Only through enduring what other people are unable to endure is one then able to obtain what other people are unable to obtain. Only through suffering hardships which other people are unable to suffer through is one then able to know what other people are incapable of knowing.

The 49 Barriers of Cultivating the Dao ; Xing, De (pg 67)

The quote above relates to knowledge through hardship, which further reaches into the depth of this massive work, to page 352, which deals with the topic of “Bitterness.” The Dao of Bitterness is this very topic. The author speaks to how they found a teacher… traveling to China, roughing it in the jungles and so on. This, they refer to, as the practice of asceticism.

Regarding this, Buddha taught that there must be balance, if one pulls a string too taught it will break, but too lose it won’t generate a note. Only an individual can truly note how far to push themselves. Most of us will error on the side of weakness, which is why some find a strict master. This is respectable.

Without passing through hardships to test and challenge your thoughts and responses, the path of cultivation will be very long in duration.

The 49 Barriers of Cultivating the Dao; Xing, De (pg 352)

The author continues that through suffering, one appreciates life even more. As one in an extreme cold environment only then learns to appreciate fire.

The Path to Motivation

In an analogy of a boat on the water, the writer discusses the dangers of wealth and power. These are like hidden reefs that can dislodge a boat. However it is through helping others that we raise this proverbial water level. When we help others, we take our mind off ourselves and this humility raises the waters of our lives to better avoid the hidden reefs.

However, to help others we need know how to help them. One can’t save people from drowning, unless they first know how to swim.

The path is then to follow the list in order:

  1. Sublimate the mind through the asceticism of the flesh
  2. Study and learn the path of suffering
  3. Knowing the hidden lessons within suffering are we then able to help others in their suffering
  4. Helping others raises the water level of our analogous boat


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