Friday, May 24, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 14, Part 7

Trey Smith

"Nothing is as good as a boat for crossing water, nothing as good as a cart for crossing land. But though a boat will get you over water, if you try to push it across land, you may push till your dying day and hardly move it any distance at all. And are the past and present not like the water and the land, and the states of Chou and Lu not like a boat and a cart?

"To hope to practice the ways of Chou in the state of Lu is like trying to push a boat over land - a great deal of work, no success, and certain danger to the person who tries it. The man who tries to do so has failed to understand the turning that has no direction, that responds to things and is never at a loss.

~ Burton Watson translation ~
When I often write that each of us has our paths to tread, it may spur some to ask: Is any path acceptable? I would respond both yes and no. Any path that takes a person from point A to point B is acceptable provided that it doesn't go against the flow of the currents of life.

For example, there are many ways to fell a tree. One person may employ a chainsaw. Another may use an ax. Someone else may use a handsaw. Still another person might use a pocketknife (a very slow process indeed!). All of these methods and more will cause the tree to fall. But the person who tries to fell a tree with a blade of grass or bowl of Jello will -- most likely -- not meet with any success at all!

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

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