Friday, January 30, 2009

A Legend of an Emperor and Self-Control

When I was eight, I overheard my father said, “Zhao Kuangying is really a hero. He escorted the lady Jing home for one thousand li.”

I thought, “How ridiculous! A general, who led an army of 300,000 soldiers defeating Huns, should be called a hero, how could someone escorting a lady be called a hero?”

When I grew up, I understood what my father meant. In the widely circulated story, the lady Jing, a seventeen-year-old pretty girl, while worshiping her ancestors in an old temple with her maidservant, two bandits came to bother them; luckily, Zhao Kuangying happened to pass by, beat the bandits away and rescued the two girls. He treated the girl Jing as his own sister without any wicked thoughts, and protected them travel for a thousand li home.

Zhao Kuangying was highly respected due to his strong self-control, chivalry, expertise in martial arts, and firm stand in justice. His good reputation and strong character enabled him to lead the army and people to reunite China and establish the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). At thirty-three years old, Zhao Kuangying became the first Emperor of the Song Dynasty, called Emperor Taizu of Song, and reigned for seventeen years.

A high-minded person has self-control, and self-control is the essence of true power. If you lose control of yourself, you also lose the power to influence others. Many religions advocate self control. In Bible, Proverbs 25:28 says, "A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls."

Different people have different level of self-control. Though Zhao Kuangying earned himself a good reputation, the girl Jing was left to doubt her attractiveness.

On January 25, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi made the comment suggesting that Italy's women are so beautiful they need military escorts to avoid rape. Consequently, he was criticized widely for his barbarian logic, though Berlusconi claimed he was complimenting women. Most people take his comments profoundly offensive, because he should blame the real cause of crime – lacking of self-control.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

21 Economic Models Explained With Cows

On the third day of the lunar year of Ox, share something funny with you. (Source: web)

Two Cows
Photo Courtesy: Flickr kwerfeldein

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

- You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away...

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons

- You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

- You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

- You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

- You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

- You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of Democracy....

Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Readiness and Right Timing

Where eagles fly...
Photo Courtesy: Flickr Wash52121

There was a lesson in the English textbook while I was at Grade School,

A king requested a painter to draw a horse for him. The painter consented and left. After twenty years, he showed up in the palace and painted a horse in five minutes. The horse was so vividly as if it would run out from the paper. The king was pleased and disillusioned at same time, so he asked curiously,

“Since you can draw a terrific horse in five minutes, why didn’t you do it twenty years ago?”

The painter replied, “It took me twenty years to learn how to draw a horse in five minutes.”

The morale I learned from this lesson is that it takes time to achieve something remarkable. Given enough time, drops of water would wear through a rock; given enough time, an iron pestle can be ground down to a needle. Long persistent practice makes perfect.

Twenty years ago, the painter did not know how to draw a horse. Twenty years after, he was perfectly ready to draw a fantastic horse in five minutes. I have held the question since the English class – why didn’t he show up after five years to draw a fine horse in an hour? Did he really need to wait so long so perfect to show up? Luckily, the king did not pass away during the twenty years.

Readiness is an important issue in our personal growth. You can not get good results when you are not ready to do it. People ever asked me why I didn’t do something at some time, I answered I was not ready yet. You can be stuck somewhere because you have omitted some form of spiritual, emotional, financial, relational, or vocational growth in your life. You have to work on that to get ready.

During sometime, I found I was unable to stand up by myself. The weakness and lack of security pulled me downward, no matter what I intended to do otherwise. So I admitted I needed to get strong first and tried to find someone stronger and patient to drag me up. No one can break the universe law – strength and security precede the ability to be free. Find your weak point, work on it first.

Small streams flow into a river; rivers flow into an ocean. Constant effort brings success; deliberate practice works perfection. But you don’t need wait to be perfect to talk, to do, to launch and to implement. Opportunities are easily missed while waiting for perfect timing.

Life is about balance timing against available resources. Be prepared, get ready and catch the right timing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Words, Mirror of Heart

Photo courtesy:

There was a famous poet and politician called Su Dongpo, who befriended with a monk called Foyin. They enjoyed time together and occasionally battled of wits with each other. One day, they sat still practicing meditation. After a while, Su opened his eyes and asked Foyin,

“What do I look like sitting in meditation?”

“You look like a poised Buddha.” Foyin took a look and praised with nodding.

Su was pleased. Foyin asked in reply, “How do you think about me?”

“You look like bullshit.” Su teased Foyin intentionally.

Foyin smiled and put his palms together continuing meditation.

After Su returned home, he told his sister proudly,

“I poked fun at Monk Foyin today.”

After she learned the whole story, she laughed at Su,

“Foyin has Buddha in his mind, so he sees everything as Buddha; you have bullshit in your heart, so you see everything as bullshit. Foyin wins with more cultivation.”

We not only use our eyes watching the world, but also use our heart perceiving it. Our heart colors our view and our view reflects our mindset.

The internationally renowned inspirational author Wayne Dyer ever said, "When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."

When a person makes judgment about another, it reveals more the speaker’s morality and personality, fair or unfair, biased or open-minded, kind or mean, decent or obscene. Also, from one’s assumptions of others’ life and activities, we can tell that person’s moral standard, inner being, and hidden desires.

Words are mirror of one’s heart.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friends of Different Kinds


About 2,500 years ago, Confucius ever classified friends into two kinds: helpful and harmful. He also stated that helpful friends include, who are candid and straightforward, who understand and forgive, and who are experienced and knowledgeable. Harmful friends include, who are narrow-minded and short-tempered, who are irresolute and unreliable, and who are sycophants and hypocrites.

Good friends give you constructive advice, encourage you, and still love you though knowing all your shortcomings. They are not always around, but will definitely show up when you need help. They are delighted by your success and happiness; they care about your worries and pains. They push you up.

Bad friends speak guileful words and pretend to like you but may betray you under certain circumstances. During your good days, they would like surround you and flatter you; when you lose your wealth and status, they vanish quickly. They gloat at your loss and misery. They may lack self-discipline or have bad habits, which exert bad influence on you. They drag you down.

One takes the color of one’s company; one receives moral influence by close association. So, we have to be careful of what kind of friends we have and be proactive to choose the right kind and avoid the wrong kind. The famous talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey ever claimed some friends could be toxic and would ruin your life, whom you would rather be alone than hang out with.

Taiwanese writer Yu Guangzhong - I guess he is a leisurely man - ever classified friends into four kinds: classy and interesting, classy and boring, vulgar and funny, vulgar and boring, which sound a categorization of people.

We can choose our friends; meantime, we are chosen by others. We should be good human beings and beneficial friends first to deserve good friendship.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stories of Zen

Help Yourself

A man was troubled by the hardship of life, so he went to a temple, kneeled down, worshipped a Buddha, and prayed with a string of beads in his hand.

Afterwards, he noticed the Buddha was praying with a string of beads in his hand, too. He was bewildered.

A master in the temple said, “You ask the Buddha for help, but the Buddha has his own trouble, too. He has to help himself first.”

Asking for help is no better than helping yourself first.


A Zen master met a man on his journey, who disliked the Zen master and tried all his means to insult the master.

Finally, the Zen master turned to the man and asked, “If someone wants to give you a gift, but you refuse to accept it, then who owns the gift?”

The man replied, “It still belongs to that person who intends to give me the gift.”

The Zen master smiled, “Right. Likewise, if I don’t accept your insults, you are insulting yourself.”

A Tea Cup

A student went to visit a Zen master for Zen philosophy. The Zen Master asked the student to sit at a table and he prepared tea for him. The student was very talkative and he told the master he knew a lot of ancient classics.

The master poured tea into the tea cup until it was full; however, he continued to pour tea into the cup. Tea flowed out from the cup to the table, dropped off from the edge and wetted the student’s clothes.

The student watched the master pouring the tea, and shouted, “It is overflowing. Don’t pour again.”

“You are like this cup, full of your own opinions and thoughts.” The master said, “If you don’t empty yourself first, how can I teach you Zen?”

The Light of Comprehension

When studying the Buddhism scripture, a student asked his master, “You described the pure land; I can’t see it, how can I believe it?”

The master led the student to a dark room and said, “There is a hammer at the corner of the room.”

