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A Mater of the Mind

King Xiang leaned the skill of driving a carriage from Wang Ziqi. After sometime the king race with Wang. He changed horses three times but every time he trailed behind Wang.

In teach me to drive a carriage you have held something back, said the king.

I have taught you all I know, Wang replied. But you have not used my skill in the proper way. The important thing about driving a carriage is that the horses body should feel comfortable with the carriage and the drivers mind should be in harmony with the horses. Then you can achieve great speed and go long distance. Now when you are behind me, sire, you want to catch up with me, and when you are in front of me you are afraid I would catch up with you. When driving carriage in long distance races one is either in front or behind. And no matter whether you are leading or trailing your mind is set on me. Then how can it be in harmony with the horses? This is why you could not catch up with me.

A Matter of Discrimination

Bo le, famous for his ability to judge horses, taught those whom he disliked how to spot fine horses that could cover a thousand mile in one day. As to people he liked, he taught them to be a good judge of ordinary horses, not particularly fleet of foot. It is very seldom that one discovers a fine steed and such profits are slow in coming. Ordinary horses are sold everyday and one could make money in a very short time.

 Earnest    Prayers

In the state of Wei a couple was praying to the God.

Please let me have one hundred strings of cash without having to work for it, prayed the wife.

Why so little? asked her husband.

If we have more, came her reply, youd go and get a concubine.

Fishing     Tips

When Zijiang was appointed magistrate of Dan county he paid Zhou a visit.

Sir, said Zijiang, do you have any advice to give me?

All my life, said Zhou, I have occupied a lowly position and I know little about governing people. But there are two things about fishing I would like you accept as present from me.

What about fishing? asked Zijiang.

When you drop your line with the bait in a place and a fish immediately comes forward to swallow it, that fish is sure to be a yangqiao which has very little flesh and is not tasty at all. A fish that seems to be there and then disappears; a fish that seems to swallow the bait and then lets go of it C that is a bream which has a lot of flesh and extremely tasty.

Sir, your advice is excellent, said Zijing.

Before Zijiang reached Dan he was met on the way by lot of officials garbed in splendid robes, sitting in canopied carriages.

Get going, get going. Ziijang urged his servants, the yangqiao Zhou told me about have to shown up.

When he reached Dan, he respectfully invited wise old men who were highly esteemed to govern the county with him.

Friend  or  Foe?

When Wenzi of state of Jin became a fugitive he passed a certain country.

The magistrate of this place is an old friend of yours, said his attendants. Why dont you stay here and rest a bit while waiting for the carriages that are coming behind us?

At one time when I was fond of music, replied Wenzi , this man gave me a beautiful tuned qin. There was another time when I became fond of jade ornaments; then he gave jade rings. He was ready to abet me in my wrongdoings. Since he put himself out to win my favor, I am afraid that he will use me to win someone elses favor.

Thus Wenzi departed. It turned out that the magistrate did stop two carriages that came after Wenzi and offered them as a gift to his new master.

Ghost and Drawing

The king of the state of Qi asked his guest who was drawing a picture for him, What is most difficult to draw?

Dogs and horses are the most difficult.

What are the easiest?

Ghosts are the easiest. Dogs and horses are familiar sights that we behold from morning till evening and it is not easy to capture the likeness. That is why they are so difficult to draw. As for ghosts, they have no shape and they do not appear before us. That is why it is so easy to draw them.

Giving the Seedlings a Hand

Long time ago, a man was worried about his seedlings growing too slowly. He pulled up the seedlings one by one and came home exhausted.

I am tried out today. I helped the seedlings to grow, he said to his family.

His son hurried the fields to have a look and found that all the seedlings had shriveled up.

Hardly a Wise Move

A man of the state of Lu was skilled in weaving hemp sandals while his wife was good at weaving fine white silk. The couple thought of moving to state of Yue in the south.

You will be in dire straits, he was told.

Why? asked the man of Lu

Hemp sandals are for walking but the people of Yue walk barefoot. White silk is for making hats but the people of Yue go about bare-headed. If you go to a place where your skills are utterly useless, how can you hope to do well?

It pays to Wait

Two tigers were fighting over a man. Zi was about to stab the beasts.

