Confucius was in trouble between Ch'en and Ts'ai, and for seven days he ate no cooked food. His left hand propped against a withered tree, his right beating time on a withered limb, he sang the air of the lord of Yen. The rapping of the limb provided an accompaniment, but it was without any fixed rhythm; there was melody, but none that fitted the usual tonal categories of kung or chueh. The drumming on the tree, the voice of the singer had a pathos to them that would strike a man's heart.Shit happens. It doesn't matter how each of us chooses to live. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. One of the great secrets of life is learning to roll with the punches!
Yen Hui, standing with hands folded respectfully across his chest, turned his eyes and looked inquiringly at Confucius. Confucius, fearful that Yen Hui's respect for him was too great, that his love for him was too tender, said to him, "Hui! It is easy to be indifferent to the afflictions of Heaven, but hard to be indifferent to the benefits of man. No beginning but has its end, and man and Heaven are one. Who is it, then, who sings this song now?"
Hui said, "May I venture to ask what you mean when you say it is easy to be indifferent to the afflictions of Heaven?"
Confucius said, "Hunger, thirst, cold, heat, barriers and blind alleys that will not let you pass - these are the workings of Heaven and earth, the shifts of ever-turning things. This is what is called traveling side by side with the others. He who serves as a minister does not dare to abandon his lord. And if he is thus faithful to the way of a true minister, how much more would he be if he were to attend upon Heaven!"
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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