Essay: 《感谢困难》Thanking Life’s Challenges by Lin Qingxuan

You can skip your Instagram yoga gratitude break today, here’s another one from Taiwanese Buddhist essayist Lin Qingxuan (林清玄). HSK 4-5.I threw up another essay of his about butterflies a couple weeks ago, and if you read both of them, you’ll start to get a sense of Lin’s style, his wide-eyed marveling, how he rejoices at every little thing.

Some language stuff

因… 而… yīn … ér … – You’ve probably already come across this sentence construction, but it bears pointing out: 因 in this case is 因为, “because of ______”, and 而 is “as a result ______”.

生起 shēng qǐ – You won’t find this in the dictionary, and it’s a little difficult because 生 has so many meanings. Depending on context, it can mean “to give birth to” as in (生孩子), or “to grow” (as in 生长), or “be afflicted with” a sickness (as in 生病), or it can just mean “life” (as in 生活). But in all of these definitions, there’s a general sense of nothing expanding into something. So, if you understand 生起 that way, as an expansion or growth, the sentence will make sense.

寄情 jì qíng – This isn’t in the pop-up dictionary, but this means “to express one’s feelings” about something, usually in writing.

Source here










Show English translation »
I had a dream.

I dreamed that I asked someone on the street: “Excuse, me, can you give me some challenge, some setback, some pain?”

Everyone refused me, and anxiously I begged someone else: “Then, I’ll hire you, 500 RMB per hour, please torment me!”

Those strangers shook their heads, silently leaving, and as I was unable to find anyone to torment me, I woke with a start.

I sat on the edge of my bed staring into space, yes! Challenges, torment, pain, how precious they are! If everything is going smoothly, who would settle down to ponder deeply, who would become wise, and who in their common and comfortable days would surpass selfishness, rise to higher heights?

Without difficulty, who would humbly kneel down and pray? Who could believe in the boundlessness of the universe? Who could express their feelings about the next life?

I deeply thank difficulty, setbacks and pain.

And I feel deep gratitude for those people who once tormented me, how merciful they are! I didn’t even spend money to hire them, but they still used their precious time to come test me, elevate me, to grow my wisdom.

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