dao smallness (thank you to gabi greve)


Buddha statue in stone garden

You may be capable of great things,
But life consists of small things.

Big things seldom come along. One should know the small as well as the big. We may all yearn to make lasting achievements and to be heroes, but life seldom affords us the opportunities to do so. Most of our days consist of small things—the uneventful meditations, the ordinary cooking of meals, the banal trips to work, the quiet scratching in the garden—and it is from these small things that the larger events of life are composed.

We rarely have the occasion to make grand gestures. The champion gymnast’s greatest moment is but an hour out of an entire lifetime. The works of great artists are viewed for very short times. The master musician’s best composition is but one work in a sea of musical tones. If we want to be successful, it is the small things that we should pay attention to.

We must not fall into the trap of waiting so long for the big things that we let numerous small chances slip right by us. People who do this are always waiting for life to be perfect. They complain that fate is against them, that the world does not recognize their greatness,. If they would lower their sights, they would see all the beautiful opportunities swirling at their feet. if they would humble themselves enough to bend down, they could scoop untold treasures up into their hands.

365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

Amida Buddha
Amida Buddha

original photograph ©2005 gabi greve, from japan

The above statue is from the Stone Gallery, Sekiraku.

The above statue is from the Stone Gallery, Sekiraku.

Ms. Greve is not only a very talented artist, she is also an amazing woman whose talents reach into the world of Haiku. The link to her page on this subject is http://happyhaiku.blogspot.com/2005/06/amida-buddha.html

“Here is my Stone Jizo haiku from the same Gallery.

Amida Buddha comes down from the Paradise in the Westto welcome the souls of the dead and take them back his heaven.
Amida Buddha -
you smile at life
you smile at death
Amida Buddha -
you smile at a friend
who took her own life
(at age 20)

Amida Buddha -
you smile at a mother
who left too early
(at age 53, cancer)
Amida Buddha -
you smile at me
I smile at you

©2005 gabi greve

archived at http://www.duckdaotsu.org/115/smallness.html
(better quality photograph—larger byte size — is located at the archived site)

a reading list of books and interpretations of the Daodejing is available at


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