Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Once Upon a Time Wednesday...

Once upon a time...

When I was a very small cat herder (about 9 years old), I took Taekwondo. It's a korean martial art, and I actually ended up taking it for about 12 years, and am a second degree blackbelt now! But that is beside the point. Anyway, at the end of every class, our instructor would read us a passage from the Tao Te Ching while we were in "mah-kyum" (Korean for meditation... I can pronounce it great, but probably butchered the spelling! Sorry!!) After every class he would read a different passage, and after about 12 years of listening to said passages, they became deeply ingrained in my brain.

The Tao is actually a very old Chinese text written by Lao Tsu - it contains a lot of very short, very thought provoking philosophies - advice and lessons for life, let's say. Since it is a very old text, about 2500 years, it has thusly been translated many, MANY times, by many different people. The thoughts and ideas of the original Chinese were there, but every translation was a little bit different, so the words and sentence structure would vary.

Flash forward many years, to about 2006, when I am a more grown up cat herder and out on my own. I decide I want a copy of this book, the one I grew up listening to, that exact translation. But every book store I went to had about 500 other differently translated versions! Okay, I'm exaggerating. But it was still quite a hunt.

I managed to stumble upon one copy in a Barnes and Noble that was the 25th anniversary edition of the same, beat up old book that my "Sah-boom-nim" (Korean for master/instructor) would read from... :) And I was delighted!!

During my search, I would always flip to a certain passage in the book to see if it was worded exactly, then I knew I had the right one. Since I had no idea who had translated the copy I grew up on, I had to rely on my favorite passage by memory to judge it right! I'm going to share it with you; I have a handful of favorite passages in the book, but this one definitely means the most to me.


Between birth and death
Three in ten are followers of life,
Three in ten are followers of death,
And men just passing from birth to death also number three in ten.
Why is this so?
Because they live their lives on the gross level.

He who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
He will not be wounded in battle.
For in him rhinoceros can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so?
Because he has no place for death to enter.

What do you think it means? I think it means, live your life for the present, make every day the most important day of your life, because it is the one you are experiencing right now, and don't be afraid to live and experience life before it passes you by!! :)

I probably won't post until after Thanksgiving, so I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing holiday cherishing the things that are really important in life - something we should do every day! ...Oh, AND eat lots of turkey, stuffing, potatoes... we definitely should NOT do that every day, or else we'd all be 700 pounds with coronary failure, LOL :D HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y'ALL!!


Luna said...

you're lucky. i wanted to take martial arts when i was a kid too but couldnt. my mom was always telling me that stuff is for boys only even though she knew girls where taking the class too. that is a great passage too.

Krysten Hartenstein said...

Oh I really love that passage! Happy Thanksgiving lady!