Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 20, Part 17

Trey Smith

"And what do you mean when you say that it is hard to be indifferent to the benefits of man?"

Confucius replied, "A man sets out on a career, and soon he is advancing in all four directions at once. Titles and stipends come raining down on him without end, but these are merely material profits and have nothing to do with the man himself. As for me, my fate lies elsewhere. A gentleman will not pilfer, a worthy man will not steal. What business would I have, then, trying to acquire such things? So it is said, There is no bird wiser than the swallow. If its eyes do not light upon a suitable spot, it will not give a second look. If it happens to drop the food it had in its beak, it will let it go and fly on its way. It is wary of men, and yet it lives among them, finding its protection along with men in the village altars of the soil and grain."

~ Burton Watson translation ~
Fame tends to be fleeting and power can evaporate in an instant. Status and influence can disappear in a wisp of air. If a person's life is built upon acquiring and maintaining such things, you are inviting stress into your bosom. The more you seek to have, the more you will one day lose.

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

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