Tuesday, December 19, 2006

To Endure/Tolerate is to Win & Win

Our primary sources of news in Chinese, be it about Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, or US, are online e-newspapers or e-journals. However, whenever we do grocery shopping at local Chinese stores, we always make it a point to take the free Chinese newspapers or buy printed copies of the same, one of which is the World Journal.

On the December 16, 2006 issue, I was pleasantly surprised to read s brief news coverage on the proceeding of the 2006 Venerable Master Hsing Yun Dharma Lecture held at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall that stretched over the period Dec 15-17, 2006 (p. A10). Subsequently, I searched the website of Fu Guang Shan Monastery and note that the event had been reported there as well. The Venerable Master Hsing Yun Dharma Lecture series started in 1975, and this year’s event marks his last public appearance at spreading the Buddha teaching, after which he will enter into a period of self-imposed solitude.

According to the web news from which the image is taken, the event was in the form of “a talk [dialog] between Venerable Master Hsing Yun and Chief Executive Officer of The Landis Taipei, Stanley Yen, about [entitled] Sea of Wisdom – [on] Business Management and Personnel Management [the insertions in square parentheses are mine as replacements so as to better describe the event]. The sage words of Master Tsing Yun, juxtaposing the application of the Buddha teaching in everyday management are legendary to me as I’ve blogged here.

Therefore, I was eager to find out how the Buddhist and corporate perspectives on management could be blended, mutually reinforced, and marshaled for the benefit of humanity. However, the web news went on to describe briefly what both personalities did, but nothing on what actually transpired, or at least a gist/summary so that people like me can take home some message as well.

Fortunately, the coverage by the World Journal did a better job in that respect, even though the headline used is a critique of the present political leadership of Taiwan: The leader vehemently denies any wrong-doing. In his words, integrity is paramount among the many qualities required of a leader, which the present leadership lacks. Honestly, I’ve to admire his candor in rebuking the political leadership of the day as most religious figures would deem such outbursts as beneath their stature. The image scanned from the World Journal news shows an animated Venerable Master Tsing Yun gesticulating to make a point about having a forgiving heart.

The news report highlighted an exchange during the Q&A session in which a participant inquired as to the how of self-management, noting that managing people is inherently more complicated than managing matters despite the emphasis on communication.

While nobody wants to be labeled as a loser, Venerable Master Tsing Yun reminded us that there is always a best even among the best. Therefore the best approach to endure/tolerate such proclivity among us is to be flexible in our dealings while leaving all options open, including acceding when mutually beneficial. But how to put it into action? Venerable Master Tsing Yun offered three steps:

1) Firstly, endure through the countenance by spotting a smiling face (note that countenance has another positive spin meaning consent); failing which
2) endure through the mouth by refraining from speaking ills of others, and if there is also not attainable;
3) then endure through the heart as in being big-hearted and forgiving.

At the end of it all, the very matter that has precipitated the "contest" ceases to be of concern anymore.

Here I would like to close with a brief discussion on the Chinese character that means to endure/tolerate (note that there really isn’t an equivalent word in the English lexicon that encompasses the full extent of the Chinese character, and the best I can come up with is a combination of to endure and to tolerate as used above). The image to the left is from here.

For one, it can be considered as a combination of another two Chinese characters: the dagger over the heart. It’s also the same word used to denote a ninja (nin, ja meaning person/practitioner), a highly skilled warrior who is able to endure the severest test/punishment. Some common Chinese proverbs associated with the character are, literally translated, "on top of endurance hangs a sword", which implies that a moment of inability to endure can bring about dire consequences, and "a hundred times of endurance turns one into gold", which means endurance makes us a better person.

So contrary to western thinking, to endure/tolerate in the psyche of the Chinese and the ethos of Buddhism is not an admission of defeat and thus to be shunned, but rather a virtuous display of one’s magnanimity that truly results in a win-win situation.

No comments: