Saturday, March 21, 2009

Being humble

(because we all could use a little Tao)


Being humble

If a man is crossing a river and an empty boat collides with his own skiff,
even though he be a bad-tempered man he will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat, he will shout at him to steer clear.
If the shout is not heard, he will shout again, and yet again, and begin cursing.
And all because there is somebody in the boat.
Yet if the boat were empty, he would not be shouting, and not angry.

If you can empty your own boat crossing the river of the world,
no one will oppose you, no one will seek to harm you....

Who can free himself from achievement, and from fame, descend and be lost amid the masses of men?
He will flow like Tao, unseen, he will go about like Life itself with no name and no home.
Simple is he, without distinction. To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace. He has no power. He achieves nothing, has no reputation.

Since he judges no one, no one judges him.
Such is the perfect man:
His boat is empty.
(20:2, 4, pp. 168-171)

Chuang Tzu


Chuang Tzu was a Taoist sage, living sometime before 250 B.C. The book Chuang Tzu is believed to contain both his own writings and writings by others about him and his teachings. The quotations at this site were taken from The Way of Chuang Tzu, which was compiled by Thomas Merton (a Roman Catholic monk) after reading four different translations of Chuang Tzu. It is an abridged version of Chuang Tzu. As Thomas Merton says in his introductory note, you enter upon the way of Chuang Tzu when you leave all ways and get lost.

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