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Who am I?

时间:2010-11-01 10:23:42  来源:Stories of GLV   作者:Hong Xiuping

A young boy asked a wise man: how can I become someone who can bring happiness to others as well as to myself? The wise man gave him an answer which the boy carried with him during his long life. When he passed away he was still remembered by others long after his death. All of them said that he was a wise man, for he not only brought happiness to himself, but to everyone he met.


        There is a widespread story about four beneficial sayings which are enlightening. A young boy went to visit a sage and asked him, “How can I become someone who can bring happiness to others as well as to myself?” The wise man looked at him quietly and said, “A boy at your age with such a hope is really remarkable. I’d like to give you four suggestions which can benefit your life. The first one is, ‘Consider yourself as you would others.’ Can you tell me your understanding of this?”

“Is it saying that I should consider myself as others when I am suffering and sad, so that the suffering and sadness are cut in half? I should also consider myself as others when I am overjoyed, so that I can appreciate my joy serenely.”
The wise man nodded a little and spoke again.
 ”The second is, ‘consider others as yourself.’” The boy pondered a while and said,”When we can truly sympathize with those people who are miserable, we can understand what they need and give them appropriate and necessary help when they need it.”
The wise man was delighted and with twinkling eyes, he offered the boy the next sentence.
” The third sentence is, ’consider others as others.’” The boy replied, “Isn’t it telling us that we should respect everyone as a different individual and never, ever, should we breach their individuality?”
“Good, very good,” the wise man burst into laughter, “you are very quick to learn. The fourth sentence is, ‘Take yourself as yourself.’ This sentence is extremely difficult to understand, you can ponder it for the rest of your life.”
The boy said, “There are many contradictions among these four thoughts, is there any chance that I can integrate them?” “Easily,” the wise man answered, “with all the time and experiences left to you.” The boy kept silent for a long time before he kowtowed and left.
After that, the boy became a man and lived a long life. When he passed away he was still remembered by others long after his death. All of them said that he was a wise man, for he not only brought happiness to himself, but to everyone he met.
This is how the story ends. How can we interpret, “take yourself as yourself?” The author wants everyone to understand it in their own way.
I got this story from my second eldest sister and passed it on to my colleagues and friends. After hearing their answers to this question, I’d really like to share my own thoughts. From my perspective, I should know who I am before I can answer that question.
* Hong Xiuping *
In September, 1988, age 27, I realized my long-held dream of going to America to further my studies. I was very obsessed with foreign countries, especially America before I went abroad. However, I didn’t realize that I am a Chinese and can’t integrate myself into the western thoughts given my native blood, stomach and heart, until I arrived in America. That was when I came to know that blood is, indeed, thicker than water.
In July, 1993, I came back from America at the age of thirty-two. I was then married and a father. I had a sonand I also needed to be a filial son to my parents. It was time to say goodbye to my wandering life.
I came to Zhuhai with my family in September, 1998 and started GLV after a long, difficult, time of unemployment. I was notsure about future directions, but I believe that when all the doors are closed, there must be a window open for me. I believe that,“Man proposes, God disposes.”
In November, 2003, an American EPA (English Program Administrator) who had been helping me manage GLV for more than two years, changed direction and became a university teacher. From then on, I had to go to the frontlines and handle a lot of things by myself, for example, human resources and teaching affairs and conflicts concerning the students. The ball was passed to me and the whole team would collapse if I didn’t take it. Only then did I realize the full responsibilities of the Headmaster of GLV.
In May, 2004, I went back to Hangzhou to attend my nephew Yuanyuan’s wedding ceremony. Many neighbors, primary schoolclassmates, former teachers and friends from the army were invited to the ceremony. All of us met again and shared our storiessince departing from one another decades before. From this happy gathering, I came to understand that, at heart, I was still a small potato who lived in the Nongtang, and it was the childhood simplicity and ordinary things that pleased me.
In the middle of June, 2004, my wife went back to Colombia to participate in her younger sister’s wedding ceremony, leaving me to take care of our two children. Both of them contracted chicken pox during that time and I had to stay at home for almost a month with the kids and fully experienced the responsibilities of parenthood.
In July, 2004, I was invited to the graduation ceremony at the Guangzhou Handicapped People’s English Training School. I felt terribly guilty when I saw their inspiring and positive attitudes. I had come there with some foreign teachers and had promised to help the students. However, two years had passed and we had hardly done anything. Suddenly it occurred to me that somehow we were all handicapped. The true handicapped people were the ones who are disabled in their heart, in their will and in their spirit.
On June, 2005, I went to Xiuwen, Guiyang to visit the famous contemporary Confucian scholar, Jiang Qing. That was the first time for me to kowtow in front of the statute of Confucius, the first time to enjoy Jiang Qing’s introduction to the stories of the deceased Confucian scholars and the first time I understood the essence of Chinese traditional culture and the current mission for China.
On June, 2006, with my mother’s guidance, I took my son to pay a visit to my grandfather’s tomb and held a remembrance ritual. After that, I walked into the memorial temple of my family to see the family tree for the first time and realized that the long-standing Chinese traditional cultures had been passed down through the lives of generations of ancestors and were being carried on by the present generation.
In December, 2006, I lived with my aging mother and listened to her life stories every day. I learned about things related to self-cultivation and family harmony. I also started to understand that we can be filial to our parents through respect and obedience.
On March 31st, 2007, Hangzhou GLV’s opening ceremony was held after six month’s preparation. My mother finally agreed to go back to Hangzhou to join the ceremony with her old friends and neighbors. Making my mother happy is one of the motives for me to open a branch school in Hangzhou. More than sixty years ago, my mother came to Hangzhou from Qingtian, Zhejiang, to make a living. She had gone go through a lot to raise us. All of my modest achievements are attributed to her lifetime of hard work and expectations as well as to the help from our relatives, neighbors, classmates, teachers and friends. Among the laughter and good wishes of the opening festivities I found the goals and directions that are worth aiming for.
Life is to discover, to understand, to know, yourself. True heroes are those who conquer themselves, not the world. How can anyone know others, know the world and life itself without knowing himself or herself first? To know oneself is true progress. As Lao-tzu said long ago, “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
Emperor Taizong of Tang once said that “Using a bronze mirror, we can exam how we dress; studying history, we can understand why powers rose and fell; observing other people's successes and failures, we will know what to do and what not to do.”
It is much easier to judge others than to judge ourselves . To go beyond ourselves is a lifelong goal.
“Consider yourself as yourself”, simple as the words are, it requires a lifetime of experiences to discover the truths and mysteries contained within them.

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