Thursday, April 05, 2012


風 fēng
調 tiáo
雨 yǔ
順 shùn

盤 pán
滿 mǎn
家 jiā
和 hé

The above proverb has hung on a wall in my dining hall for the past 10 years and from where I sit at every meal I would gaze up and read them and nod my head in thanksgiving for the wisdom it carry in these 8 syllables. Chinese words are rich in contents yet concise in expression, unlike many other languages that take a paragraph or more to say the same thing.

The first block means gentle wind and smooth rain. It conjures an image of tranquillity and passivity. In life this imply a journey filled with lack of wants; the winds provide steady supplies and the rain constant replenishments. Those who live under this proverbial saying are content and happy; they are not striking at reaching greater heights, greater wealth or greater power. They understand life is to be appreciated and enjoyed moment by moment, like a child under an open rain, licking up the raindrops and smiling at the skies.

The second block means a plate that is full and a home that is at peace. Again this imagery is enviously possessed by those who are always seeking for more and more wealth, not knowing when enough is enough, and hence not able to enjoy life. In doing so they exposed themselves to family discords and peace become a prize they see drifting away. A man who knows when he has enough to feed his family and spend time with them is one who lives in the present, enjoying the blessings of love, want and contentment.

These two proverbs constantly remind me of the rich blessings my family and I have been bestowed with from God and my response is to cast my eyes within my own flock and not seek a greener pasture.

The two sayings were presented as scrolls from a bank 10 years ago. Although they may appear jaded the rich wisdom have guided me through the years. They are more precious than knowledge and skills. They are the gems that help a person live life well.

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