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L,.G

读书|新知|生活禅

Goodbye 2023

Since 2006, I have written a farewell post at the end of each year, and this year is no exception. The difference is that I want to publish this farewell post on my blog, just for the occasion.

The Age of Thirty#

This year is different from previous years, as turning thirty means entering the fourth decade of life. Before my thirtieth birthday, I wrote a post titled "Writing on the Edge of Thirty". In it, I mentioned that I hope to be someone who applauds and offers flowers to heroes, rather than being in the spotlight as a "hero" myself. It may seem somewhat passive, but it also aligns with my identity as a Buddhist.

Since my youth, I have heard this saying:

A person experiences three stages of growth: the first is when they realize they are no longer the center of the world, the second is when they realize that no matter how hard they try, they are powerless, and the third is when they accept their ordinariness and learn to enjoy it.

I have accepted my ordinariness and learned to enjoy it. As an ordinary person, I have been fortunate enough to benefit from the rapid development of our country during my childhood. I have studied abroad during my youth, experiencing the customs and cultures of various countries. In my young adulthood, I have worked with top talents in my industry. What more could I ask for?

Being able to do something within my own sphere of influence, being able to support myself, being able to take care of my parents, being able to contribute to the country through paying taxes. In my opinion, that is enough.

"Be content with the ordinary, never give up on achievements." This is my expectation for myself in 2023 and my understanding of life as I enter my thirties.

Generosity#

Buddhism teaches the "Six Perfections" and "Generosity" is the first of the six. The most common meaning of "Generosity" is benefiting oneself and others.

In 2022, the student I sponsored successfully entered university, and I fulfilled my promise. This year, instead of continuing to sponsor underprivileged students, I joined Han Hong Charity Foundation's monthly donation program, contributing 99 yuan each month.

As a Buddhist, I understand that even if I recite sutras, chant mantras, and observe precepts on a daily basis, the accumulation of merit is not as great as the merits gained through acts of kindness. Therefore, by donating money to a reputable charity organization every month, I am practicing generosity and also accumulating merit for myself. This idea may be somewhat sinful, as it shows a strong desire for personal gain when making transactions with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

This year, the former leader wanted to create a documentary for the tenth anniversary of the Sun Charity Education Foundation and asked me to film some footage. I volunteered to participate in the filming in Changdu, Tibet in September, and visited a primary school in Seda County to review the progress of their reading classes.

I have always had a wish that when I have the financial ability, I must establish libraries in schools in mountainous areas. I hope that children in these areas can gain more knowledge and understand the outside world through books. Since I currently don't have the means to do so, I participate in such activities to the best of my ability, which can be considered as fulfilling my wish.

This year, in addition to "material generosity," I also practiced "Dharma generosity." I wrote 66 blog posts, published 36 issues of an electronic newsletter, and wrote over 90 articles for a paid column on a news platform. Additionally, I created a perpetual notebook using TiddlyWiki and a knowledge base for the paid column using Obsidian.

Stay True and Steadfast, Persistently Work Hard#

In June, I wrote an article titled "Conducting an Experiment on Myself: Recording Stream of Consciousness". I initially thought it would result in a comprehensive report, but during the actual process, I realized that there were many aspects of the stream of consciousness that only I could understand. As I wrote to myself:

With a single thought, countless lives are affected, with no escape. Therefore, the mind should not be allowed to wander, and one should not lose sight of doing good.

Through recording the stream of consciousness, I have come to understand that the greatest achievement of 2023 can be summarized in eight words, "Stay true and steadfast, persistently work hard."

"Stay true" means adhering to principles and the right path, while "steadfast" means being down-to-earth and seeking truth from facts. I am grateful that I have achieved these four words. "Persistently work hard" is both a requirement based on the previous four words and a reminder to myself to persevere and be unwavering in whatever I do. I can only say that I have passed in these four words.

I hope to continue focusing on these eight words in 2024.

Places Visited#

According to my travel records, in 2023, I took a total of 17 flights, with a total flight time of 32 hours and 16 minutes, covering a distance of 22,828 kilometers. I couldn't find the data from 12306.

In addition to Guangzhou and Beijing, I visited 18 cities and 6 counties, including Changsha, Changde, Wuhan, Huangshi, Huanggang, Daye, Jingzhou, Huangmei County, Jiujiang, Lushan, Baofeng County, Nanchang, Hefei, Fuyang, Shijiazhuang, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Shiyan, Chengdu, Changdu, Jiangda County, Dujiangyan, Zhuhai, and Foshan.

Reading#

In 2023, I didn't finish reading many new books. In non-fiction, I completed "Lectures on Pre-Qin Confucianism," "The Four Thousand Weeks," "The Art of Possibility: 30 Lectures on Comparative Politics," "Literary Memoirs," "The Highest Law of Applied Learning," and "On Writing." In fiction, I finished reading "Forensic Doctor Qin Ming: White Paper."

I reread a significant portion of books, selecting certain parts to read instead of reading them cover to cover. These include "Selected Works of Ah Cheng," "Principles of Aesthetics," "Ontology of Anthropological History," and others.

It has been a long time since I read books in their original language. Reading "The Four Thousand Weeks" was quite frustrating for me. After all, I used to score four sevens in IELTS, but my English has regressed significantly. However, I have discovered the benefits of reading books in their original English version, and it's no wonder many friends around me have persisted in doing so for many years. I hope I can develop this habit sooner.

Learning to Keep Quiet#

In 2023, I canceled my Weibo and Zhihu accounts, as well as my WeChat public account and video account. I also completely closed my WeChat Moments and only kept the Jike app. It was a complete detachment from domestic social media.

Next year, I will continue to learn to keep quiet and bury my head like an ostrich. If I know something and can't control my mouth, it's not a good thing, especially in the current times when saying too much can lead to mistakes. I need to focus on my own affairs and only concern myself with immediate matters.

Final Words#

2023 is coming to an end, and it has been a year without sorrow or joy. I thought that after loosening the control over the pandemic, everything would improve, but looking back now, it hasn't turned out as expected.

A few days ago, while in Zhuhai with my parents, my father looked at the night view of Macau and asked me if I had figured out what to do next. I shared some thoughts, and he urged me to act on them once I have made up my mind.

There are many things to do next year, but ultimately, it all comes down to sixteen words: "Be content with the ordinary, never give up on achievements, stay true and steadfast, and persistently work hard."

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