A good book is a priceless gift. We should, however, make a distinction between a GOOD and a BAD book. A good book, on one hand, is meant to help the reader become more human. And a good human being is someone who believe and respect in the universal values of truth, justice, and peace. A bad book, on the other hand, is meant to deceive a reader by revising history or peddling fake news. It will make the reader think bad and do something bad.
What we are launching today—Lourdes Lim Wang’s two collections of flash fictions Cockfighting and Other Stories and The Cycle (Awakening of the Mind) published by Kasingkasing Press—are definitely good books. That is why we at the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University are happy and honored to organize this launching together with Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple, Buddha’s Light International Association Philippines, and Kasingkasing Press.
My friendship with Lourdes started in 2018 when she invited me to watch the media presentation of Siddharta: The Musical here in Mabuhay Temple. It was then that I discovered this temple and the delicious vegetarian restaurant that became my favorite during pre-pandemic times. During that visit, the Venerable Abbess gifted us with the book 365 Days for Travelers: Wisdom from Chinese Literary and Buddhist Classics by the Venerable Master Hsing Yun. This book, along with The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, became my bedside reading first thing in the morning.
Every opening of the term in La Salle, I would begin my first lecture on why do we have to read literature with the January 11 entry by Yu Qiuyu (English translation by Miao Guang) titled “Why Youth Should Read” that says, “The biggest reason to why we read is to rid ourselves of mediocrity. Mediocrity is an attitude that passively seeks ways of survival. Mediocre people do not lack anything; they are just nonchalant about the excitements of this world, the length of human history, the sacredness of ultimate justice, or the profound meaning of life.”
I’m thinking that someday, in the future editions of this daily readings of Chinese literary and Buddhist classics, one of the stories of Lourdes will be included. For indeed, and I’m only speaking of the two featured books today because Lourdes is the author of nine other books in Mandarin which I don’t have access to, the flash fictions of Lourdes Lim Wang have the capacity to quicken us to life, to live a good life, a good life in the context of Buddhism and Stoicism.
To continue the quote by Yu Qiuyu, “Only books can bring the expansiveness of space and infiniteness of time in front of you; only books can direct the already flying signals of the noble life towards you; only books can present to you the profound wisdom in that wonderful contrasts against ignorance and hideousness.” Qiuyu might as well be referring to Cockfighting and Other Stories and The Cycle (Awakening of the Mind).
I am both humbled and honored to be given the task to welcome you all today in this twin book launching. Please don’t forget to buy the books. Thank you and Mabuhay tayong lahat!