Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 17, Part 15

Trey Smith

"Well then," said the Lord of the River, "what should I do and what should I not do? How am I to know in the end what to accept and what to reject, what to abide by and what to discard?"

Jo of the North Sea said, "From the point of view of the Way, what is noble or what is mean? These are merely what are called endless changes. Do not hobble your will, or you will be departing far from the Way! What is few, or what is many? These are merely what are called boundless turnings. Do not strive to unify your actions, or you will be at sixes and sevens with the Way! Be stern like the ruler of a state - he grants no private favor. Be benign and impartial like the god of the soil at the sacrifice - he grants no private blessing. Be broad and expansive like the endlessness of the four directions – they have nothing which bounds or hedges them. Embrace the ten thousand things universally - how could there be one you should give special support to? This is called being without bent. When the ten thousand things are unified and equal, then which is short and which is long?

"The Way is without beginning or end, but things have their life and death - you cannot rely upon their fulfillment. One moment empty, the next moment full - you cannot depend upon their form. The years cannot be held off; time cannot be stopped. Decay, growth, fullness, and emptiness end and then begin again. It is thus that we must describe the plan of the Great Meaning and discuss the principles of the ten thousand things. The life of things is a gallop, a headlong dash - with every movement they alter, with every moment they shift. What should you do and what should you not do? Everything will change of itself, that is certain!"

~ Burton Watson translation ~
There are no easy answers to life. There is no recipe book or absolute formula. It doesn't matter what worked or didn't work for our ancestors...or our parents. Often, it doesn't even matter what worked or didn't work for each of us in our own pasts.

Life is to be lived in each moment. We only can understand and partially grasp our lives by the tail through the experience OF experience.

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

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