Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bit by Bit - Chapter 4, Part 9

Trey Smith


Yen Hui said, "I have nothing more to offer. May I ask the proper way?"

"You must fast!" said Confucius. "I will tell you what that means. Do you think it is easy to do anything while you have [a mind]? If you do, Bright Heaven will not sanction you."

Yen Hui said, "My family is poor. I haven't drunk wine or eaten any strong foods for several months. So can I be considered as having fasted?"

"That is the fasting one does before a sacrifice, not the fasting of the mind."

"May- I ask what the fasting of the mind is?"

Confucius said, "Make your will one! Don't listen with your ears, listen with your mind. No, don't listen with your mind, but listen with your spirit. Listening stops with the ears, the mind stops with recognition, but spirit is empty- and waits on all things. The Way gathers in emptiness alone. Emptiness is the fasting of the mind."

~ Burton Watson translation ~
For me, this snippet obviously is talking about meditation. While there certainly is nothing wrong with physical fasting -- it can help to purge toxins and waste from the body -- mental fasting helps to purge toxins and waste from the mind.

To view the Index page for this series, go here.

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