The man who has had his feet cut off in punishment discards his fancy clothes - because praise and blame no longer touch him. The chained convict climbs the highest peak without fear - because he has abandoned all thought of life and death. These two are submissive and unashamed because they have forgotten other men, and by forgetting other men they have become men of Heaven. Therefore you may treat such men with respect and they will not be pleased; you may treat them with contumely and they will not be angry. Only because they are one with the Heavenly Harmony can then be like this.Me thinks this author never met a convict! His description doesn't match up with any convicts I have known and, as a former child abuse and mitigation investigator, I have known quite a few. The convicts I have known are motivated by praise and blame just like anyone else. They also think about life and death a lot, maybe even more so than the rest of us.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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