Words of Wisdom


12/05/2024 | Words of Wisdom    
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Master Jun Hong Lu: Anish Kapoor, a contemporary British sculptor, became famous overnight with his sculpture “Descent into Limbo”.

One day, a reporter from the famous British newspaper The Sunday Times interviewed him. The reporter, who was a sculpture amateur, was eager to find out from Kapoor the secret of a good sculptor, and probed, “Dear Mr. Kapoor, can you tell us the secret of your success?”

All that Kapoor said was, “Actually, there is no secret at all. My personal experience is to be a good sculptor, you only need to do two things. First, when sculpting, you have to carve the figure’s nose a bit bigger and second, sculpt the eyes smaller”.

Puzzled, the reporter asked again, “Why do you want to do this? If the nose is big and the eyes are small, wouldn’t the sculpture look ugly?”

Kapoor explained, “Carving the nose big and the eyes small leaves room for modification. Think about it, if you start with a large nose, you can always reduce its size, and with small eyes, you can enlarge them if necessary. On the contrary, if you carve a small nose at the outset, it will look unappealing no matter how you modify it. Similarly, if you begin with overly large eyes, there is no way to effectively reduce them”.

In this story, Kapoor enlightens us with the wisdom of leaving room for manoeuvre.

In our interaction with people and dealing with matters, we should leave some leeway for ourselves and others.

For example, we should be considerate in our speech and not go overboard when addressing issues. Only then can we enjoy the freedom of movement, while putting others at ease.

In Buddhism, this is known as “Tolerance can bring about acceptance from others, and compassion can resolve grievances”. These are the qualities that will put us in an impregnable position.

In life, we know that compromise makes conflicts easier to resolve. But why are there still people who remain obstinate and choose not to budge even over the most insignificant matters? Why are they so pushy and aggressive all their life? Don’t they know that everyone deserves some wiggle room?

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Public Talk, Auckland, New Zealand, 10 November 2019

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