Gan Bei – 干杯

Posted: July 13, 2012 in IdeoKoan 圖像公案, Mindfulness
Tags: ,

[music: Who by Fire? – Leonard Cohen]

Last night, my friend Lingyun and I toasted ‘Gan Bei’!  In chinese Gan Bei means to to finish the cup (Gan = dry; Bei = cup), the end – and a new beginning. It was a celebration.

There are so many ends, some go by, almost imperceptibly, others are traumatic and we grieve. The toast made me think of a passage in the book Mindfulness in Plain English (see a short excerpt below). I thought to myself, we are the cup, experiences are what fill it. I chose the music specially for this post. How am I filling my cup?

How are you filling your cup? Something fresh, something stale, emptiness?


“And you suffer from the same malady that infects every human being. It is a monster in side all of us, and it has many arms: Chronic tension, lack of genuine compassion for others, including the people closest to you, feelings being blocked up, and emotional deadness. Many, many arms. None of us is entirely free from it. We may deny it. We try to suppress it. We build a whole culture around hiding from it, pretending it is not there, and distracting ourselves from it with goals and projects and status. But it never goes away. It is a constant undercurrent in every thought and every perception; a little wordless voice at the back of the head saying, “Not good enough yet. Got to have more. Got to make it better. Got to be better.” It is a monster, a monster that manifests everywhere in subtle forms.”

Mindfulness In Plain English By Ven. Henepola Gunaratana (p 7)

  1. Lingyun says:

    The best way to know how to taste wine and which wine is our favorate is no way other than tasting more! We need to drink up what we have in the cup, and fill it again, even some times we fill the cup with wine without good quality, but at least it is kind of tasting experences!

  2. Hook says:

    I know that you want to encourage discussion, but, still, I hate to always be the nay-sayer. Be that as it may, I find the quote to suffer from the same flaw that I see in the fascists who dominate the GOP currently; an insistence that there is a single answer. Black and white. Right and wrong. I don’t see things in that binary fashion. Even within a single person I see times and situations where I’m doing poorly and other times when I’m happy and confident. I am as depressed and disparing about one of my daughters as I am proud and hopeful about the other.

    New beginnings are not immune to this “rule”. They are not automatically wonderful or awful. I’m trying to become a self-publisher and, while I hope that it will eventually be very rewarding, it’s a huge pain in the ass right now. Yes, life can have some terrible moments, but it can also have wonderful ones. I’d recommend embracing the latter and minimizing the importance of the former, but I’m not a guru; I don’t have the sort of moral authority that allows me to order people to adopt my position.

    • Just George says:

      Nobody said that the change would lead to wonderful moments, in fact one of the points of Mindfulness is to accept the change without the black and white perspectives you describe. Dangers of reading only 1 paragraph out of an entire chapter. Which is why I inserted a link. 🙂

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