Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 25, Part 15

Trey Smith

Ch'u Po-yu has been going along for sixty years and has changed sixty times. There was not a single instance in which what he called right in the beginning he did not in the end reject and call wrong. So now there's no telling whether what he calls right at the moment is not in fact what he called wrong during the past fifty-nine years. The ten thousand things have their life, yet no one sees its roots; they have their comings forth, yet no one sees the gate. Men all pay homage to what understanding understands, but no one understands enough to rely upon what understanding does not understand and thereby come to understand. Can we call this anything but great perplexity? Let it be, let it be! There is no place you can escape it. This is what is called saying both "that is so" and "is that so?"
~ Burton Watson translation ~
For most of us, right and wrong are conditional. They are conditioned by what our egos desire. If we really, really want something, we can invent all sorts of rationalizations to convince ourselves that it is "right" and "proper".

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

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