One: The River of Nothingness
When night finds you in the bush,
You lose your torch.
When adversity strikes,
Even honey itself becomes bitter.
When troubles come to a man,
Even his mule refuses to carry him.
When misfortune persists,
Even your dog bites you.
When your luck is in decline, devils come to bully you.
When bad luck hates you, the tortoise looks like a stone.
When back luck persists, a woman, even though already undressed,
Will refuse to sleep with you.
Just as extreme warmth brings about winds,
So extreme pleasure brings sorrow.
If you know plain food (without oil),
If you know frugality (in using delicacy),
You really know the misfortunes that destroy human beings.
Rather than eat that which is sweet and have trouble,
Eat that which lacks sweetness in peace.
On the day that you will go astray,
You need not travel far.
When the illness that will kill you comes,
You forget the doctor who could have cured you.
Misfortune does its work skillfully.
A Thousand and One Problems
The world is like a fishnet,
The more you stir in it,
The more it entangles you.
So long as you live, you cannot run away from challenges.
The settled person is the one who is dead;
As for the living, troubles still lie ahead.
Who has no problems in this world?
You who do not encounter the ups and downs of life,
Don’t laugh at the person who does,
It is a smoke that moves round.
Grow and you will see,
Mature and you will meet hardship.
A human being always catches hell.
If no flatterer greets you,
Tell yourself: “I have peace today!”
Life is like pepper.
If tears were a well, then no one would buy water.
Even the fish cries, but because it lives in water,
You do not see its tears.
No one has the power to wipe out all tears.
Suffering is man’s share.
Take it easy.
Life’s like that.
Tears do not cure sufferings,
Pains heal themselves.
Your crying and laughing are not far removed.
However long the night, dawn will break.
Whatever the trouble, it always has an end.
Challenges will pass, as said the wildcat in the thorns.
Crying Hot Tears
The hen of a lazy bum does not lay eggs;
Even if she lays eggs,
She never hatches;
And if she hatches,
She never rears the chicks;
And if she rears them,
The hawk takes the chicks.
Crying hot tears is the burden of a lazy bum.
Watching the antics of a fool is amusing,
But no one wants to bear a fool.
The woman who gives birth to a fool
Goes into labor every day.
Rather than bearing a fool,
It is better to bear a thief;
A thief is bad, a fool is not good.
Crying hot tears is the burden of a fool’s parents.
Work of Misfortune
One moment of mourning wipes out
Many days of laughter.
If you lose your father, you go crazy
Even if you are in good health;
If you lose your mother,
You lost what is the most important;
If you lose your older sibling,
You become old even though
You have no gray hair;
If you lose your younger sibling,
You feel uncomfortable;
If you lose your child,
You are always in need of help.
A dear friend who betrays his pledge;
A spouse who gives up on marriage
Only to become someone else’s wife;
A holy cow which lashes out at you;
An unsuccessful project for an aqueduct
To carry water to a village;
A beloved son who refuses
To help his elderly parents;
Those are the darkest of misfortunes.
The tongue always wants to place itself
Where a tooth is missing.
To lose one’s father in youth,
To lose one’s wife in middle age,
And to die without an heir;
These are the greatest misfortunes.
The Best Timing
Heaven reveals to no one what it will do.
You cannot rush the voice of Heaven.
Heaven does not hurry,
What it sends to Earth does not fail to arrive.
Gifts come from above;
Without such a blessing,
Man toils in vain.
Nobody is to blame for poor yields
When the sky has given no rain.
Life can only be controlled in Heaven.
Others cannot clear a grove in one’s heart.
The burden Heaven has placed on a man,
Another man will not take away.
If Heaven beats you up,
Heaven itself will console you.
You don’t yet have a sister
And you already want a nephew.
You are not yet a builder
And you are already erecting pillars.
Tempting Heaven is worse
Than casting a spell.
Do not act with the stupidity of rats:
In the night that is for sleep
They make a tumult.
You cannot enjoy two pleasures at once.
Between two stools you fall to the ground.
If you straddle two boats,
You are bound to fall into the water.
If you ride two horses, you’ll split asunder.
If you pursue two,
Even one you will not grasp.
No matter how fierce it is,
A dog cannot guard two houses at the same time.
If you trap two at the same time,
You’ll find that one has gotten away.
If you try two enterprises,
You lose your wits.
If you are looking for your camel,
Do not look at a goat.
If you see many things, you distract your mind.
Better to follow one thing and to master it deeply
Than to be lightly involved in two things and master neither.
Do not worry about mastering a thousand skills;
You need only one perfected skill.
Don’t Brag about Heaven
You never forget the rain that drenched you,
And you never know when Heaven will send another rain.
So do not waste your time bragging that
Heaven is on your side.
If Heaven ever got on your side,
Your thinking would cease.
If Heaven gave you divine knowledge,
For sure, it would send you to an early grave,
For Heaven refuses to disclose all its secret powers.
Should someone discover you possess divine knowledge,
Then they themselves would stop creating and thinking.
Whoever finds ready-made solutions sets himself up for failure.
Just like when the hen raises its head to swallow water,
Say, “To the Heaven reverence!”
Heaven is like skins,
Everyone will adopt their own.
Knowing that everyone has Heaven in their heart,
Please, do not brag about Heaven.