Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 12, Part 13

Trey Smith

Confucius said to Lao Tan, "Here's a man who works to master the Way as though he were trying to talk down an opponent making the unacceptable acceptable, the not so, so. As the rhetoricians say, he can separate `hard' from `white' as clearly as though they were dangling from the eaves there. Can a man like this be called a sage?"

Lao Tan said, "A man like this is a drudging slave, a craftsman bound to his calling, wearing out his body, grieving his mind. Because the dog can catch rats, he ends up on a leash.' Because of his nimbleness, the monkey is dragged down from the mountain forest. Ch'iu, I'm going to tell you something - something you could never hear for yourself and something you would never know how to speak of. People who have heads and feet but no minds and no ears - there are mobs of them. To think that beings with bodies can all go on existing along with that which is bodiless and formless - it can never happen! A man's stops and starts, his life and death, his rises and falls - none of these can he do anything about. Yet he thinks that the mastery of them lies with man! Forget things, forget Heaven, and be called a forgetter of self. The man who has forgotten self may be said to have entered Heaven."

~ Burton Watson translation ~
Like several other snippets from the Zhuangzi, the first thing that comes to my mind are Christian evangelists. Sure, they talk about the glory and power of God, but their true focus is on their own charisma...and YOUR money and devotion!

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

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