“Think One, Not What’s Lost”
Little Austin who showed his schoolmates that he could do what they thought he could not was a real inspiration. It’s more than courage, it is being enlightened by loss and discrimination.Instead of mourning over what cannot be done, think what can be done at the moment.
“Use of No Use is Great Use.”
“Whether alike or different,
we still belong to a certain group,
and then we are really no different from each other.”
via More Trees Less Assholes
Thich Nhat Hahn’s “Please Call Me by My True Name” comes to mind with terrorists’ attacks in Belgium and Pakistan, the refugee children in Europe and the four-year-old girl decapitated by a random killer near a Taipei MRT.
“I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his ‘debt of blood’ to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.”
“I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda”.
A local official in South Taiwan claimed the high heeled glass church was built to commemorate a 24-year-old girl suffered from Blackfoot disease. Both of her legs had to be amputated, leading to the cancellation of her wedding. She remained unmarried and spent the rest of her life at a church.
More from BBC
Discrimination of Confucius
There was a man called Toeless. He went to see Confucius.
“You were not cautious and were plagued by mishap to get to your current state. Now that you are here, it’s too lat.” said Confucius.
Toeless defended himself, “I did not know how things work and recklessly used myself, so I lost my foot. Now that I am here, there is still something more precious than the foot; I must make sure it is left intact. There is nothing that the sky would not cover nor would the earth not hold. I thought the teacher is like the sky and earth, how would I know that you are like this!”
Confucius said, “It’s my fault. Why don’t you come in? Please talk more so I can listen.”
Confucius said to his disciples, “Encourage yourself with this. The one-foot man still strive to learn to make up for his wrong doings, what more should the man do with integrity intact!”
A carpenter went to the village and saw a great chestnut leaved oak that served as a shrine. It was huge enough to shade several thousand oxen and measured a hundred spans wide, towering above the hills. The lowest branches were eighty feet from ground and a dozen or so of them can be made into boats.
Sightseers gathered like in a fair. The carpenter did not even stop to look. His apprentice looked at it until he got tired of it, he caught up with his mentor to ask,
“Since I have followed you with my axe, I have never seen such beautiful wood. Why wouldn’t you stop and look?”
“Forget it, don’t mention it. It’s just trash, what can you do with it? A boat would sink, a coffin would rot, utensils would break, a door would seep with sap and a pillar would attract worms. It’s not a timber tree. Being useless, it can live out its life term.”
He went home and the tree appeared in his dream.
“You compared me to cultivated trees, the cherry apple, pear, orange and all the shrubs and trees that bear fruits? They are stripped, picked and abused when their fruits are ripe,. The big branches are broken off while small branches bleed with sap from the wounds. They bring on their own suffering in life. They die before living out their full term, hassled by the world. Aren’t all things alike?
I seek to be useless but I almost died. Now I’ve got my life, this is of great use to me. If I were of any use, would I have grown so big?
We are all things, why condemn others? You are a dying and worthless person, why do you have such poor understanding to call me worthless wood?” The carpenter woke up and interpreted the dream.
The apprentice asked, “If it wanted to be useless, why is it used as the shrine?”
The carpenter replied, “Hush! Not a word! It professes to be a shrine so those who do not understand would not criticize it. If it’s not a shrine, wouldn’t they cut it down? It presents itself in a different way, if we take conventional standards, we’ll be way off.”
(from Chapter 4, “Human World”, Book of Chuang Tzu)
Never judge others as Useless
The useless tree’s rebuke in the carpenter’s dream is a wake up call for man’s judgmental mind .We should not judge people with standards of our own. We don’t really know what is useful or useless. Chuang Tzu’s teaching may be considered by many as useless but ingenious and profound by others. Van Gogh was probably considered pretty useless when he was alive in his time, so was Proust or many other great people.