What I Have Lived For

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A friend of mine showed me this quote: Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge …

Love myself… But how?

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[Letter from Guidance Counsellor Kisa Sohma:]  The most important thing it to love yourself, to discover your good sides and to love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, no one else would love you, either. Right? [Yuki Sohma:] To love myself… But how? How do I discover good sides of myself? I only know my ugly side, and that’s why …

Philosophy is meant for life!

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Socrates thought of philosophy as something that came from life and was meant for life, not something that came from books and was meant for books. And this thing (philosophy) that meant “the love of wisdom” he called “a rehearsal (melete) for dying.” Peter Kreeft, Before I Go: Letters to our children about what really matters, n.42, p.70 (United Kingdom: …

Wisdom from the Tao Te Ching

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名與身孰親?身與貨孰多?得與亡孰病?是故甚愛必大費;多藏必厚亡。知足不辱,知止不殆,可以長久。 Lao Tzu (老子), Tao Te Ching (道德經), n.44 Translation by John Wu (1962): As for your name and your body, which is the dearer? As for your body and your wealth, which is the more to be prized? As for gain and loss, which is the more painful? Thus, an excessive love for anything will cost you dear in …

Two Kinds of Time

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There are two kinds of time. Abstract time (kronos in Greek) is a scientific concept, a way of measuring matter moving through space. Concrete time (kairos in Greek) is lived time. We call it our “lifetime.” Time is life. So to give someone your time is to give him your life. Our families are the ones we give our lives …

Death puts life into proper perspective.

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Death (our own death) puts life into proper perspective. Things that seemed important recede into triviality when you’re dying – things like fame and money and stuff. And things we usually ignore – things like love, trust, honesty, self-giving, and forgiveness – these stand out as infinitely more important in light of death. Death’s dark light is pretty bright! Whatever …

刻苦耐勞 飲水思源

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刻苦耐勞 飲水思源 Literally means: To suffer hardship and persevere in toil. When drinking water, think of its source. What it means is that one should always be hardworking and persevering in all things, at all times. And whatever we do, we should always remember and be grateful to all those who have helped us in one way or another, in …

I hate falsehood!

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One sentence sums up my essays: I hate falsehood… Right is made to appear wrong, and falsehood is regarded as truth. How can I remain silent! … When I read current books of this kind, when I see truth overshadowed by falsehood, my heart beats violently, and my brush trembles in my hand. How can I be silent! When I …

Those well-timed words

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Those well-timed words, whispered into the ear of your wavering friend; the helpful conversation that you managed to start at the right moment; the ready professional advice that improves his university work; the discreet indiscretion by which you open up unexpected horizons for his zeal. This all forms part of the “apostolate of friendship”. St. Josemaría Escrivá, The Way (Manila: …

側隱之心

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Just learnt this phrase today. It literally means: the hidden side of the heart, which refers to compassion. Well, compassion is not even a close match to what it means to say. But I think it is the closest word. This phrase comes from a very beautiful passage from the Mencius (公孫醜上) (The English title is completely different from the …

默觀 (Contemplation)

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I just realised that the Chinese word for “contemplation” is 默觀. Though there are several phrases for the word, “contemplation”, in Chinese, this term stands out as the most meaningful one. 默 refers to being silent and still. 觀 refers to studying, observing, and at the same time, refers to looking with one’s eyes. These two words come together to …