Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 23, Part 8

Trey Smith

Nan-Jung Chu said, "When a villager gets sick and his neighbors ask him how he feels, if he is able to describe his illness, it means he can still recognize his illness as an illness -- and so he isn't all that ill. But now if I were to ask about the Great Way, it would be like drinking medicine that made me sicker than before. What I would like to ask about is simply the basic rule of life-preservation, that is all."

Lao Tzu said, "Ah - the basic rule of life-preservation. Can you embrace the One? Can you keep from losing it? Can you, without tortoise shell or divining stalks, foretell fortune and misfortune? Do you know where to stop, do you know where to leave off? Do you know how to disregard it in others and instead look for it in yourself? Can you be brisk and unflagging? Can you be rude and unwitting? Can you be a little baby? The baby howls all day, yet its throat never gets hoarse -- harmony at its height! The baby makes fists all day, yet its fingers never get cramped -- virtue is all it holds to. The baby stares all day without blinking its eyes -- it has no preferences in the world of externals. To move without knowing where you are going, to sit at home without knowing what you are doing, traipsing and trailing about with other things, riding along with them on the same wave -- this is the basic rule of life-preservation, this and nothing more."

~ Burton Watson translation ~
Another quintessential example of wu wei. It is not not-doing; it is more doing without egoic designs. It's one thing to philosophize about it, but quite another to live it!

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

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