The Parable of the Sower - An Interpretation from Chinese Viewpoint

The Parable of the Sower (sometimes called the Parable of the Soils) is a parable of Jesus found in the three Synoptic Gospels in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15.  There are many comments and interpretations of the parable and on Jesus' explanation of the parable. Essentially, while the seed, the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven is the same, there are four types of hearers represented by the different types of soils, giving four kinds of results which only the last one, the good soil, producing fruits of 100, 60 and 30. 

Type of Soils
Growth Process
1 Paths
Heard but Stolen
2 Rocky
Receive with joy but easily fall away because of trouble & pressures
Short growth & die.
3 Among Thorns
Choked by worry and lured away by wealth
Growth but no fruit.
4 Good Soils
Hears & Understands by doing the Words.
Fruits, some 100, some 60, and some 30. Different degree of practicing the Words.

In the saying of the Ancient Chinese Sages, the following is attributed to 鬼谷子 (The Sage of the Ghost Valley, the Father of the School of Diplomacy. For his teaching see Gui Gu Zi - Art of Strategic Alliances & Persuasions )

悟道可有四重境界: Enlightenment of Dao(The Way) can have four realms:
  1. 初为闻道 - First is Hearing the Dao - Sound good. But so what? So forgotten.
  2. 次为知道 - Second is Knowing the Dao - Good to know. But so what? Did not put into practice and hence really do not know. It is knowing the theory of swimming but never really jump into the water to swim.
  3. 再为见道 - Third is Seeing the Dao i.e. put the Dao into behavior that can be seen. It is a good understanding of the Dao. It is experiencing the Dao. But it could be a one-off effort.
  4. 终为得道 - The final, fourth stage, is Obtain the Dao i.e. internalize the Dao so that the behavior is automatic and self-motivated and self-directed action.
Confucius says, “At 15 I set my heart on learning, at 30 I achieve success & independence, at 40 I have no more doubts and confusions, at 50 I knew the will of Heaven (life’s purpose), at 60 my ears were attuned to right and wrong and not emotionally affected by what others say, and at 70 I followed my heart’s desire without violating the laws.

So we know that Confucius spent 70 years to internalize the Dao so that his actions automatically follow from the Dao and will not violate it.

So for us believers, what have we done with His Words? 

Do we know His Words? 
Do we understand His Words? 
Do we follow His Words? 
Have we internalized His Words so that we automatically think and act like Jesus?
Do we have the mind of Christ? 
What is the Mind of Christ?

Psalm 119:11 (NIV) I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:5–8
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Lim Liat (c) 4 Mar 2019

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