The mind remains undetermined in the great Void. Here the highest knowledge is unbounded. That which gives things their thusness cannot be delimited by things. So when we speak of 'limits', we remain confined to limited things. The limit of the unlimited is called 'fullness.' The limitlessness of the limited is called 'emptiness.' Tao is the source of both. But it is itself neither fullness nor emptiness
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If the Tao could be served up, everyone would serve it up to their lords. If the Tao could be offered, there is no one who would not offer it to their parents. If the Tao could be spoken of, there is no one in the world who would not speak of it to their brothers and sisters. if the Tao could be passed on, there is no one who would not pass it on to their heirs. However, it obviously cannot be so and the reason is as follows. If there is no true centre within to receive it, it cannot remain;if there is no true direction outside to guide it,it cannot be received....
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As regards the quietude of the sage, he is not quiet because quietness is said to be good. He is quiet because the multitude of things cannot disturb his quietude. When water is still, one's beard and eyelashes are reflected in it. A skilled carpenter uses it in a level to obtain a measurement. If still water is so clear, how much more are the mental faculties! The mind of the sage is the mirror of heaven and earth in which all things are reflected.
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How do I know that loving life is not a delusion? How do I know that in hating death I am not like a man who, having left home in his youth, has forgotten the way back?...someday there will be a great awakening when we know that this is all a great dream. Yet the stupid believe that they are awake, busily and brightly assuming they understand things, calling this man ruler, and that man a herdsman- how dense!
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Who knows when the end is reached? Death may be the beginning of life. How do I know that love of life is not a delusion after all? How do I know that he who dreads to die is as a child who has lost the way and cannot find his way home? How do I know that the dead repent of having previously clung to life?
Tzu Li went to see Tzu Lai who was dying. Leaning against the door, he said, 'Great is the Creator! What will he make of you now? Will he make you into a rat's liver? Will he make you into an insect's leg?' Tzu-Lai replied, 'The universe gave me my body so I may be carried, my life so I may work, my old age so I may repose, and my death so I may rest. To regard life as good is the way to regard death as good. . . . If I regard the universe as a great furnace and creation as a master foundryman, why should anywhere I go not be all right?'
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Therefore, the truly great man, although he does not injure others, does not credit himself with charity and mercy (these are natural to him). He does not seek gain, but does not despise his followers who do. He struggles not for wealth, but does not take credit for leaving it alone... The ranks and emoluments of the world are to him no cause for joy, it's punishments and shame no cause for disgrace.
Sorrow and happiness are the heresies of virtue; joy and anger lead astray from TAO; love and hate cause loss of virtue. The heart unconscious of sorrow and happiness - that is perfect virtue. One, without change - that is perfect repose. Without any obstruction - that is the perfection of the unconditioned. Holding no relations with the external world, - that is perfection of the negative state. Without blemish of any kind, - that is the perfection of purity.
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When an archer is shooting for nothing, he has all his skill. If he shoots for a brass buckle, he is already nervous. If he shoots for a prize of gold, he goes blind or sees two targets - He is out of his mind! His skill has not changed. But the prize divides him. He cares. He thinks more of winning than of shooting- And the need to win drains him of power.
Those that think that wealth is the proper thing for them cannot give up their revenues; those that seek distinction cannot give up the thought of fame; those that cleave to power cannot give the handle of it to others. While they hold their grasp of those things, they are afraid of losing them. When they let them go, they are grieved and they will not look at a single example, from which they might perceive the folly of their restless pursuits - such men are under the doom of heaven.
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Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity. Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest. From the union of these two non-doings All actions proceed. All things are made. How vast, how invisible This coming-to-be! All things come from nowhere! How vast, how invisible No way to explain it! All beings in their perfection Are born of non-doing. Hence it is said: Heaven and earth do nothing Yet there is nothing they do not do. Where is the man who can attain To this non-doing?
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Heaven cannot but be high. Earth cannot but be broad. The sun and moon cannot but revolve. All creation cannot but flourish. To do so is their TAO. But it is not from extensive study that this may be known, nor by dialectical skill that his may be made clear. The true sage will have none of these.
People live their lives, constantly surrounded by anxiety. if they live long before dying, they end up in senility, worn out by concerns: a terrible fate! The body is treated in a very harsh fashion. Courageous men are seen by everyone under Heaven as worthy, but this doesn't preserve them from death. I am not sure I know whether this is sensible or not.
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There is a saying that Heaven is internal, humanity external and Virtue comes from the Heavenly. Know Heaven and humanity's actions, root yourself in Heaven and follow Virture.Then you can bend, stretch, rush forward or hold back, because you will always return to the core and it will be said you have achieved the supreme.
Goods and possessions are no gain in his eyes. He stays far from wealth and honor. Long life is no ground for joy, nor early death for sorrow. Success is not for him to be pround of, failure is no shame. Had he all the world's power he would not hold it as his own. If he conquered everything he would not take it to himself. His glory is in knowing that all things come together in One and life and death are equal.
