The bait is the means to get the fish where you want it, catch the fish and you forget the bait. The snare is the means to get the rabbit where you want it, catch the rabbit and forget the snare. Words are the means to get the idea where you want it, catch on to the idea and you forget about the words. Where shall I find a man who forgets about words, and have a word with him?
The sage is still not because he takes stillness to be good and therefore is still. The ten thousand things are insufficient to distract his mind -- that is the reason he is still.
Being is thoughtless-beyond and beneath all categories of thought. Expression is the realization of creative thought. Being is still; expression, moving. But then if I do not strive, who will?
The non-action of the wise man is not inaction. It is not studied. It is not shaken by anything. The sage is quiet because he is not moved, not because he wills to be quiet... Joy does all things without concern. For emptiness, stillness, tranquillity, tastelessness, silence, and non-action are the root of all things.
We possess our body by chance and we are already pleased with it. If our physical bodies went through ten thousand transformations without end, how incomparable would this joy be! Therefore the sage roams freely in the realm in which nothing can escape, but all endures.
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.
One whose inner being is fixed upon such greatness emits a Heavenly glow. Even though he has this Heavenly glow, others will see him as just a man. Someone who has reached this point will begin to be consistent.
We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.
To be constant is to be useful. To be useful is to realize one's true nature. Realization of one's true nature is happiness. When one reaches happiness, one is close to perfection.
Eyes that are blind have no way to tell the loveliness of faces and features; eyes with no pupils have no way to tell the beauty of colored and embroidered silks.
The perfect man of old looked after himself first before looking to help others.
A good completion takes a long time; a bad completion cannot be changed later.
Let your mind wander in simplicity, blend your spirit with the vastness, follow along with things the way they are, and make no room for personal views -- then the world will be governed.
He who steals a belt buckle pays with his life; he who steals a state gets to be a feudal lord.
Paraphrased: When Chuang Tzu was about to die, his disciples began planning a splendid funeral. However some disciples expressed concern that given a particular arrangement, birds and kites would eat his remains. Chuang Tzu replied, "Well, above ground I shall be eaten by crows and kites, below it by ants and worms. What do you have against birds?
So it is said, for him who understands Heavenly joy, life is the working of Heaven; death is the transformation of things. In stillness, he and the yin share a single Virtue; in motion, he and the yang share a single flow.
Once Chuang Chou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Chuang Chou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakeable Chuang Chou. But he didn't know if he was Chuang Chou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou.
A petty thief is put in jail. A great brigand becomes a ruler of a Nation.
When the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten. When the belt fits, the belly is forgotten. When the heart is right, "for" and "against" are forgotten. No drives, no compulsions, no needs, no attractions: Then your affairs are under control. You are a free man.
When the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten; when the belt fits, the belly is forgotten; when the heart is right, "for" and "against" are forgotten. There is no change in what is inside, no following what is outside, when the adjustment to events is comfortable. One begins with what is comfortable and never experiences what is uncomfortable, when one knows the comfort of forgetting what is comfortable.
To use what has a boundary to pursue what is limitless is dangerous; with this knowledge, if we still go after knowledge, we will run into trouble. Do not do what is good in order to gain praise. If you do what is bad be sure to avoid the punishment. Follow the Middle Course, for this is the way to keep yourself together, to sustain your life, to care for your parents and to live for many years.
Those who count things are not worthy of assisting the people.
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?
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?
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!
If you'd called me an ox, I'd have said I was an ox; if you'd called me a horse, I'd have said I was a horse. If the reality is there and you refuse to accept the name men give it, you'll only lay yourself open to double harassment.
There may be difficulty at the moment, but I will not lose the Virtue that I possess. It is when the ice and snow are on them that we see the strength of the cypress and the pine. I am grateful for this trouble around me, because it gives me an opportunity to realize how fortunate I am.
Life is finite, While knowledge is infinite.
Am I a human dreaming I am a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming I am a human?
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.
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?
The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror.
Love of colors bewilders the eye and it fails to see right. Love of harmonies bewitches the ear, and it loses its true hearing. Love of perfumes fills the head with dizziness. Love of flavors ruins the taste. Desires unsettle the heart until the original nature runs amok. These five are enemies of true life. Yet these are what men of discernment claim to live for. They are not what I live for. If this is life, then pigeons in a cage have found happiness!
You will always find an answer in the sound of water.
