"Fame is a public weapon - don't reach for it too often. Benevolence and righteousness are the grass huts of the former kings; you may stop in them for one night but you mustn't tarry there for long. A lengthy stay would invite many reproaches. The Perfect Man of ancient times used benevolence as a path to be borrowed, righteousness as a lodge to take shelter in. He wandered in the free and easy wastes, ate in the plain and simple fields, and strolled in the garden of no bestowal. Free and easy, he rested in inaction; plain and simple, it was not hard for him to live; bestowing nothing, he did not have to hand things out. The men of old called this the wandering of the Truth-picker.Fame is a double-edged sword. While a person could utilize their fame to help others or to model a sagacious lifestyle, I think either would be quite difficult, though no impossible. Why? Because fame has a great propensity for skewing a person's perspective. When any of us is continually lauded, it becomes hard not to believe your own press clippings!
~ Burton Watson translation ~
To view the Index page for this series, go here.