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Who can say what is good or bad?

If you're looking for a great inspirational read I highly recommend the book "Bend not Break" by Ping Fu. I discuss the book in the following video if you are interested.



I loved the following story the author recounts in her book which was one of the classical Chinese stories her father had her memorize.


"Who can say what is good or bad?"

Among the people who lived close to the border, there was an old wise man who led a kind and peaceful life. Without reason, his horse escaped one day and fled into barbarian territory. Everyone in the village pitied him. But the old man said: “What makes you think this is not a good thing?”


Several months later, the old man’s horse returned, and a superb barbarian stallion accompanied him. His neighbors congratulated the old man. But he said: “What makes you think this cannot be a bad thing?”


The old man’s grandson enjoyed riding the new horse. But one day, he fell while riding and broke his hip. Everyone pitied the old man once again. But he said: What makes you think this is not a good thing?”


One year later, a large party of barbarians invaded the border region. All the men from the village drew their bows and went to battle, where nine out of ten of them died. But because he was lame, the old man’s grandson did not have to go to war. His life was spared!


“Who can say what is good or bad?” is a widely known Buddhist teaching about radical acceptance and non-judgement. The author's life journey taught her not to count on a better outcome before life presents you with it. Our choice is how to interpret what happens to us on our journeys and how to treat the people we meet along the way. Our choice, always is to love and to understand.


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