Thursday, 11 March 2010
Growing and Misfortune.
There is a lovely story of the traveller who on his journey came across an old man planting a tiny almond tree. Now almond trees take a long time to grow and mature to the point of giving fruit. The traveller said to the old man, “I am surprised to see one as old as you planting such a tree that will take so long to produce.” The old man looked at him, thought for a moment, and then replied, “I live my life on two principles. The first one is that I will live forever. The second one is that this is my last day.”
Who ever knows if they will see the fruits of their labour? But then if they do not some other will. The seed planted or the small tender shoot is unaware of whom it is that is planting and caring for it. Its purpose is to grow.
There was an old farmer who owned a horse, to help him plough the land. One day the horse ran away. The farmers’ neighbours came to offer their sympathy. The old farmer shook his head, “I am not sure it is a misfortune,” he said. The neighbours not understanding left. The next day his horse returned bringing with it two wild horses. The neighbours returned to congratulate him on his good fortune. “I am not at all sure it is good fortune,” he replied. Again they left bemused.
The old farmers’ son was trying to tame one of the horses and was kicked and his leg was broken. Again the neighbours came to offer sympathy for his misfortune. Again he replied saying, “I am not sure it is a misfortune.” They thought he was going mad.
The next day the Emperor came past the farm looking for young men to be part of his army to help him fight a war. The farmers’ son could not go because of his broken leg.
We never know what tomorrow will bring so we live today as if it is our last, but we live it as if we were going to live forever.
So today I will attempt to produce to the best of my ability whether it is in painting or digging. In preparing or finishing. I know that whatever I do this day will have its repercussions.
This is the way of Tao.
The Story of the Art used on this thought can be seen at:- Coming Home To Roost