Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chapter 31, Part A - Chuang Tzu

Confucius, after strolling through the Black Curtain Forest, sat down to rest on the Apricot Altar. While his disciples turned to their books, he strummed his lute and sang. He had not gotten halfway through the piece he was playing when an old fisherman appeared, stepped out of his boat, and came forward. His beard and eyebrows were pure white, his hair hung down over his shoulders, and his sleeves flapped at his sides.

He walked up the embankment, stopped when he reached the higher ground, rested his left hand on his knee, propped his chin with his right, and listened until the piece was ended. Then he beckoned to Tzu-kung and Tzu-lu, both of whom came forward at his call. The stranger pointed to Confucius and said, "What does he do?"

"He is a gentleman of Lu," replied Tzu-lu.

The stranger then asked what family he belonged to, and Tzu-lu replied, "The K'ung family."

"This man of the K'ung family," said the stranger, "what's his occupation?"

Tzu-lu was still framing his reply when Tzu-kung answered, "This man of the K'ung family in his inborn nature adheres to loyalty and good faith, in his person practices benevolence and righteousness; he brings a beautiful order to rites and music and selects what is proper in human relationships. Above, he pays allegiance to the sovereign of the age; below, he transforms the ordinary people through education, and in this way brings profit to the world. Such is the occupation of this man of the Kung family!"
~ Burton Watson translation via Terebess Asia Online ~
Go here to read the introductory post to the chapters of the Book of Chuang Tzu.

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