Yu stopped him. Tigers are greedy and ferocious beasts and man is delicious food for them.

Now two tigers are fighting over a man. The smaller tiger is sure to die and larger will certainly be wounded. Wait till the tiger is wounded before stabbing it. With one blow you will get two tigers. Then you would have been spared the trouble of killing one tiger while getting the credit for putting two tigers to death.

Ma, it is No Use to Chanting the Name of Buddha

Yonglings mother was a devout Buddhist. So much so that she would recite the scriptures without ceasing from morning till night. One day Yongling pretended to have something to say to her and called her while she was chanting the name of Buddha. His mother stopped to answer him; ye he kept on calling her.

Stop it! his mother finally lost her temper. Why keep on calling me like that?

You see, mother, replied the son, you get angry with me simply because I have called you a few times. Imagine how angry Buddha will be when you chant his name thousands of times a day.

At this his mother begins to see the light.

 Making His Mark

A Chu man was crossing a river. In the boat, his sword fell into the water. Immediately he makes a mark on the boat.

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 foolish way to look for a sword?

 Mans MeatBirds Poison

Once upon a time, a yuanju, a fabulous bird from the sea, rested in the suburbs of the state of Lu. With great pomp and ceremony the marquis of Lu escorted the bird to his ancestral temple where a toast was respectfully drunk to it. The ancient music of jiushao usually reserved for grand occasions was played. Beef, pork and lamb which were used as sacrificial of offerings for important events were spread before the bird.

The bird became dizzy and pined away, not daring to touch a morsel of meat or a cup of wine. After three days it was dead.

The Marquis treated the bird I the way he himself would want to be treated, not in the way the bird would like to be treated.

Being Oneself

Yun was wandering in the park at Tiao-ling, he saw a strange bird which came from south. Its wings were seven feet across. Its eyes were an inch in circumference. It flew close past Yuns head to alight in a chestnut grove.

What manner of bird is this? cried Yun With strong wings it does not fly away. With large eyes it does not see.

So he picked up his skirts and strode towards it with his crossbow, anxious to get a shot. Just then he saw a cicada enjoying itself in the shade, forgetful of all else. And he saw a mantis spring and seize it, forgetting in the act its own body, which the strange bird immediately pounced upon and made its prey. And this it was which had caused the bird forget its own nature.

That strange bird which flew close past Yun to the chestnut grove, forgot its nature; Yun strolled into the park at Tiao-ling, Yun forgot his real self; We are sure we have lost something in the mere pursuit of living.

On Lucky

An old man was living with his son at an abandoned fort on the top of hill, one day lost a horse. The neighbors came to express their sympathy for this misfortune; the Old Man asked How do you know this is a bad luck? A few days afterwards, his horse returned with a number of wild horses, and his neighbors came again to congratulate him on this stroke of fortune, and the Old Man replied, How do you know this is good luck? With man horses around, his son began to take to riding, one day he broke his leg. Again the neighbors came around to express their sympathy, and the Old man replied, How do you know this is bad luck? The next year, there was a war, and because the Old Mans son was crippled, he did not have to go to the front.

Ostrich Logic

Fan, a nobleman of Jin, became a fugitive; a commoner found a bell and wanted to carry it off on his back. But the bell was too big for him. When he tried to knock it into pieces with a hammer there was a loud clanging sound. He was afraid that someone will hear the noise and take the bell from him, so he immediately stopped his own ears.

To worry about other people hearing the noise is understandable, but to worry about himself hearing the noise (as if stopping his own ears would prevent other people from hearing) is absurd.

Telling   Company

A Chu man was skilled in physiognomy. His comments were very accurate and his fame spread through the state. King Zhuang sent for him and asked him the secret of his success.

Sire, said the man, I am not good at judging character or telling fortune by examining a persons face. I arrive at my conclusions through observing a persons friend.

Unwise  to  Wait

A man had a neighbor who was a malicious brute. He wanted to sell his house and get away from the fellow.

His sins will soon come to a head and he will have his just deserts, he was told, why not wait a little while?

I am afraid, he replied, that his sin will come to a head through me. So he moved.

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