Vegetable Roots Discourse: wisdom from Ming China on life and living
Written 400 years ago, by a scholar in the Ming Dynasty, The Caigentan or Vegetable Roots has been a fundamental literary guide for hundreds of years, outlining Asian philosophy. This edition, translated by Robert Aitken and Daniel W.Y. Kwok, contains 360 observations of life: its exaggerations, absurdities, grotesqueries, and falsities. Terse, humorous, witty, and timely, these Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucianist epigrams provide fundamental principles of life. Though often strict, puritan, and tough to live by, they provide the foundation for the art of living. Pocket-sized and agreeing seamlessly with the impulses of all ages, this discourse is read as a set of philosophical notions on personal development for all types.
From the text:
"When you meet someone on a narrow path, stop and give way. Save three parts of a delicious dish and share them with others. This is the most felicitious way to pass through the world.
"Favor and patronage can lead to mischief. Thus in times of pleasant good will, it is important to be constantly on guard. The aftermath of failure can be the success. Thus, when things go contrary, don’t lose heart."