Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bit by Bit - Chapter 25, Part 22

Trey Smith

Little Understanding said, "Chi Chen's contention that `nothing does it' and Chieh Tzu's contention that `something makes it like this' -- of the views of these two schools, which correctly describes the truth of the matter and which is one-sided in its understanding of principles?"

Great Impartial Accord said, "Chickens squawk, dogs bark - this is something men understand. But no matter how great their understanding, they cannot explain in words how the chicken and the dog have come to be what they are, nor can they imagine in their minds what they will become in the future. You may pick apart and analyze till you have reached what is so minute that it is without form, what is so large that it cannot be encompassed. But whether you say that `nothing does it' or that `something makes it like this,' you have not yet escaped from the realm of `things,' and so in the end you fall into error. If `something makes it like this,' then it is real; if `nothing does it,' then it is unreal. While there are names and realities, you are in the presence of things. When there are no names and realities, you exist in the absence of things. You can talk about it, you can think about it; but the more you talk about it, the farther away you get from it.

~ Burton Watson translation ~
Words are words, but they aren't reality. They are approximations of such (sometimes very inadequate ones). We understand through deep-seated experience and that truly is beyond words.

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

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