Two toes webbed together, a sixth finger forking off - these come from the inborn nature but are excretions as far as Virtue is concerned. Swelling tumors and protruding wens - these come from the body but are excretions as far as the inborn nature is concerned. Men overnice in the ways of benevolence and righteousness try to put these into practice, even to line them up with the five vital organs!What is normal? Each of us possesses imperfections. We talk about averages, but I've really never met an "average" person.
This is not the right approach to the Way and its Virtue. Therefore he who has two toes webbed together has grown a flap of useless flesh; he who has a sixth finger forking out of his hand has sprouted a useless digit; and he who imposes overnice ways, webs and forked fingers, upon the original form of the five vital organs will become deluded and perverse in the practice of benevolence and righteousness and overnice in the use of his hearing and sight. Thus he who is web-toed in eyesight will be confused by the five colors, bewitched by patterns and designs, by the dazzling hues of blue and yellow, of embroidery and brocade - am I wrong? So we have Li Chu.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
We each have limitations. In one way or another, every one of us is dazzled and bewitched by the sensations and experiences our lives have to offer.
To view the Index page for this series, go here.