Reading this story, I was drawn to the positivity and virtues held by the Emperor of Heaven and the Goddess of Order. I felt they have mastered the virtues of appreciation, gratitude, generosity, and respect. The emperor showed nobility and generosity in forgiving Rat for how he used his cleverness to win the race, and in acknowledging Rat’s precious contribution to the survival of humanity and all creatures.
From this story, I understood that the virtue of gratitude and appreciation is not just thanking someone after receiving a favor from them. In fact, it is a constant and regular practice for me to implement.
What stood out for me in this story is that Rat didn’t use his physical ability to win the race; he used the inner qualities of his mind.
The Chinese Year of the Rat invites me to go beyond my routine approach to life by calling on my cleverness and boldness. With this attitude, and with God’s light, I feel I can refresh my life and schedule my calendar with activities that call forth my talents.
I was moved and delighted by the rat’s qualities of service, one-pointedness, determination, ingenuity, and just plain daring-do! The rat made me smile with his scampering playfulness, and I also felt my eyes moistening and my heart opening as I saw his incredible courage. Though he is small and no one really expects very much of him, he comes through. He saves the whole human race. He knows what is important and puts forth his full effort.
May the rat’s spirit live in me and keep me moving towards the goal of sadhana
, supported by my own effort while also being carried by grace.
I really enjoyed this story; I loved learning how a small animal like the rat, whom we sometimes regard as a pest, found its place in the Chinese Zodiac. I recognized the qualities that the rat embodies, like intelligence, adaptability, and determination. I also loved that the rat is an unlikely hero who helps save the Earth and ends up winning the race.
What a great story! I was fascinated to read how the animal signs came about and even more intrigued wondering if the origin of the modern expression "rat race" is related to this story. I will enjoy remembering this in the morning as I rush alongside other commuters to work. And I will hold in my mind’s eye an image of a beautiful, sacred altar. Now that will really make the day shine!
London, United Kingdom
What a wonderfully inspiring story! To me, it shows that one’s size is not important. What makes a difference is one’s self-confidence and the greatness of one’s heart.
St. Laurent, Canada
The story “Rat Race” catapulted me out of my comfort zone. The rat’s wiliness disturbed me. How could he be worthy of the number one spot in the Chinese Zodiac?
I took a deep breath and decided to let the story dwell within me overnight. The following morning I had an insight: I’m an ox in the Chinese Zodiac, and someone near and dear to me is a wily rat. I felt that this story had an important teaching for me.
I reread the story a couple of times to discover my particular lesson. I realized that I had skipped over the good qualities of the rat and the many ways in which having someone born in the Year of the Rat in my life increases my well-being. With this discovery, like Yu, the Water God’s assistant, I felt my gratitude toward the worthy rat expanding a thousandfold.
Oregon, United States
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
— Happy New Year in Cantonese.
I was born in the Year of the Rat. The story “Rat Race” opened a new door for me—so much fun and play and new ways to look at myself. I am rejoicing in my cleverness, adaptability, resilience, and positivity. Wow. I am blessed and lucky.
Hawaii, United States