The Border Collie Chronicles

Observations from (arguably) the World's Smartest Dogs;
(but, without question, the bestest friends!)
or, Life As We Understand It, as told from dad's shop.

Posted March 12, 2015


By Annie


Editor’s Note:  Some of you may know immediately what I am referring to … some may catch on as they read through this … some, well – some, may just not catch on at all … and that’s OK too – it will just keep the spirit of the story ALIVE!!!  Anyway, it is not intended, in this particular usage, to be a derogatory reference at all … rather, it is used in the purest and most affectionate sense of the term.  (and pvf HAS used it on dad!)


You see, lately, my big sister Gall has become increasingly frustrated with me.  She keeps reminding me of things that she has already explained to me (sometimes, numerous times!) and she started calling me “Young Grasshopper”.  Well, I don’t know how to take this at all!  Dad and mom-R busted out laughing.  Patches whispered in mom-D’s ear and they both giggled!  Bubba … dear sweet little ol’ (yeah, I know he is FREAKISHLY huge) Bubba just moaned, stretched and rolled over to his other side!  Well, with everyone starting to look at me and giggle (mom-R and dad were ROTFLTAOBT (that last part is “big time”) … I started to get a little self-conscious, agitated, and, yeah – just a little pissed off! (I AM Angry Annie don’tcha know!) – but then, I remembered dad and JC using that word a lot a few years back!  What was it in reference to? … was it a person? … or maybe a reference to an old TV show … hmmmmmm …. Let’s see what I can remember …


I seem to remember some various quotes …


‘In the Shaolin temple there are three kinds of men: students, disciples and masters. Development of the mind can be achieved only when the body has been disciplined. To accomplish this, the ancients have taught us to imitate God’s creatures…. From the crane we learn grace and self-control. The snake teaches us suppleness and rhythmic endurance. The praying mantis teaches us speed and patience. And from the tiger we learn tenacity and power. And from the dragon we learn to ride the wind. All creatures, the low and the high, are one with nature. If we have the wisdom to learn, all may teach us their virtues. Between the fragile beauty of the praying mantis and the fire and passion of the winged dragon, there is no discord. Between the supple silence of the snake and the eagle’s claws, there is only harmony. As no two elements of nature are in conflict so when we perceive the ways of nature, we remove conflict within ourselves and discover a harmony of body and mind in accord with the flow of the universe. It may take half a lifetime to master one system.’ - Master Kan.


‘Perceive the way of nature and no force of man can harm you. Do not meet a wave head on: avoid it. You do not have to stop force: it is easier to redirect it. Learn more ways to preserve rather than destroy. Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. For all life is precious nor can any be replaced.’ - Master Kan


‘You have learned discipline and acquired many new abilities. however never forget that a priest’s life is a simple one and must remain free of ambition.’ - Master Po
‘Have you no ambition, Master Po?’ - Disciple Caine
‘Only one. Five years hence, it is my wish to make a pilgrimage to the Forbidden City. It is a place where even priests receive no special status. There in the Temple of Heaven, will be a festival The full moon of May. It will be the thirteenth day of the fifth month in the Year of the Dog.’ - Master Po
‘That is not such a great ambition.’ - Disciple Caine
‘But it is ambition, nonetheless. Who among us is without flaw?’
 - Master Po


‘Master, do we seek victory in contention?’ - Disciple Caine
‘Seek rather not to contend.’ - Master Kan
‘But shall we not then be defeated?’
 - Disciple Caine
‘We know that where there is no contention, there is neither defeat nor victory. The supple willow does not contend against the storm, yet it survives.’ - Master Kan


‘Vengeance is a water vessel with a hole. It carries nothing but the promise of emptiness.’ - Master Po
‘Shall I then repay injury always with kindness?’
 - Young Caine
‘Repay injury with justice and forgiveness, but kindness always with kindness.’
 - Master Po


‘To feel shame for no cause is a waste. To feel shame for cause is also a waste; for you must rather spend time correcting that of which you are ashamed.’ - Master Po


‘If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present; but if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.’ - Master Po


‘If while building a house, a carpenter strikes a nail and it proves faulty by bending, does the carpenter lose faith in all nails and stop building his house?’ - Master Kan