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The baby looks at things all day without winking; that is because his eyes are not focused on any particular object. He goes without knowing where he is going, and stops without knowing what he is doing. He merges himself within the surroundings and moves along with it. These are the principles of mental hygiene.
All attempts to create something admirable are the weapons of evil. You may think you are practising benevolence and righteousness, but in effect you will be creating a kind of artificiality. Where a model exists, copies will be made of it; where success has been gained, boasting follows; where debate exists, there will be outbreaks of hostility.
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Master Dongguo asked Zhuangzi, "This thing called the Way - where does it exist?" Zhuangzi said, "There's no place it doesn't exist." "Come, " said Master Dongguo, "you must be more specific!" "It is in the ant." "As low a thing as that?" "It is in the panic grass." "But that's lower still!" "It is in the tiles and shards." "How can it be so low?" "It is in the piss and shit!
If a man crosses a river and an empty boat collides with his own skiff, Even though he be 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 someone is 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
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The True Man of ancient times knew nothing of loving life, knew nothing of hating death. He emerged without delight; he went back in without a fuss. He came briskly, he went briskly, and that was all. He didn't forget where he began; he didn't try to find out where he would end. He received something and took pleasure in it; he forgot about it and handed it back again.
Can you be a little baby? The baby howls all day, yet its throat never gets hoarse - harmony at its height! The baby makes fists all day, yet its fingers never get cramped - virtue is all it holds to. The baby stares all day without blinking its eyes - it has no preferences in the world of externals.
A child, obeying his father and mother, goes wherever he is told, east or west, south or north. And the yin and yang - how much more are they to a man than father or mother! Now that they have brought me to the verge of death, if I should refuse to obey them, how perverse I would be! What fault is it of theirs? The Great Clod burdens me with form, labors me with life, eases me in old age, and rests me in death. So if I think well of my life, for the same reason I must think well of my death. When a skilled smith is casting metal, if the metal should leap up and say, 'I insist upon being made into a Moye!' he would surely regard it as very inauspicious metal indeed. Now, having had the audacity to take on human form once, if I should say, 'I don't want to be anything but a man! Nothing but a man!', the Creator would surely regard me as a most inauspicious sort of person. So now I think of heaven and earth as a great furnace, and the Creator as a skilled smith. Where could he send me that would not be all right? I will go off to sleep peacefully, and then with a start I will wake up.
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A beam or pillar can be used to batter down a city wall, but it is no good for stopping up a little hole - this refers to a difference in function. Thoroughbreds like Qiji and Hualiu could gallop a thousand li in one day, but when it came to catching rats they were no match for the wildcat or the weasel - this refers to a difference in skill. The horned owl catches fleas at night and can spot the tip of a hair, but when daylight comes, no matter how wide it opens its eyes, it cannot see a mound or a hill - this refers to a difference in nature. Now do you say, that you are going to make Right your master and do away with Wrong, or make Order your master and do away with Disorder? If you do, then you have not understood the principle of heaven and earth or the nature of the ten thousand things. This is like saying that you are going to make Heaven your master and do away with Earth, or make Yin your master and do away with Yang. Obviously it is impossible.
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Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right, it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument. If so were really so, it would differ so clearly from not so that there would be no need for argument. Forget the years; forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!
Everything has its "that, " everything has its "this." From the point of view of "that" you cannot see it, but through understanding you can know it. So I say, "that" comes out of "this" and "this" depends on "that" - which is to say that "this" and "that" give birth to each other. But where there is birth there must be death; where there is death there must be birth. Where there is acceptability there must be unacceptability; where there is unacceptability there must be acceptability. Where there is recognition of right there must be recognition of wrong; where there is recognition of wrong there must be recognition of right. Therefore the sage does not proceed in such a way, but illuminates all in the light of Heaven. He too recognizes a "this, " but a "this" which is also "that, " a "that" which is also "this." His "that" has both a right and a wrong in it; his "this" too has both a right and a wrong in it. So, in fact, does he still have a "this" and "that"? Or does he in fact no longer have a "this" and "that"? A state in which "this" and "that" no longer find their opposites is called the hinge of the Way. When the hinge is fitted into the socket, it can respond endlessly. Its right then is a single endlessness and its wrong too is a single endlessness. So, I say, the best thing to use is clarity.
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Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.
It comes out from no source, it goes back in through no aperture. It has reality yet no place where it resides; it has duration yet no beginning or end. Something emerges, though through no aperture - this refers to the fact that it has reality. It has reality yet there is no place where it resides - this refers to the dimension of space. It has duration but no beginning or end - this refers to the dimension of time. There is life, there is death, there is a coming out, there is a going back in - yet in the coming out and going back its form is never seen. This is called the Heavenly Gate. The Heavenly Gate is nonbeing. The ten thousand things come forth from nonbeing. Being cannot create being out of being; inevitably it must come forth from nonbeing. Nonbeing is absolute nonbeing, and it is here that the sage hides himself.
