During the Northern Song Dynasty, there was a painter named sun Zhiwei. He specializes in figure painting. Once, he was entrusted by Shouning temple in Chengdu to draw a figure painting. He carefully drew the picture with a pen, the characters were lifelike, the clothes were floating, just like a fairy, and only the last process of coloring was left. Just at this time, a friend invited him to drink. He put down his pen and looked at the painting carefully for a while. He felt quite satisfied. He said to his disciples, “I have drawn all the lines of this painting, and only the coloring is left. You must be careful not to mistake the color. I have something to do at my friend’s house. I hope you can draw well when I come back.”
After sun Zhiwei left, the disciples surrounded the painting, watched the teacher’s pen skills and the overall composition repeatedly, and exchanged their experiences with each other.
Someone said, “you see how lifelike the figure painting looks. It has a long beard and is powerful without anger.”
Others said: “the auspicious clouds at the foot of the Bodhisattva are wrapped around, and the real divine posture is immortal, which makes people respectful.”
One of them, a disciple named Tong Renyi, usually shows off his cleverness and likes to impress the public. He is the only one who pretends to be silent.
Someone asked him, “why don’t you talk? Is there anything wrong with this painting?”
Tong Renyi pretended to be profound and said, “the heavy son around the water heating star looks very vivid, but the crystal bottle in his hand seems to be missing something.”
The disciples said, “I didn’t find anything less.”
Tong Renyi said, “every time the teacher draws a bottle, he always draws a flower in the bottle, but this time he doesn’t. maybe he is eager to go out and has no time to draw well. We’d better draw well and then color it.”
Tong Renyi said, carefully drawing a gorgeous red lotus at the mouth of the bottle.
When sun Zhiwei came back from his friend’s house, he found that the bottle in Chongzi’s hand gave birth to a lotus, and said angrily and with a smile: “Who did this stupid thing? It would be self defeating if you just painted the snake and added the foot. The bottle in the boy’s hand is the demon killing bottle used by the water heating star to subdue the water monster. It’s a big joke if you add lotus to the bottle and turn the treasure bottle into an ordinary flower bottle.” he said and tore the picture to pieces.
The disciples looked at Tong Renyi and bowed their heads silently.
Self defeating means: I wanted to be smart, but I did something stupid.