The Rabbit’s Philosophy of Life

~ Sketches of a Black and White Rabbit by Masuyama Okyo

The Rabbit is more than a long-eared, herbivorous mammal. Like many other things, the Rabbit is a symbol. It is a symbol of how life should be and how life must be. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Rabbit is a gifted, gentle, refined, quick and clever animal. It prefers such situations that are perfectly favourable to itself and find clever ways to bypass obstacles that obstruct its way. As a result, the Rabbit is rarely seen angry, uncomfortable, hostile or aggressive.

The Rabbit is the happiest of all the members of the Zodiac. People enjoy being in the company of Rabbits as they excel as social creatures. They are tactful and sensitive to the feelings of others. They also cherish the company of other people and are good listeners (this explains their long ears). Hence, they are able to coexist in peace with the people around them. Rabbits prefer to avoid unnecessary conflicts. They prefer to bend like a willow rather than break like an oak.

The Rabbit does not use direct confrontation to attain its goals, preferring instead to use subtle means to obtain its prize. The Rabbit is like water and changes its shape to suit its container. Therefore, the Rabbit follow social norms, traditions, customs, and mannerisms of the day. The Rabbit believes that one should not advocate an idea before its time. Rabbits are not supporters of social revolutions and upheavals before the time for such disturbing events are due. They prefer to live in peace and prosperity.

Rabbits are gifted with many attributes. They are blessed with intuition and the ability to see things before they happen. This is why the Rabbit is able to avoid maladies and mishaps by predicting through foresight when unfortunate events will happen in the future. Aside from that, Rabbits are also gifted with creativity and a high doze of intelligence. The Rabbit uses these two attributes to its own advantage, namely, by coming up with solutions before the start of problems.

Last but not least, the Rabbit is blessed with good luck. It is no wonder that the rabbit’s foot is carried around as an amulet of good luck. The Rabbit’s tendency to avoid trouble and danger is legendary. Even by relying on its luck alone they are able to avoid unfortunate events, or make events turn out as tales of serendipity.

And so what can we say of the Rabbit’s philosophy?

All in all, it can be summed up in the following three principles:

  1. Simplicity is beauty.
  2. Happy-go-lucky.
  3. Difficulty requires subtlety.

Nothing for the Rabbit is too important to lose sleep over or to skip a meal. The world is an imperfect world, but it’s the only one that we got. Experience brings wisdom, wisdom brings acceptance. Acceptance brings peace, and peace brings Ataraxia (freedom from trouble and anxiety). Ataraxia. A feeling of being one with the world and all within it. A feeling that is even more valuable than eternal life. Socrates once said that, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” The Rabbit says, “an unhappy life is not worth living.”

But all that has virtues have its vices. As gifted as the Rabbit is, it seldom finishes what it starts, hopping from one idea and endeavour to the next. Its carefree attitude brings it happiness but takes away its productivity. At times, the Rabbit is too busy enjoying himself that it forgets the reality of life or the harsh  environment that the poor and needy face. To be well liked, the Rabbit is well mannered and polite. But this sometimes makes the Rabbit superficial and a hypocrite.

Chinese folklore mentions of a Jade Rabbit that stays on the moon together with the Moon Goddess Chang’e. The Jade Rabbit is said to be constantly pounding herbs to make the elixir of life for the immortal Gods. Maybe just maybe, if one thinks slowly, that the story means that happiness gives immortality. So although the year of the Rabbit will soon come to an end and we will not see the Rabbit again for another 12 years, remember that every time when you gaze into the full moon, the Jade Rabbit’s shade reminds you to live a life worth living as he pounds away on his herbs.

~ Hare by Albrecht Durer

3 Responses to “The Rabbit’s Philosophy of Life”
  1. Anonymous says:

    an unhappy life is not worth living.
    ahah. thanks for reminding me man. and yep. nothings to important to lose a sleep over. which is a bit too true for me

  2. I was not born in the Chinese year of the Rabbit but I was once told by a spiritual interpreter that my spiritual animal is a Rabbit. I can see much of myself in this post, except a few things I’m not as casual about as our Bunny friend. Interesting post :)

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