My family watched the new “Karate Kid” tonight. In one scene, the teacher (Jackie Chan) tells the enthusiastic student (Jaden Smith) that they will not study the next day. The student is puzzled and asks “Why?”, to which the teacher replies “wù jí bì fǎn” and then translates in broken English as “too much something not good”.
Once Abbot Anthony was conversing with some brethren, and a hunter who was after game in the wilderness came upon them. He was Abbot Anthony and the brothers enjoying themselves, and disapproved. Abbot Anthony said: Put an arrow in your bow and shoot it. This he did. Now shoot another, said the elder. And another, and another. The hunter said: If I bend my bow all the time it will break. Abbot Anthony replied: So it is also in the work of God. If we push ourselves beyond measure, the brethren will soon collapse. It is right, therefore, from time to time, to relax their efforts.
- Things will develop in the opposite direction when they become extreme.
- As soon as a thing reaches its extremity, it reverses its course.
Literally translate, the characters mean: 物 things/极 in extreme / 必 necessitate /反 opposite
This concept is what is meant by the small circles of opposite colors in the classic Ying-Yang symbol shown above. This Taoist concept permeates Chinese culture. In fact it is even found in their games. I run a WeiQi club in my town, and tomorrow I will bring my WeiQi stones and board to the meeting. I snapped this picture to show you my WeiQi set. Tomorrow, when we open the stones, we will see them as I left them after my last game and has players have left them for thousands of year — as a reminder of this sacred principal known both to the Taoists and to the Desert Fathers.
- Wow, I just remembered that I have already posted here on this principle using exercise as a parallel.
- Question for Readers: How do you break up your intensity to stay sane?