道场 Dào·Chǎng

Notes of a lifelong learner and perpetual beginner on martial arts, mindfulness, Chinese calligraphy…and many, many cups of tea.


Leave a comment

Bad Luck, Good Luck

image

There was a man who lived near the frontier who was well versed in the workings of fate. For no reason his horse ran away into the land of the nomads. Everyone else commiserated with him, but his father said, “How do you know this won’t unexpectedly turn out to be good luck?”

After several months his horse returned with fine nomad horses. Everyone else congratulated him, but his father said, “How do you know this won’t unexpectedly turn out to be bad luck?” The family was rich in fine horses, and the man’s son liked to ride. He fell and broke his hipbone; and everyone commiserated with him; but his  father said, “How do you know this won’t unexpectedly turn out to be good luck?”

After a year, the nomads made a great raid into the border. The young men in their prime  took their bows and went to do battle. Of those who lived near the frontier, nine out of ten died. But this father kept his only son because he was lame.

Thus good fortune turning into misfortune and misfortune turning into good fortune is a transformation without end, and the depths of it cannot be penetrated.

~ from the Huai Nan Zi (2nd century B.C.E.)

Advertisements