Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 24, Part 10

Trey Smith

Chuang Tzu said, "Well then, here are the four schools of the Confucians, Mo, Yang, and Ping, and with your own that makes five. Now which of you is in fact right? Or is it perhaps like the case of Lu Chu? His disciple said to him, `Master, I have grasped your Way. I can build a fire under the caldron in winter and make ice in summer.' `But that is simply using the yang to attract the yang, and the yin to attract the yin,' said Lu Chu. `That is not what I call the Way! I will show you my Way!' Thereupon he tuned two lutes, placed one in the hall, and the other in an inner room. When he struck the kung note on one lute, the kung on the other lute sounded; when he struck the chueh note, the other chueh sounded - the pitch of the two instruments was in perfect accord. Then he changed the tuning of one string so that it no longer corresponded to any of the five notes. When he plucked this string, it set all the twenty-five strings of the other instrument to jangling. But he was still using sounds to produce his effect; in this case it just happened to be the note that governs the other notes. Now is this the way it is in your case?"

Hui Tzu said, "The followers of Confucius, Mo, Yang, and Ping often engage with me in debate, each of us trying to overwhelm the others with phrases and to silence them with shouts - but so far they have never proved me wrong. So what do you make of that?"

Chuang Tzu said, "A man of Ch'i sold his own son into service in Sung, having dubbed him Gatekeeper and maimed him; but when he acquired any bells or chimes, he wrapped them up carefully to prevent breakage. Another man went looking for a lost son, but was unwilling to go any farther than the border in his search - there are men as mixed up as this, you know. Or like the man of Ch'u who had been maimed and sold into service as a gatekeeper and who, in the middle of the night, when no one else was around, picked a fight with the boatman. Though he didn't actually arouse any criticism, what he did was enough to create the grounds for a nasty grudge."

~ Burton Watson translation ~
One of the chief themes of this blog is Taoism/Daoism. But does this philosophic tradition best describe the Grand Mystery? It all depends on whom you ask!

One person will say yes, while the other says NO! Is one right right and the other wrong?

In my view, the answer cannot be determined because no one comprehends the Grand Mystery and, without that knowledge, any answer is nothing more than a guess.

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

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