Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Tree Was Called Useless

Once upon a time in China, there was a huge tree in a rich family's back yard. In spring and summer, the tree opens branches with full green leaves. The trunk was like dragon body, thick and strong. The people in nearby village were wondering how many houses could be built with the tree. Furniture people hoped to use the tree to build furniture. They helped each other to somehow cut down the tree to get wooden materials from the tree to be used for building houses and furniture.

No matter what kind of axes or saws they use, no matter how many powerful people try to cut it, all of their effort ended in vain. The tree was too hard to cut. They gave up to cut it down. They said the tree is huge, but not be used for anything. They called it useless.

One hot summer day, an ancient philosopher, called Zhuang Zhou found the tree. It was hot and Zhuang Zhou was tired from long walking. He lied down on the foot of the tree and took a nap. The shade of the tree was perfect to protect him from strong sun light in summer. In the shade, a gentle breeze was very comfortable. He slept for a couple of hours and felt refreshed. After he left, the villagers realized the real use of the tree. Nobody call it "useless" any more.

This story tells us the value of things can be changed depending on how you view it, how you use it. Huge useless tree to build a house was perfect for providing shade to take a nap

This story is originally from Zhuang Zi, who is regarded to be one of founders of Taoism. Usually Taoism is regarded as Anarchism or the principle of living only for the pleasure of the moment. Later Taoism's mysterious stories gave a birth to Shen Xian, who eat and drink just mist, travel on clouds, knows everything in the world including future, and lives forever. Even today Taoism is known as mysticism with the above mentioned Shen Xian who conduct mysterious magic such as talking with dead people or cure seriously sick people.

It reminds us Western Witchcraft, since they use supernatural power like witches or wizards. But taking another look at the philosophy like the above story of big tree, the basic principle of Taoism teaches people to take a different view in lives occurrences. As big tree, which could not be used for building a house or furniture, was perfect shade for taking a nap. In this way, saddest or most painful incidence may be great step for future.

Actually, it includes the story of a villager, who broke his leg in riding his own horse, survived next war, because he could not fight with his leg broken.

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