In a river mist, if another boat knocks against yours, you might yell at the other fellow to stay clear. But if you notice then, that it's an empty boat, adrift with nobody aboard, you stop yelling. When you discover that all the others are drifting boats, there's no one to yell at. And when you find out you are an empty boat, there's no one to yell.
The Tao has no place for pettiness, and nor has Virtue. Pettiness is dangerous to Virtue; pettiness is dangerous to the Tao. It is said, rectify yourself and be done.
By ethical argument and moral principle the greatest crimes are eventually shown to have been necessary, and, in fact, a signal benefit to mankind.
To have a human form is a joyful thing.
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.
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.
The Spirit Tower has its guardian, but unless it understands who its guardian is, it cannot be guarded.
Luck implies an absolute absence of any principle.
Tao is obscured when men understand only one pair of opposites, or concentrate only on a partial aspect of being. Then clear expression also becomes muddled by mere wordplay, affirming this one aspect and denying all the rest. The pivot of Tao passes through the center where all affirmations and denials converge. He who grasps the pivot is at the still-point from which all movements and oppositions can be seen in their right relationship... Abandoning all thought of imposing a limit or taking sides, he rests in direct intuition.
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.
To regard the fundamental as the essence, to regard things as coarse, to regard accumulation as deficiency, and to dwell quietly alone with the spiritual and the intelligent -- herein lie the techniques of Tao of the ancients.
Great knowledge sees all in one. Small knowledge breaks down into the many.
All existing things are really one. We regard those that are beautiful and rare as valuable, and those that are ugly as foul and rotten. The foul and rotten may come to be transformed into what is rare and valuable, and the rare and valuable into what is foul and rotten.
Can a man cling to the positive without any negative in contrast to which it is seen to be positive? If he claims to do so he is a rouge or a madman.
If you wish to care for your body, first of all take care of material things, though even when you have all the things you want, the body can still be uncared for.
Yet the stupid believe they are awake, busily and brightly assuming they understand things, calling this man ruler, that one herdsman -- how dense! Confucius and you are both dreaming! And when I say you are dreaming, I am dreaming, too. Words like these will be labeled the Supreme Swindle.
Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.
Easy is right. Begin right and you are easy. Continue easy and you are right. The right way to go easy is to forget the right way, and forget that the going is easy.
Running around accusing others is not as good as laughing. And enjoying a good laugh is not as good as going along with things.
The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of the word is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words, so I can have a few words with him?
Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it.
Let everything be allowed to do what it naturally does, so that its nature will be satisfied.
Men of this world all rejoice in others being like themselves, and object to others not being like themselves.
When an archer shoots for enjoyment, he has all his skill; when he shoots for a brass buckle, he gets nervous; when he shoots for a prize of gold, he begins to see two targets.
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.
To use a finger as a metaphor for the nonfingerness of a finger is not as good as using nonfingerness as a metaphor for the nonfingerness of a finger.
The space under the sky is occupied by all things in their unity.
When I look at what the world does and where people nowadays believe they can find happiness, I am not sure that that is true happiness. The happiness of these ordinary people seems to consist in slavishly imitating the majority, as if this were their only choice. And yet they all believe they are happy. I cannot decide whether that is happiness or not. Is there such a thing as happiness?
Forget about life, forget about worrying about right and wrong. Plunge into the unknown and the endless and find your place there!
I cannot tell if what the world considers ‘happiness' is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness.
Those who follow the Tao are of clear mind. They do not load their mind with anxieties and are flexible in their adjustment to external conditions.
When he tries to extend his power over objects, those objects gain control of him. He who is controlled by objects loses possession of his inner self... Prisoners in the world of object, they have no choice but to submit to the demands of matter! They are pressed down and crushed by external forces: fashion, the market, events, public opinion. Never in a whole lifetime do they recover their right mind!... What a pity!
When there is no more separation between 'this' and 'that,' it is called the still-point of the Tao. At the still point in the center of the circle one can see the infinite in all things.
He who pursues fame at the risk of losing his self is not a scholar.
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.
Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home.
Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!
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.
The Tao is in all things, in their divisions and their fullness. What I dislike about divisions is that they multiply, and what i dislike about multiplication is that it makes people want to hold fast to it. So people go out and forget to return, seeing little more than ghosts.
In an archery contest, when the stakes are earthenware tiles a contestant shoots with skill. When the stakes are belt buckles he becomes hesitant, and if the stakes are pure gold he becomes nervous and confused. There is no difference as to his skil.
