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(百尺竿頭須進步 or 百尺竿頭,更進一步)

If you ever wanted to describe the pinnacle of self-improvement, or to encourage someone in perseverance, this Chinese saying would be the one to use.

This statement was said to have originated from the Song Dynasty in ancient China. During that time, there was a revered monk, a preacher familiar with the things of Buddha. One day, he visited a temple and stayed to preach there, attracting a large crowd. The temple, though packed, was totally silent except for the voice of the monk.

Once the holy man had finished, another monk politely stood up, bowed and proceeded to ask questions. They were answered with the same courtesies. The younger monk thought about the answers given and queried his senior about certain points which he had not understood. In this fashion they conversed for some time.

The audience realised that they were talking about Nirvana and the attainment of it. The elder monk then told the younger monk that even a hundred-foot bamboo would not be considered as being perfect. It should strive to grow taller, as only Nirvana is the height of perfection. Thus the saying 百尺竿頭,更進一步 (bai chi gan tou, gen jing yi bu) was born.

No doubt this saying would apply in most (if not all areas) of our lives. May it inspire us to Node for the Ages.

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