• by vinux

My family lost a teapot, and my wife asked me why. I replied: “The one who stole it must have liked it. When what one likes is in the heart, then it is thought of; fearing that we will not give it to him, he steals it and thus gains what he likes. Having gotten what he likes, he treasures it, fearing its leakage and hiding it, fearing its breakage and storing it securely — this is a thing with a place to stay. A person getting what he likes and a thing having a place to stay — what more can be said?” My wife said: “Haha, that thief sure wasn’t poor!”

Song · Tang Geng’s “Lost Tea Set Story”

Once upon a time, there were two old friends. One day they went out for a walk and sat down by the river to rest. Suddenly, one of them saw a tea set floating in the river. Out of curiosity, he reached out to grab it and before long, the two of them were using it to make tea.

Soon after they finished drinking, one of them suddenly remembered something and said: “Oh no! I have forgotten to bring my teacup back home. How can we return this tea set now?”

The other friend replied calmly: “It doesn’t matter even if we don’t return it now. This tea set is already ours since we already used it once.”

Moral of the story: Things that you take possession of are yours forever, even if you forget about them or lose them later on.

Tang Geng, who wrote “Dou Cha Ji” in the Song Dynasty, lost one of his tea sets one day and asked his wife not to look for it anymore. His wife asked why, so Tang Geng explained to her: “The thief must also be someone who likes tea sets. He must have been thinking about it for a long time before making the move. Now that he has gotten the tea set, he will certainly take good care of it. In order to avoid being known, he would hide it well; and in order to prevent damage, he would find a good place to store it. This way, he gets what he wants and my pot also has a good destination. Isn’t this mutual benefit?” His wife sighed helplessly and said: “With you like this, how can our family not be poor?”

Zhou Hui of the Song dynasty often borrowed books from people, but often people borrowed books from him and did not return them, so he couldn’t help feeling concerned. Du Xian of the Tang Dynasty recorded in his book collection: “I bought books with my own money to review them myself. My descendants will read them and know the holy way. Selling or lending them out is unfilial.” Zhou Hui also had criticism about this; he said: “Books do not fall from the sky, they must be obtained by people. To keep it hidden and not share it widely is selfish; why would people accept it as if they have seen it?” Selling books indeed has suspicion of being unfilial, but lending books being unfilial may be too much. After reading Tang Gong’s “Lost Tea Set”, Zhou Hui felt it was very reasonable, so he recorded this article in his notes to comfort himself.