Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 23, Part 9

Trey Smith

Nan-Jung Chu said, "Then is this all there is to the virtue of the Perfect Man?"

"Oh, no! This is merely what is called the freeing of the icebound, the thawing of the frozen. Can you do it? The Perfect Man joins with others in seeking his food from the earth, his pleasures in Heaven. But he does not become embroiled with them in questions of people and things, profit and loss. He does not join them in their shady doings, he does not join them in their plots, he does not join them in their projects. Brisk and unflagging, he goes; rude and unwitting, he comes. This is what is called the basic rule of life-preservation."

"Then is this the highest stage?"

"Not yet! Just a moment ago I said to you, `Can you be a baby?' The baby acts without knowing what it is doing, moves without knowing where it is going. Its body is like the limb of a withered tree, its mind like dead ashes. Since it is so, no bad fortune will ever touch it, and no good fortune will come to it either. And if it is free from good and bad fortune, then what human suffering can it undergo?"

~ Burton Watson translation ~
Emptying ourselves of our baggage and ghosts is a good first step, but it is not the ultimate leap. An empty mind can just as easily be filled with bad conceptions as it can with good. It is only when we search our hearts that we can find the eternal spring from whence true compassion and virtue flows.

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

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