Shi was working in the garden when his hoe glanced off a stone and injured his foot. After angrily throwing down his hoe and cursing, he felt ashamed before his brothers and especially the newly arrived Cheng who worked nearby. But Cheng immediately threw down his own hoe and cursed still more forcefully. For a moment all remained silent and then suddenly the garden was filled with laughter.
Later, Shi approached Cheng and said, "Thank you, my friend, for lessening my shame."
But Cheng replied, "If I only lessened it, I have done you no favor; for diminished shame is only shame in hiding. Where does it hide, if not in that from which it arises?"
"Did it not arise from my poor behavior?" asked Shi.
"Poor behavior?" replied Cheng. "From whence arises that which cares about poor behavior? Shame cares only for name; were you not ashamed because you felt your self diminished in your own eyes and in the eyes of others? And is not shame but the other side of blame?"
"Did I not fail of Dao?" persisted Shi.
"Today, Dao twice threw down a hoe and cursed," answered Cheng. "Did Dao then fail of you?"
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