Let me try explaining it. What the ordinary world calls 'a man of perfect wisdom is in fact someone who piles things up for the benefit of a great thief; what the ordinary world calls a perfect sage is in fact someone who stands guard for the benefit of a great thief. How do I know this is so? In times past, Kuan Lung-feng was cut down, Pi Kan was disemboweled, Ch'ang Hung was torn apart, and Wu Tzu-hsu was left to rot. All four were worthy men, and yet they could not escape destruction.No matter the amount of wisdom each of us gains throughout our lives, each one of us will not escape destruction -- death -- in the end. Whether a person is a beggar or a thief, a worthy person or a scoundrel, we leave this realm of existence in the same manner. So, how we choose to live our lives isn't about what might come next; it's about the kind of world we want to live in now.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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