Su Shi and Contemplation

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Su Shi (1,037 – 1,101 A.D.), also known as Su Dongpo, was a writer, poet, artist, calligrapher and statesman of the Song Dynasty. He once shared this life experience:

I met a reclusive hermit one day when I was young.
He told me: “Young man, you must stay close to the Dao (Way of the Universe). Thus you should contemplate and desire as little as possible.”
I asked him: “Is contemplation to be feared as much as desire?”
He replied: “Contemplation is much more to be feared than desire.”

There were two pots full of water in the yard. The recluse hermit pointed to one of them: “If this pot had a tiny ant-like hole on its bottom that leaked water, but you poured a litre of water out of the other pot every day. Which pot do you reckon will become empty first?”

I replied: “The pot with a tiny ant-like hole.”
The hermit said: “Contemplation is harmful to people, [since they] are little aware of it but constantly nibbled away by it.”

I was awakened by what the hermit said. Therefore, I applied what he told me in my life. Sometimes I enjoyed the benefits of no-contemplation and non-anxiety. The following enjoyment is beyond description:

Able to be wise towards substance by seeing through illusions;
Able to maintain simplicity without losing rich knowledge and best solutions;
Able to feel safe and secure by working hard to avoid being lazy and slack at working;
Able to keep a tranquil mind in a noisy and tumultuous environment;
Enjoy a beautiful realm without being drunk; Rest in peace without falling asleep.

The book Zhou Yi said: “No Contemplation.” I wish to be such a man.”

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