Poem to awaken the world – Part 5

Continuing from previous article…..


The fifth part goes like this.


and it can be roughly translated as follows;

吃些虧處原無礙 – occasionally being disadvantaged is alright

This principle of letting other win is not being taught or exemplified in our modern society. In our modern world, many people are taught to win at all cost. The word LOSER is associated with people who does not know how to exert their presence and seen as a failure in life. Through mass media, this concept is being taught around the world.

Everybody wants to win…

Nobody wants to back off and thus fighting becomes common.

Between nations, this can really turn into mass suffering.

In the olden days, a person who knows how to sacrifice his personal benefits for the greater cause of bringing good to others were praised. People who knows self restraint and control are respected.

Master De Qing is asking his disciples to learn how to accept disadvantages in life occasionally if it is not going to cause much problem. We do not always need to have things go according to our wishes and whims.

退讓三分也不妨 – why not retreat and give way to others

Continuing from the previous stanza, the Master challenge us, why not give in to others and retreat? So reading both stanza together: Since there is no harm is suffering some disadvantage occasionally, why not give in to others and retreat?

As can be seen. The Master is teaching us to let go of ego and pride. Let go of self interest. Learn how to take a step back and give way to others. From a Buddhist perspective, these are training that allow us to lessen our self interest and ago.

As can be seen in today’s world, what we need are more people who knows how to back off to preserve harmony. We need to relearn that backing off is not a sign of weakness but nobleness. Perhaps it will encourage a culture of mutual respect and peace if children and youth are being educated to appreciate the noble quality of giving way to others occasionally.

春日才看楊柳綠,秋風又見菊花黃 – the spring just turns the willow green and its already autumn with the chrysanthemum in yellow

Both stanza read together, convey the quick passage of time. Within a year, we see the seasons changes quickly.

The master evoke the quick passage of time to help us understand that whatever disadvantage we choose to suffer by letting others win. It passes quickly in a flash of time.

It also reflects the impermanence of life and the ever changing nature of life events. Whatever we win today, we may lose it tomorrow. Nothing in life is certain. Whatever we choose to let go may end up being a blessing instead.

So in a way, if we learn how to let go at the appropriate time, we learn to give ourselves an alternative. We give ourselves the opportunity to walk away from SELF CREATED stress, let others win and we find our inner peace. We rebalance our life, our health and our mind. Nothing so bad about that if we let go of ego and pride.

Sail out of a storm and there is a sunny island waiting for us.

That’s my limited translation and interpretation of the 5th prose. (to be continued…..)

醒世歌 (poem of awakening)


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