This old text explains how to deal with different types of personality in everyday life. It also gives a clue of how to adopt a stronger position and win over in discussions, negotiations and any other kind of polemics.
You must remember that the snake’s properties are pliancy and poison; the tiger’s properties are fury and powerful blows; strong is the nape of the neck of the wild bear, the eagle jumps and stretches its wings to fly, the monkey grabs all unknown, the rat is cowardly and swift – and for the inexperienced it is easy to get confused by the endless variety of the features and to fall prey to a skilful huntsman. Meanwhile, the experienced follows the basics and distinguishes the fundamental rules, which are more important than the multitude of appearances and skills. And so he knows, that the snake is creeping on the earth as it has no limbs from its birth, the cat is jumping freely where it likes with its four similar legs, and that the feathery one has a pair of wings to fly and a pair of legs to walk and catch, and those pairs don’t look alike.
The bird has two legs with claws and wings which stretch wide; and he doesn’t let anyone close, for the bird’s body is soft and vulnerable and easy to tear. The bird hits with the whole weight of his mighty wings, catches prey in his claws, falling from above on the stunned victim, trampling it down – but flying away at the slightest sight of danger… and it’s difficult to break through the flapping, flickering and blows of the diversely legged.
But that is what the cat can do, for he loves a close embrace and jumps into action, compressing himself into a springing ball of anger. When jumping forward, all his four short legs it brings down in a hail of continuous blows, covering the enemy with wounds before he can gather his senses… and it’s difficult to break through the flood of rage of the similarly legged.
But that is what the snake can do, for he is limbless and cold and poisonous, and only the ice of snake’s rings can be waiting for someone’s impatience, for a thoughtless blow. And the snake will gain his end – but his embrace is much shorter than that of the cat – it’s not easy to shake off the death which twined around you and it’s hard to hit the narrow spring.
But that what the bird can do, falling from above, striking with the whole weight of his wings, catching the cold rings with his claws – and pliancy is fighting cruelty; and so the circle is closed.
So those with knowledge do not dash around observing endless differences and do not show off their multiple skills in front of the fools, but follow the fundamental principles; and in answer to the viciousness of a snake amongst people fall from the sky like a mighty eagle; they answer the cruelty of an eagle with soft cat’s legs full of sharp claws, and the fiery outburst of cat’s aggression meets with the icy-cold imperturbability of the forked tongue of a snake.
3 levels make the universe – earth, world and heaven and 3 visions inhabit it – bird, cat and snake; for the bear when attacks stands on its rear legs and falls on its prey from above like a bird, while stingray hits its prey with just one deadly stroke in a snake-like manner.
And there is a dragon in this world with the wings of a bird, the tail of a snake and the four legs of a cat and so he incorporates the features of all three, flying in the sky, walking on the ground and creeping like a snake. And a man is like a dragon; incredible possibilities are hidden within a man.