Reflections of a Japanese Folk Story about a Tsunami

PureInsight | February 7, 2003

[] One day, I talked about Falun Gong with one of my friends from China. He said, "My opinion is that Falun Gong should not be persecuted, and I whole-heartedly sympathize with those practitioners. However, I don't understand some of your behavior, such as making telephone calls to strangers, posting banners in the streets, sitting in front of the Chinese embassy and general consulates overseas or practicing Falun Gong exercises in Tiananmen Square to protest the persecution."

My friend's remarks reminded me of an old Japanese folk story:

An old man and his grandson lived in a village near the ocean. The villagers called him Old Sir. His grandson was named Duo Tian.

One year, after the autumn harvest, villagers piled up all the harvested wheat on top of the mountain near their village. In the evening, all the villagers surrounded the pile and celebrated the harvest by singing and dancing till midnight. Then the villagers left the mountain and went home.

Old Sir and Duo Tian were going home. While they were walking down the path, they looked down on the land. They saw the beautiful scenery: the wheat fields, the village with its thatched cottages and sheds, the sandy beach and the sea.

At that moment, Old Sir noticed that the sea began to recede and the land started to shake. He immediately ran back to top of the mountain as fast as he could. He then burned some of the wheat. In a split second, flames leaped up to the sky. The burning wheat made a loud, cracking noise. Duo Tian was astonished by Old Sir's behavior.

Very soon, many young men from the village rushed to the mountain to fight the fire. When he saw that only young men had come, Old Sir burned more wheat. Soon, all of the villagers ran up to fight the fire. They were angry, and yelled at Old Sir. Duo Tian yelled at him, too.

Then, a huge wave, as high as a mountain, surged over the land, and instantly inundated all the wheat fields and the village. It was the dreaded tsunami.

Fortunately, all the villagers were saved. They understood that it was Old Sir, the man with wisdom, who did the only thing he could to get them out of the village below and up to the mountain for safety. After the tsunami, the villagers rebuilt their homes. Those who had yelled at Old Sir regretted their actions. In order to commemorate the event, they made a beautiful bell for Old Sir and Duo Tian.

We can see that when Old Sir foresaw the disaster, he did something that seemed incomprehensible at the time. But it turned out to have been the best action that could have been taken.

Perhaps, in order to speak the truth, Falun Gong practitioners have adopted some methods that do not match the views and principles of everyone. However, the Chinese have these sayings, "It is wise to listen to different opinions" and "The more one thinks, the more benefits he receives." Falun Gong is a major historical event. If we can listen, think profoundly and look at things from a long-term perspective, then we will obtain wisdom that will benefit us in the future.

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