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If a man, having lashed two hulls together, is crossing a river, and an empty boat happens along and bumps into him, no matter how hot-tempered the man may be, he will not get angry. But if there should be someone in the other boat, then he will shout out to haul this way or veer that. If his first shout is unheeded, he will shout again, and if that is not heard, he will shout a third time, this time with a torrent of curses following. In the first instance, he wasn't angry; now in the second he is. Earlier he faced emptiness, now he faces occupancy. If a man could succeed in making himself empty, and in that way wander through the world, then who could do him harm?
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Men of the world who value the Way all turn to books. But books are nothing more than words. Words have value; what is of value in words is meaning. Meaning has something it is pursuing, but the thing that it is pursuing cannot be put into words and handed down. The world values words and hands down books but, though the world values them, I do not think them worth valuing. What the world takes to be values is not real value.
Words are not just wind. Words have something to say. But if what they have to say is not fixed, then do they really say something? Or do they say nothing? People suppose that words are different from the peeps of baby birds, but is there any difference, or isn't there? What does the Way rely upon, that we have true and false? What do words rely upon, that we have right and wrong? How can the Way go away and not exist? How can words exist and not be acceptable? When the Way relies on little accomplishments and words reply on vain show, then we have rights and wrongs of the Confucians and the Mo-ists. What one calls right the other calls wrong; what one calls wrong the other calls right. But if we want to right their wrongs and wrong their rights, then the best to use is clarity.
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I've heard my teacher say, where there are machines, there are bound to be machine worries; where there are machine worries, there are bound to be machine hearts. With a machine heart in your breast, you've spoiled what was pure and simple; and without the pure and simple, the life of the spirit knows no rest.
He who knows he is a fool is not the biggest fool; he who knows he is confused is not in the worst confusion. The man in the worst confusion will end his life without ever getting straightened out; the biggest fool will end his life without ever seeing the light. If three men are traveling along and one is confused, they will still get where they are going - because confusion is in the minority. But if two of them are confused, then they can walk until they are exhausted and never get anywhere - because confusion is in the majority.
With all the confusion in the world these days, no matter how often I point the way, what good does it do? And if I know it does no good and still make myself do it, this too is a kind of confusion. So it is best to leave things alone and not force them. If I don't force things, at least I won't cause anyone any worry.
You forget your feet when the shoes are comfortable. You forget your waist when the belt is comfortable. Understanding forgets right and wrong when the mind is comfortable. There is no change in what is inside, no following what is outside, when the adjustment to events is comfortable. You begin with what is comfortable and never experience what is uncomfortable when you know the comfort of forgetting what is comfortable.
Life, death, preservation, loss, failure, success, poverty, riches, worthiness, unworthiness, slander, fame, hunger, thirst, cold, heat - these are the alternations of the world, the workings of fate. Day and night they change place before us, and wisdom cannot spy out their source. Therefore, they should not be enough to destroy your harmony; they should not be allowed to enter the storehouse of the spirit. If you can harmonize and delight in them, master them and never be at a loss for joy; if you can do this day and night without break and make it be spring with everything, mingling with all and creating the moment within your own mind - this is what I call being whole in power.
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Zhuangzi's wife died. When Huizu went to convey his condolences, he found Zhuangzi sitting with his legs sprawled out, pounding on a tub and singing. "You lived with her, she brought up your children and grew old, " said Huizu. "It should be enough simply not to weep at her death. But pounding on a tub and singing - this is going too far, isn't it?" Zhuangzi said, "You're wrong. When she first died, do you think I didn't grieve like anyone else? But I looked back to her beginning and the time before she was born. Not only the time before she was born, but the time before she had a body. Not only the time before she had a body, but the time before she had a spirit. In the midst of the jumble of wonder and mystery a change took place and she had a spirit. Another change and she had a body. Another change and she was born. Now there's been another change and she's dead. It's just like the progression of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter. "Now she's going to lie down peacefully in a vast room. If I were to follow after her bawling and sobbing, it would show that I don't understand anything about fate. So I stopped.
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When I speak of good hearing, I do not mean listening to others; I mean simply listening to yourself. When I speak of good eyesight, I do not mean looking at others; I mean simply looking at yourself. He who does not look at himself but looks at others, who does not get hold of himself but gets hold of others, is getting what other men have got and failing to get what he himself has got. He finds joy in what brings joy to other men, but finds no joy in what would bring joy to himself.
When you're betting for tiles in an archery contest, you shoot with skill. When you're betting for fancy belt buckles, you worry about your aim. And when you're betting for real gold, you're a nervous wreck. Your skill is the same in all three cases - but because one prize means more to you than another, you let outside considerations weigh on your mind. He who looks too hard at the outside gets clumsy on the inside.
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I have heard that he who knows what is enough will not let himself be entangled by thoughts of gain; that he who really understands how to find satisfaction will not be afraid of other kinds of loss; and that he who practices the cultivation of what is within him will not be ashamed because he holds no position in society.