Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Some Chinese Proverbs

Over at Chinese Folktales, there was a recent post which listed a number of Chinese proverbs. Below is an excerpt. The full post may be read here. Enjoy

The child who suffers grows as a person. [Amis] (With hardship comes growth and maturity.)

Don't be like the one who kicks a cat after losing a wrestling match. [Bunun] (In other words, don't be a poor sport.)

Even the fragile dragonfly can cast a big shadow. [Amis] (Don't underestimate the strength and ability of others. Each of us, in his/her own modest way, is capable of some greatness.)

Whether you win or lose, wipe off the dust after wrestling. [Bunun] (Once a contest or an argument has been settled, it's time to get back to normality and to move on. "Let bygones be bygones, for now everything is water under the bridge.")

Your good looks don't help in the rice paddy. [Amis] (There is a time for preening in front of the mirror; however, it doesn't supersede the work to be done. When at work, put aside your vanity. Anything accomplished will be through the sweat of your labor, not through your beauty or handsomeness.)

A curse is something with long-lasting wings. [Bunun] (Watch out! All your cursing of others may come back to you. "What goes around comes around," an African-American saying tells us.)

When sad, look to the blue sky, not to the ground below. [Amis] (When upset, take heart by looking at the majesty of the untrodden heavens, rather than the uninspiring dirt.)

A mouth is like an anus. [Bunun] (Both apertures are capable of producing many items of embarrassing worthlessness. Prudent expression is a virtue. "Silence is golden." When not in polite company, some of us in the USA might say that "an opinion is like [an anus]; everyone has one.")

Let your heart shine like the moon but your deeds, like the sun. [Amis] (Your inner quality, with all its goodness, should remain modest and not draw attention to itself. Your accomplishments, however, should speak louder than words. They should speak for themselves.)

The bear's sharpest claws remain hidden. [Bunun] (It's the silent dogs that bite" without warning. The shrewd, the cunning, even the dangerous may seldom announce themselves.)

Don't talk back to your elders or older siblings; after all, they saw the sun before you did! [Bunun] (Respect your elders; their accumulated knowledge and wisdom supersedes your own! This proverb may allude to the myth common to many indigenous Taiwanese tribes of the heroes who set off  to shoot down the gigantic sun [or multiple suns] which had shone twenty-four hours a day.)

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