Poem to awaken the world – Part 3

Continuing from previous article…..

The third prose continue with the master’s earnest advice to his disciples, telling them to live a peaceful life filled with loving kindness and avoid conflict.


The third part goes like this.


and it can be roughly translated as follows;

從來強弩弦先斷 –  The taut bowstring will break first

In the 3rd pose, Master De Qing starts to reference weapons so that the poem evoke the human emotion of malice and ill will. It also brings to mind violence and human conflicts.

A person who is stubborn, dogmatic and attached to their egoistic principles cannot accept alternative views and opinion. They do not empathise with others and do not compromise. Such people are unforgiving and inflexible. They easily develop ill will towards those who does not share their views.


The bow string being taut, made it lethal. Yet it is the tautness of the string that cause it to snap. I believe Master De Qing was advising his disciples not to be like that.

Instead one should learn to be more forgiving, open minded, kind and gentle. Have a more pliant and embracing nature.

The bow inflicts harm by shooting at its target from a distance and perhaps remains hidden.

In this instance, I think this stanza also refers to the act of harming others through speech, especially behind their victim’s back. This is because when read in conjunction with the 3rd stanza that deals with idle speech, this interpretation adds another layer of meaning, making it more vibrant.

Again the imagery of a bowstring snapping when trying to cause harm to others is a powerful warning of karma payback.

每見鋼刀口易傷 – The sharp edges of a sabre chips easily

The sabre brings to mind violence of cutting and slashing. It is brutish and meant to inflict harm by direct confrontation.

Its sharp edges represents both physical and verbal violence against others. The metallic nature of a sabre brings to mind the same hard quality of the taut bowstring as mentioned above.

Instead of conjuring up an image of a hidden assassin, the sabre brings to mind an image of a brutish bully. Someone who is prone to verbal and physical outburst. A person who does not have self restrain and lashes out at the slightest offend. (reminds me of someone in USA 🙂 )

Again the same advice is being dispense. Although the sabre’s cutting edge inflict the greatest damage, it is also the first to be chipped when faced with a harder substance.

In a nut shell, it means to say : While inflicting harm upon others, one also end up being damaged or hurt

惹禍只因閒口舌 – adversity is caused by idle talk

The importance of right speech is emphasised by Master DeQing by stating that idle talk causes adversity and obstacles to our life.

In the name of entertainment and being an “interesting” person, we sometimes engage in idle speech. We gossip, converse on topics that stir people’s emotion, tell tales, brag, spread rumours, critique people for fun etc. All these are wrong speech.


“And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.”

The master advice us that adversity in life is largely caused by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong people. He therefore caution his disciple to be mindful of their speech least it creates difficulties in their life.


招愆多為狠心腸 – downfalls are mostly the result of malice

Master de Qing caution his disciples not to be mean and malicious in life. An unforgiving and cruel nature attracts lots of enemies. Therefore it is inevitable that it leads toward downfalls in life.

In summary, Master De Qing advices us to be a kind hearted person with an embracing nature. Be forgiving and filled with love.




That’s my limited translation and interpretation of the 3rd prose. (to be continued…..)

醒世歌 (poem of awakening)



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