NEW YORK, Unleashing the power of silence—especially not immediately reacting to criticism—is not new advice. Over the centuries each of the world’s spiritual and cultural leaders has given us counsel in this arena. Benjamin Franklin, for one, instructed us to “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
For 1.7 billion Chinese, the writer, artist, TV commentator AND religious guru Wen Huaisha is both a living treasure and a controversial figure because he clearly enjoys publicity and public speaking in a country where modesty, especially among the elderly, is held in high esteem. And, while he may not seem humble, Wen, who was reportedly born in 1910, is certainly elderly—at 103 years of age.
One of Wen’s most enthusiastic supporters is successful businessman Pu Gu, who interviewed Wen at his home in Beijing and wrote a popular article on his visit: “China’s Centenarian Sage and the Power of Silence.” Gu is senior vice president of Shenzhen Bauing Construction Group Co., Ltd., a multi-billion dollar publically-traded company in Guangdong province hailed in 2012 for “Outstanding Enterprise Culture Contribution.” Gu is passionate about preserving China’s traditional culture, co-founding the “Chinese Beijing Jundetang Culture Communication Group.” He is determined to keep Wen’s wisdom in the forefront for younger generations of Chinese, while spreading Wen’s reputation throughout the West.
“Wen is an inspiration to everyone,” says Pu Gu. “He grew up during the revolution that overthrew the Qing dynasty, lived through two wars, the Cultural Revolution, has been imprisoned, and has tales to tell beyond anyone’s imagination. If you see him walk, talk, greet people, or even sit at table and have lunch, you will be surprised at how much more animated and fluid in movement and speech he is than most 30 year olds. He has even mastered the use of modern technology, and is about to complete the largest volume of written work on the planet!”
In Pu Gu’s article he reports that In today’s world of constant chatter, where people are quick to blame and to criticise, Wen is an important voice, especially in calling on Chinese youth to reconnect with the teachings of Taoism. He quotes Wen, who told him: “What is distinct about Taoism is the power of silence. The best response to criticism is to say nothing. To do this is to reach the highest level of human achievement – to hold the truth profoundly in your mind but to say nothing.”
Thanks to Pu Gu’s determination to spread Wen Huaisha’s wisdom across the planet, this still highly productive centenarian can serve as an inspiration to all of us to live our lives fully, up to the last moment, while respecting the appropriateness and power of silence—hopefully as he has, past the age 100 mark!
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