This mini-book contains 108 inspirational verses that use an economy of plain language to express the profound wisdom of the Dharma. Culled from the perennially popular Humble Table, Wise Fare series and arranged by topic for speedy access, the sayings are pragmatic, universal and timeless. They are truly wise fare for those either supping solo for sharing a simple repast with family and friends.
Hong’s Vegetable Root Sayings, an inspirational book for Venerable Master Hsing Yun, has been compared to such classics of Western literature as Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and La Rouchefoucauld’s Maxims. The title is from a proverb by Zhu Xi (朱熹), a well-known Song dynasty Confucian scholar: Jiaode caigen, baishi kezuo(嚼得菜根, 百事可做). The proverb literally means “chewed vegetable roots, one hundred matters accomplished,” or figuratively “experiencing hardship prepares one for anything.” The compound caigen refers to the inedible root of a vegetable, especially a cabbage stalk, and it is a metaphor for “bare subsistence.”
While Shakespeare was busy penning his first drama, Hong, on the opposite side the globe, was brushing down his 360 adages of wisdom. Hong’s caigentan was a watershed work for its time, because it synthesized longstanding competitive aspects of Chinese society: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Both writers left for future generations invaluable insights into the nature of the human condition.
This mini-book can be conveniently taken along in your backpack, purse or pocket while on the go and opened in those fleeting, yet precious, spare-time moments throughout the day. The verses can bring you serenity when things are hectic, as well as provide you with inspiration when meeting the tough challenges of life. They are at times quite brusque, which can be a bit of a “wake up call” when you get “stuck” and are in need of motivation to get back on right path. Whether subtle or direct, they are always satisfying.