The student opened his eyes wide and then narrowed his eyes; however hard he tried he couldn’t see anything in the deep darkness.

The master lit a candle, for sure, there was a hammer at the corner of the wall.

That you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it does not exist. You have to light the lamp in your heart to vision the pure land.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Build up Your Core Value

It is important that you know your core value and you align your core value with your life. If you don’t know what you believe in and what you can do to make a living, at worst, you may feel like you’re an empty cotton sack – you are unable to stand on your own, you have to be held by somebody; if somebody loosens his/her grip, you will likely slump into a pileup on the ground.

Put rice into the empty cotton sack, the fuller the sack is, and the better it stands independently. Fill yourself with belief, confidence, love, knowledge, skill and other positive elements, and find out your personal passion, your deepest motivator and your strongest trait, stick on them, you can stand in any circumstance and you will not easily be beaten down, even if you were beaten down, you could collect and rebuild yourself in short time. What’s more, your core value can make you build a good relationship, for you have to be independent first, then you can go interdependent.

You have to figure out what you truly believe in and insist on it. Your inner self may make some people like you and make some hate you. Don’t try to please anyone; you may end up losing everyone. Brand yourself, feel ease to be yourself, send out a strong personal message, you will eventually benefit from your persistence.

Discover your personal passion and develop your knowledge and skill to actualize it. You have to make a living first, then you can pursue your dream. I know some people intended to rescue others until they found they were struggling with life themselves, and then they chose to be rescued by God first.

Create your material and spiritual wealth. Without material wealth, you cannot be spiritually free. Without spiritual cultivation, material wealth just provides more chance for you to go lascivious and excessive.

Use five key words to summary up what are important for you and what are your main qualities. Personal values can be beauty, intelligence, health, wealth, discipline, communication, family, love, fun, hard-working, commitment, generosity, courage, knowledge, skill, leadership, passion, persistence, meaning, prestige and more.

Live concordantly with your core value, you can find real happiness and success.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Your Core Value

I ever read this story in several inspirational books:

An instructor held a $20 bill asking the entire class,

“I will give this bill to anyone who wants it. If you want to have it please raise up your hand.”

The entire class raised up their hands. Then, the instructor threw the $20 bill onto the floor and tramped on it several times. He asked again,

“If you still want this bill, please raise your hand.”

The class was silent, and only seven or eight students raised their hands.

The instructor trampled the bill again, making it wrinkled and dirty, then he picked up the bill asking the entire class,

“Who still wants this bill?”

In the back of classroom, two or three students raised their hands.

The instructor said, “You see, how dirty the bill is, how bad I treated it, someone still wants it, because its core value doesn’t change – it’s still worthy of 20 dollars.”

You are much better than that twenty dollar bill. You have treasture in your brain, you have beauty in your heart, and you can be worth millions or billions. Without your permission, no one can diminish you or destroy you.

Your core value determines who you are and how you live a life. Knowing you core value, you can reach the realm of unconditional self acceptance. People can badmouth you, slander you and defame you, and you can encounter drawbacks, failures, financial trouble, or job loss, but all of these will not diminish your core value, you are still you. When you know your core value and your intrinsic worth, you can accept and love yourself at any situation, and you will not be impacted by the other people’s judgment and you are able to live through all kinds of adversities.

You can discover your core value by asking these questions, “What do I truly believe in?” “What’s the most important thing in the life?” “What bring me sense of fulfillment and satisfaction?” “What character and knowledge do I have to fulfill the meaning of life?” Trust your gut feelings and follow your internal call. After answering this questions, you will know your deep longing and desire in life, you will find your calling.

What’s your top core value? Someone may answer “intelligence”, for he can learn anything quick to adapt to the fast pace of technology advancement, and then he can feel useful and powerful. Someone may answer “curiosity”, for curiosity is the starting point of any discovery and invention, which will bring boundless wealth. Someone may answer “integrity”, even the other overpass him by foul play, he still believes that “integrity” is a surefire way leading to the ultimate triumph.

If you don’t live accordantly with your core value, you may feel bored, unhappy, or lack of meaning. After you align your core value with your life, your core value will become your primary drive of your life, guiding you to procure what you want from life, such as love, satisfaction, fulfillment, fame, success, wealth or power.