The world entangled

The world entangled.
I used to want to disentangle it,
to loosen each knot.
Oh! I was patient, very patient.
At times I succeeded and was rewarded with a smile.
Now that white hairs mingle with black ones,
now that lines draw themselves under my eyes,
I have stepped aside.
I see the entanglement,
I even know where it comes from.
Pride, arrogance, envy, and more,
all those attachments that people persist in pursuing —
the constant call of the ego.
I have learned to let it all be.
I still shed tears because the world is hurting,
but I no longer try to loosen the knots.
Now I just come here and write a few words.
If you do not understand the compassion in my poetry,
it is fine by me.

Kenza.

The Tao: three treasures

If I may, I share here one passage from the “Tao Te Ching,” a book I actually read every morning. I read this passage to my nine year old son today, after we had a discussion on patience and reaching compromises with people who may not want to do so. I thought it offered three pieces of advice, which applicability is apt for most situations in life. Thank you.

“Some say my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I just have three things to teach:
simplicity, patience and compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both your friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings of the world.”

– Poem 67 of the “Tao Te Ching” by Lao Tzu (VIth. c. BCE), translated by Stephen Mitchell (1999).

A heavy burden

“Accomplish but do not boast,
accomplish without show,
accomplish without arrogance.”
Lao Tzu

A long time ago in China, two monks were traveling in a carriage returning to their monastery. One was an old master with a gentle smile and sparkling eyes. While his hands looked like old pine trees twisted by age, his back was straight and his mind most sharp. The other one was a young monk and his student. While he was in the prime of his youth, unlike his master, he retained a rather stern demeanour and small lines had already started to form between his thin eyebrows.

After many days of travel, they finally reached the village at the foot of the mountain where their monastery was located. It was raining steadily. A large puddle greeted the travelers as they stepped out of the carriage.

A lady dressed in long robes and wearing silk slippers looked upon the puddle. “How can I come down? This is terrible! I will get my clothes and my slippers all dirty!”

Upon seeing her distress, the old monk gently lifted her in his arms and carried her across the puddle to a dry place under a large tree. His legs were all muddied and his sandals and robe soaked. He bowed and smiled at her, both gestures left unrequited.

Still smiling, the old master called upon his student so they may start their long walk up the mountain to the monastery.

They walked in silence. The old monk humming some mantras, listening to the birds and caressing the high grass with his palms.

After some time, the young monk turned to his master, and with deeper than usual lines between his thin eyebrows, told him:

“This is just terrible! You carried the lady across the puddle, got all muddied and wet, and she never thanked you! How ungrateful of her!”

The old monk replied with a gentle smile: “I stopped carrying the lady hours ago, while it seems you are still carrying her!”

Kenza.