Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 20, Part 4

Trey Smith

I-liao from south of the Market called upon the marquis of Lu. The marquis had a very worried look on his face. "Why such a worried look?" asked the Master from south of the Market.

The marquis of Lu said, "I study the way of the former kings, I do my best to carry on the achievements of the former rulers, I respect the spirits, honor worthy men, draw close to them, follow their advice, and never for an instant leave their side. And yet I can't seem to avoid disaster. That's why I'm so worried."

The Master from south of the Market said, "Your technique for avoiding disaster is a very superficial one. The sleek-furred fox and the elegantly spotted leopard dwell in the mountain forest and crouch in the cliffside caves - such is their quietude. They go abroad by night but lurk at home by day - such is their caution. Though hunger, thirst, and hardship press them, they steal forth only one by one to seek food by the rivers and lakes - such is their forethought . And yet they can't seem to escape the disaster of nets and traps. Where is the blame? Their fur is their undoing. And this state of Lu-is it not your coat of fur? So I would ask you to strip away your form, rid yourself of this fur, wash clean your mind, be done with desire, and wander in the peopleless fields.

~ Burton Watson translation ~
Imagine copying down an award-winning cake recipe and following it to a T regardless of where you live. If you happen to live in a town at high altitude or a community in the Amazon rainforest and you don't make the necessary modifications based on the climatic conditions, the cake won't turn out as well as you anticipated.

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

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