“An old man lived near the border of China. One day, a horse the man was breeding went over the border and escaped to the land of barbarians. His neighbors offered words of comfort to him and he said imperturbably, “who knows this might become a blessing?” A few months later, his horse came back with a female horse. His neighbors celebrated, “this is exactly what you said!” However, the old man suppressed his happiness and said, “Who knows this might become misfortune?” A few days later, his son fell off from the horse and broke his leg. His neighbors offered him words of comfort again. The old man did not express his feelings and said, “This might become a blessing to me. No one knows.” Not long after this, barbarians invaded from the north. The country had orders for calling up soldiers and young people had to go to the battlefield. However, his son did not have to go out for battle because of his broken leg.”
This idiom ‘sae ong ji ma‘ was created since then. ‘Sae ong ji ma‘ is often used to mean that you do not need to cling to what has just happened as there are ups and downs in a human life. At that moment, it might be seen as misfortune but it could be a seed of happiness that will come along after that misfortune. At another moment, it could be believed to be happiness but it is actually a seed of misfortune that will come along later. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that a human life is an endless repetition of ups and downs. But no one wants to experience the downsides of life, only the endless upsides.
However, human mind actually judges what’s up and down in life solely based on his self-centered pictures taken with his five senses. Although we know the fact that ‘both happiness and misfortune are just momentary,’ we wasted our single, precious life by chasing such empty happiness or escaping to avoid misfortune that will instantly pass by. We actually live not knowing what will happen a second later. Because we do not know where we come from, where we go, and our true purpose and meaning of our birth in this world at all, we are busy chasing something momentarily in darkness or blindly run here and there to avoid something that is actually fleeting. After experiencing something unfortunate, we strive not to experience such a thing again. However, we never expect that momentary happiness that we are pursuing would become a seed of misfortune. Therefore, we surely feel anxious and empty in this state of mind.
The reason why human has no foresight is because human mind is of different material than the mind of the creator. Human mind is not the never-changing and eternally-living mind of the original existence that has created all things and beings. It is the false mind of pictures that have been taken through a person’s five senses and stored as that false mind. In the mind of humans, there is no true mind, mind of the creator. Therefore, humans do not know anything about his existence and the world. And that’s why humans feel anxious. Could humans ever escape from such a vicious cycle? Is it human’s fate to live with anxiety without foresight?
Yes, so far it has been our fate. There had been no way for human to escape from this vicious cycle by himself. However, the time has come now, and the method to take away the human mind that is full of falseness, has come out to the world. Once you take away the false mind completely, the true mind of the origin, which never disappears, remains. When your mind becomes the original mind – mind of the world, mind of the creator – that mind already knows all the principles of the world, and therefore, there is no room for anxiety in the mind. Moreover, you naturally know the reason and purpose of your birth into the world and thus, your life itself becomes ultimate happiness, bliss. It is the biggest happiness that one can enjoy as a human being to live as the existence of truth. What’s surprising is that the lifespan of the true self, and the happiness that the true self will enjoy, is as long as the age of the everlasting and never-changing origin; it is forever. A long-lasting wish of human beings, ‘everlasting happiness,’ has become the reality that you can actually grasp. Right at this moment, you just need to reach your hands toward the way to that everlasting happiness. It is simple.
Reference: [Naver Encyclopedia] Sae ong ji ma (새옹지마 [塞翁之馬])