Friday, March 15, 2013

The True Way

Scott Bradley


Tai Chinjen wandered about the Middle Kingdom, visiting one monastery after another, questioning every sage that would give him audience, but never finding that place where his spirit could feel at home. Finally, he came before Zhouzi and asked, "Master Zhou, what is the true way?"

"The true way," replied Zhouzi, "is that way which excludes no other."

"Is your way then the true way?" asked Tai.

"It is not," answered Zhouzi.

"Yet here you have a community filled with disciples," exclaimed Tai. "How is it then that you encourage them to pursue your way which is not the true way?"

"There was a man from Song," replied Zhouzi, "who was a master of the zither. People came from far and wide to hear him play, but one day someone asked him why he despised the lute which he did not play. Seeing how his mastery of the zither excluded mastery of the lute, he fell into deep melancholy, broke apart his zither, and returned to his obscurity. It is said that 'Dao is all-embracing and infinitely spacious', yet those who would know it must follow some one wending path that from their own life arises."

"Now you have wandered about the Middle Kingdom," Zhouzi continued, "wishing to choose between the many ways, thinking that one must be objectively better than every other, and thus have you found fault in each. That you have not found the way for you, is because you believe to choose is to make a choice. The way that is true for you is the one that resonates and sets your heart to ringing."

"Master, is there then no one true way?" Tai persisted.

"There is," answered Zhouzi, "and your feet have never ceased to make it."

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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