How shall we live a life of peace? This is not easy, but it’s very meaningful. When I want to talk about this topic, the word “respect” first came to my mind.
The character of respect has two sides, in and out. Inside, to build our own dignity and good quality so that other would respect us, we have a lot to do. Outside, we need to respect others, regardless of their qualities. A life of peace comes from a mind of respect; it is without pride, or greed, or going into extremity in any aspect. It’s in a middle way.
When I see an elder, I show my respect, because he has come a long way to grow this old age and he must have experience that I can learn from.
When I see a younger, I show my respect, because his youth means strength and opportunities that I shall not look down upon.
When I see a rich person, I show my respect, because he might be the person who gives me support when I need it.
When I see a poor person, I show my respect when I give my donation, because he might be the force of peace in an environment where I live.
As a son, I shall tell my parents where about I am going when I leave home and inform them when I am back. I shall not sit in the middle place when we have dinner together. I shall not make any decision without consulting my parents when friends and relatives have come for a visit. I shall not climb high or stand in front of the water so that my parent would worry about my falling.
Respect is mutual. Respect means balance. When you give another person a knife, let him take the handle, not the sharp edge. When you are holding something of honor, take your steps carefully, behave cautiously as you are holding something quite heavy.
Our speech is very important. So take your words seriously. When at a funeral ceremony, do not say any word of joy. In your working place, you shall avoid talking about stuff about women. A man of honor looks solemn; too much speech lets him down.
Human is born between heavens and earth, into males and females, dependent on each other. The sun gives us the day and the moon gives us the night. Thus we have these feelings as happiness, anger, worry, fear, love, hatred and desires. A kind father, friendly brothers and sisters, a laborious wife, a family of prosperity. Desires for food and sex need to be satisfied; nobody wants to have a poor life. Everyone has his own thoughts and ideas in his mind, good and bad. The idea of respect brings us in harmony under one roof.
People born in different domains have different life habits, different styles in the way they eat and wear. People in the east might like to keep their hairs long; people in the west might enjoy tattoos in their body. Some people do not eat meat, some people do not cook their food. There are cave barbarians, they wear animal feathers and skins. Some people like spicy food. Some people never have an education. They may not get along with one another. Only respect can bring peace among them.
When a criminal case is brought about, consultation is necessary to listen to ideas from different parties so that the case can be settled with justice. The purpose of law is not to punish but to save people from punishment.
A person at the age of fifty is getting old, he shall be offered foods well-cooked for easier digestion. A person of sixty shall be offered meat because, without enough energy, he is easy to feel cold. A person of seventy shall eat less each meal, and snacks should be prepared for him because he is easy to become hungry. A person of eighty shall have a relative helping with his daily life besides the preparation of food; he needs someone to warm his bed. A person of ninety needs daily care and support while medical assistance is always at hand.
In spring the weather is still cold and everything shows the signs of growing. This is a time for praying for good. We shall not cut down trees and boys shall not climb up trees for birds’ eggs. We shall not kill small animals. For a state, it shall not start a war or take any military action against the human. Protect the young plants and have mercy on prisoners. Flowers start to bloom this season.
When summer comes, farmers have started working in their fields and people go into mountains to collect herbal medicines. To prepare for storms and floods, people work to strengthen river banks and build reservoirs. Days are getting longer, grass has grown and horses are eating a lot to build up muscles. This is a time for competitions and struggles. Man and women shall be restrained from too much drinking and sex.
At the time of harvest in autumn, precautions shall be taken against fires and thief. This is the time to furnish your house, build new homes, and reward those who has worked hard. This is the time to care for the elder and pay respect of ancestor. Young people can take some time out for pleasure. Markets shall be open for guests from four directions.
When winter has arrived, workers continue their work indoors, while hunting and other sports are popular for those who do not have to work. Grass in the wild turn yellow and tree leaves fall. The day is short, and people are warned of keeping their doors closed. Women are told not to do too heavy work. Relief is delivered to the poor and less fortunate. People behave more cautiously and wait for the outcome of their efforts.
Girls at the age of six should learn how to count numbers and the four directions of east, south, west and north. At seven, they shall be told the difference between boys and girls. At eight, they should know how to respect their elders. At nine, they should study literature and write to record special days and events. At the age of ten shall start to spend less time playing outside; they shall start to do more household chore and learn to behave like ladies. At the age of fifteen, they should behave like an adult. At the age of twenty, they can get married and start to have children. Their marriage age can be as late as thirty under special circumstances. Late marriage is not good for female and weddings according to rites and customs are good for their future happiness.
When a person has learned to respect his parents and grandparents, he has already learned to respect his teachers and country people. When he has learned how to respect his teachers and countrymen, he has learned to respect his country and his nation. With this respect, he has learned how to treat his fellow colleagues at work and how to respect the justice of the law. With this respect, he wins his honor. And wealth and titles and other good shall be abundant around him, as more people will remember him and miss him.
When an elder of sixty is seated and eat, a younger of fifty shall stand and serve; when an elder of seventy is seated and eat, a younger of sixty shall stand and serve. A person of respect will not lose his faith when he is poor and humiliated. He will not be proud and arrogant when he becomes rich and honorable. He will not bow to the pressure of power from above. He lives with dignity and noble character.
Human is born with dignity. When we respect a person, we respect the law of heavens and the rules of nature. Even without other people watching, we shall behave as the sky is watching. When we shoot an arrow but fail to hit the target, we shall not blame the arrow or the target. We look into our own techniques. If you have enough practice, the target is always closer to you.
When you love to learn, you are close to wisdom. When you have done your best, you have built up a virtue that never fails. When other people do their job in ten days, you try to put into efforts of twenty days. When other succeed after ten failures, you succeed after twenty failures. Perseverance brings about results. With more efforts, your words will be more convincing and result more valuable.
Start with small and show sincerity. When sincerity is shown, it illuminates. When it’s illuminated, it shines. With deep sincerity and respect, you influence people by touching their heart. With sincerity, you can predict future. Your mind has supernatural powers. The heavens and earth have no heart, but they encourage the good.
A mountain on a plain is normally low. When a mountain is tall enough, people would arrange sacrifices there and pay their respect. Supported by high mountains and deep forests, tigers and lions maintain their authority. Winds and rains are hard to follow because they have no definite directions. Monkeys can jump in the forests, but human cannot. When a wooden house built with new timber collapses, people won’t blame the timber. When a father does not behave like a father, his son will not behave like a son.
This is the power of respect.