Nan-jung Chu asked to be allowed to repair to his quarters. There he tried to cultivate his good qualities and rid himself of his bad ones; and after ten days of making himself miserable, he went to see Lao Tzu again. Lao Tzu said, "You have been very diligent in your washing and purifying -- as I can see from your scrubbed and shining look. But there is still something smoldering away inside you -- it would seem that there are bad things there yet. When outside things trip you up and you can't snare and seize them, then bar the inside gate. When inside things trip you up and you can't bind and seize them, then bar the outside gate. If both outside and inside things trip you up, then even the Way and its virtue themselves can't keep you going -- much less one who is a mere follower of the Way in his actions."An hourglass filled completely with sand cannot accept any more sand. A glass filled to the brim cannot take any more liquid. A mind littered with hubris and ghosts cannot be filled with peace and virtue -- There's no room!
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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