Born in 1953, Lin Qingxuan was a famous writer, essayist, poet and scholar who was honored with numerous prizes.
Lin Qingxuan, a Taiwan-born writer gaining popularity across the Straits, died at the age of 65, according to Taiwan media.
On Jan 22, Lin made a final post on Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter. "I think the death of the sparrow gives me some inspiration," he said. "Although we live in a world with dust and restrictions, we should never loses the interntion and ability to fly."
Dwell on One or Two
作者：林清玄 | 译者：潘绍中（外交学院教授）
A friend of mine brought over a newly purchased set of paper, brush, ink-stick and ink-slab, and asked me to write something for the wall in the sitting room of this new house. I unfolded the paper, ground the ink-stick on the slab, and wrote out the words: “Dwell on one or two.”
“What does this mean?” asked my friend. “You know the popular saying,” I replied, “ ‘Life means frustrationeight or nine times out of ten’. Deducting the eighty or ninety per cent of frustration, you still have ten or twenty percent of success, happiness or gratification. If you want to enjoy life, you should focus on the one or two times you are happy, be thankful and cherish them. Then you’ll never be overwhelmed by the eight or nine times when you are unhappy. ” Happily my friend left, carrying the scroll in his arm.
A few months later, he called on me again and asked for more calligraphy, “Every day I have to slave and suffer in the office. But as soon as I get home and see the words ‘Dwell on one or two’, I brighten up and feel happy. But they do look so small on that big wall, can you write a few more words for me?” As I am always ready to oblige my good friends, I wrote an antithetical couplet for him, adding the second part, “Forget about eight or nine” and the horizontal inscription, “As you wish”. To fill up the space in between, I did a free-hand drawing of a vase full of flowers. Then, a few months later, something quite unexpected happened when my remarriage was reported in the newspapers, giving rise to numerous strange tales and annoying rumors. My friend called me, saying that he was sitting in front of my inscription. “As I can’t think of better words to comfort you, let me read what you wrote: Dwell on one or two; Forget about eight or nine—Everything as you wish.” I was very moved by this. How easy it is to add to somebody’s joy, I often think, and how hard to lend a helping hand in times of distress, —the ratio would probably come to nine to one, too. But those who do not help you when you need it most are not true friends, much less those who hit you when you’re down.
Come to think of it, people over forty are mostly inured to the vicissitudes of life, caring little about receiving congratulations for success, getting help when in need, or being hit when down. For after experiencing so much anguish and frustration in life and going through so many sentimental meetings and partings, we have gradually found certain dynamic, happy, positive precepts in life, which may be summed up as “Dwell on one or two.” This means focusing on specks of light in the murky dark, gleaning bits of peace and quiet from the raucous, mundane world, or striving for refreshing breath on the verge of suffocation. Life is hard enough as it is; if we burden ourselves with all the frustrations built up over dozens of years, how can we go even one step further? At times, we can’t help it when we find ourselves in dire straits, materially or emotionally; but if we let that make us miserable in mind or mood, we would only be piling more hardship on ourselves and suffer twice as much through our own fault.
I have been keen on reading biographies or memoirs of the great since childhood and found a kind of rule about their lives: all great people suffer. They mostly testify to the saying that life means frustration eight or nine times out of ten. Despite their sufferings, however, they can always maintain a positive way of thinking, or in other words, they can “dwell on one or two”, until they finally transcend their sufferings and turn them into great inspiration for life. What deeply moves me about great people is not their suffering, for sufferings are common and omnipresent; it is their perseverance, optimism and courage in the face of suffering that move me most.
So success or failure in life does not hinge on mere opportunities, but upon one’s frame of mind.