomplishing great things."

Notch the boat in search of the sword

A man from the state of Chu was crossing a river. In the boat, his sword fell into the water. Immediately he made a mark on the boat. The boat man was very curious and asked the swordsman. "This is where my sword fell off," he said. When the boat stopped moving, he went into the water to look for his sword at the place where he had marked the boat. The boat had moved but the sword had not. Is this not a very foolish way to look for a sword?

Play the lute to a cow

Once up on a time, there lived a musician called GongMing Yi. He was very good at playing the Zheng, a plucked string instrument. But he also behaved foolishly sometimes. One day, he saw a cow eating grass in the field near his house. He was inspired by the scene and ran outside to play a tune for the cow. Gongming Yi played beautifully and he himself was intoxicated by the music. But the cow paid no heed to the elegant sounds. It simply focused its attention on eating the grass. Gong Mingyi was surprised to see that. He couldn't understand why the cow was so indifferent to his performance.  Gongming was very angry. But after thinking a little while, he considered that eligant classic music was beyong the cow's understanding, obviously, it was not because his performance was poor. But the cow neither understood nor appreciated his elegant music!  Then he played a another melody which mimic the sound of mosquitoes, gadflies and the calf moos to look for its mother, just then the

Buys the glittering casket and return the pearls to the seller

A man of the state of Chu went to the state of Zheng to sell his pearls. He had a casket made of the wood of the magnolia tree, and then had it scented with cinnamon and pepper, set with jewels, carved in rose patterns, and inlaid with jade. A man of the state of Zheng bought the casket but gave back the pearls. Thus we can say that the man from Chu knew how to sell his casket but not how to sell his pearls. The moral of this story normally is to show lack of judgement as one who buys the glittering casket and return the pearls to the seller, rather not the seller. But this actually is quite misunderstanding the original meaning of Han Feitsu who is the original author. In "Han Fei tzu",there is another story come with this one: King Qin married his daughter to Prince Jin. The King Qin sent his daughter with 70 beautifully dressed servant girl to Prince Jin. Prince Jin just ignored his wife but loved his 70 concubines. King Qin is quite foolish on marrying his daughter but ve

Peach Blossom Shangri-la (Tao Hua Yuan Ji)

During the Taiyuan era of the Jin Dynasty there was a man of Wuling who made his living as a fisherman. Once while following a stream he forgot how far he had gone. He suddenly came to a grove of blossoming peach trees. It lined both banks for several hundred paces and included not a single other kind of tree. Petals of the dazzling and fragrant blossoms were falling everywhere in profusion. Thinking this place highly unusual, the fisherman advanced once again in wanting to see how far it went. The peach trees stopped at the stream's source, where the fisherman came to a mountain with a small opening through which it seemed he could see light. Leaving his boat, he entered the opening. At first it was so narrow that he could barely pass, but after advancing a short distance it suddenly opened up to reveal a broad, flat area with imposing houses, good fields, beautiful ponds, mulberry trees, bamboo, and the like. The fisherman saw paths extending among the fields in all directions, a