‘Peace lies not in the world…but in the man who walks the path.’ - Master Po


‘To reach perfection a man must develop equally compassion and wisdom.’ - Master Po


‘We learn to make powerful the force of our bodies. Yet, we are taught to reverence all against whom we may use such force.’ - Caine
‘When your life is threatened or the innocent life of another, you will be prepared to defend them.’
 - Master Kan
‘Being thus prepared better than others, should I not always stand and fight?’
 - Caine
‘Ignore the insulting tongue. Duck the provoking blow. Run from the assault of the strong.’
 - Master Kan
‘Are these not the actions of a coward?’
 - Caine
‘The wild boar runs from the tiger knowing that each being well armed by nature with deadly strength may kill the other. Running he saves his own life and that of the tiger. This is not cowardice. It is the love of life.’
 - Master Kan


‘In every loss there is gain. As in every gain there is loss.’ - Master Po


‘Young Caine, when I was a boy, I fell into a hole in the ground and I was broken and could not climb out. I might have died there but a stranger came along and saved me. He said it was his obligation. That for help he had once received, he must in return help ten others each of whom would then help ten others so that good deeds would spread out like the ripples from a pebble in a pond. I was one of his ten and you became one of mine. And now I pass this obligation on to you.’ - Master Po


‘You sit by yourself grasshopper. What do you think of?’ - Master Po

‘My mother, my father. Both gone. I am alone.’ - Disciple Caine
‘You hear the flock of birds flying overhead? You hear the fish? The beetle? In this crowded place you feel alone. Which of us is the most blind?
 - Master Po  AMEN


‘Each journey begins and also ends.’ - Master Po



Oh yeah … Now I remember where the word came from!!!! …



‘Of all things, to live in darkness must be the worst.’ - Young Caine
‘Fear is the only darkness.’
 - Master Po
‘Never assume that because a man has no eyes, he cannot see.’
 - Master Po
‘Close your eyes. What do you hear?’
 - Master Po
‘I hear the water. I hear the birds.’
 - Young Caine
‘Do you hear your own heartbeat?’
 - Master Po
 - Young Caine
‘Do you hear the grasshopper which at your feet?’
 - Master Po
‘Old Man, how is it that you hear these things?’
 - Young Caine
‘Young Man, how is it that you do not?’
 - Master Po[ii]



Yeah, I remember dad and JC talking (on NUMEROUS occasions) about the joys and aggravation of teaching folks … and the “grasshopper” term kept popping up!  They talked about the ‘Jesus Cows and Miracle Calves’, employees that kept trying to sleep in the GOV, green employees that thought you got a new truck by ‘writing a check’, folks that shredded original travel documents, employees with a year of experience that didn’t know what a 540 Report was, and a whole lot of other silly stuff … but who could forget the ‘Pecan Picking Monkeys of Pecos County’!!!!!!  (Not to worry “kids”, dad has gotten a lot of mileage out of the pecan pickin’ stories (most recently a detailed person and the CO PT! – who is now in counseling for depression – she really wanted to see the monkeys!)


Well, anyway, these quotes and the idea for this story are from the 1972 – 1975 TV Series “Kung Fu” which follows the adventures of a Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine who travels through the American Old West in the 1870’s armed only with his spiritual training and his skill in martial arts, as he seeks his half-brother, Danny Caine.  Kwai Chang Caine is the orphaned son of an American man, Thomas Henry Caine, and a Chinese woman in mid-19th century China.  After his maternal grandfather’s death he is accepted for training at a Shaolin Monastery, where he grows up to become a Shaolin priest and martial arts expert.  Flashbacks are often used to recall specific lessons from Caine’s childhood training in the monastery from his teachers, the blind Master Po and Master Kan.


Dad watched these shows in primetime and also in reruns as he was growing up.  Dad explained to us that, even as a youngster, the teachings that Caine received contained “deep” messages along with the basic skills that helped him grow and develop.  As a result of this influence, dad said that he has always strived to do the same with the folks that he was tasked with training … of course, you have to provide them with guidance in the basic skills, but always strive to give them some deeper items to ponder on.


Wishing You The Best!!!

Miss Ann





[i] Term that refers to one who is a novice, a greenhorn, a student/disciple, a subordinate, or just simply ignorant.  Source:


[ii] Watch the clip of this quote on YouTube:


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