Perfect happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
The sound of water says what I think.
A fish-trap is for catching fish; once you've caught the fish, you can forget about the trap. A rabbit-snare is for catching rabbits; once you've caught the rabbit, you can forget about the snare. Words are for catching ideas; once you've caught the idea, you can forget about the words. Where can I find a person who knows how to forget about words so that I can have a few words with them?
My most interesting memory is of my first real dream. I was a caterpillar, wriggling around in the earth, just the way a caterpillar would. Following my caterpillar whims, completely unaware of anyone.
The sage embraces things. Ordinary men discriminate amongst them and parade their discriminations before others. So I say; those who discriminate, fail to see.
For all people strive to grasp what they do not know, while none strive to grasp what they already know; and all strive to discredit what they do not excel in, while none strive to discredit what they do excel in. This is why there is chaos.
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.
If we look on heaven and earth as a single crucible, and on the creator as the founder, would there be any place I could not go? When it is time, I will fall asleep, and when the right time comes, I will wake up again.
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?'
Not to understand is profound; to understand is shallow. Not to understand is to be on the inside; to understand is to be on the outside.
The World is Large -- Its beauty indescrible.
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.
The love of a Sage for his fellows likewise finds expression amongst mankind. Were he not told sop, he would not know that he loved his fellows. But whether he knows it or whether he does not know it, whether he hears it or whether he does not hear it, his love for his is without end, and mankind cease not to repose therein.
I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?
All that is limited by form, semblance, sound, color is called object. Among them all, man alone is more than an object. Though, like objects, he has form and semblance, He is not limited to form. He is more. He can attain to formlessness. When he is beyond form and semblance, beyond "this" and "that," where is the comparison with another object? Where is the conflict? What can stand in his way? He will rest in his eternal place which is no-place. He will be hidden in his own unfathomable secret. His nature sinks to its root in the One. His vitality, his power hide in secret Tao.
The saying goes, 'The sage rests, truly rests and is at ease.' This manifests itself in calmness and detachment, so that worries and distress cannot affect him, nothing unpleasant can disturb him, his Virtue is complete and his spirit is not stirred up.
Great knowledge is universal. Small knowledge is limited. Great words are inspiring. Small words are chatter.
If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind.
If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.
There are no greater adversaries than yin and yang, because nothing in Heaven or on Earth escapes them. But it is not yin and yang that do this, it is your heart that makes it so.
The ultimate happiness is doing nothing.
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.
The eye is a menace to clear sight, the ear is a menace to subtle hearing, the mind is a menace to wisdom, every organ of the senses is a menace to its own capacity.
Do not struggle. Go with the flow of things, and you will find yourself at one with the mysterious unity of the Universe.
The Way is to man as rivers and lakes are to fish, the natural condition of life.
Do not use life to give life to death. Do not use death to bring death to life.
We are born from a quiet sleep, and we die to a calm awakening.
If you persist in trying to attain what is never attained (It is Tao's gift), if you persist in making effort to obtain what effort cannot get, if you persist in reasoning about what cannot be understood, you will be destroyed by the very thing you seek. To know when to stop, to know when you can get no further by your own action, this is the right beginning!
The torch of doubt and chaos, this is what the sage steers by.
He who does his work like a machine grows a heart like a machine and he who carries the heart of a machine in his breast loses his simplicity. He who has lost his simplicity becomes unsure in the strivings of his soul.
Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious.
Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous.
My description of wisdom has nothing to do with benevolence and righteousness, it is to do with being wise in one's own virtue, nothing more. My description of being has nothing to do with benevolence and righteousness, it is that one should be led by one's innate nature, nothing more.
Only he who has no use for the empire is fit to be entrusted with it.
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.
The hidden so-called scholars of old did not hide themselves and refuse to be seen. They did not close the door on their words and refuse to let them out. They did not shut away their wisdom and refuse to share it. But those times were all haywire. If it had been possible for them to act, they could have done great things, bringing all to Oneness without any sign of doing so. However, the times were not favorable and it was not possible, so they put down deep roots, remained still and waited. this was the Tao by which they survived.
Listening stops with the ears, the mind stops with recognition, but spirit is empty and waits on all things.
To be truly ignorant, be content with your own knowledge.
All men know the utility of useful things; but they do not know the utility of futility.
Things joined by profit, when pressed by misfortune and danger, will cast each other aside.
If there is existence, there must be non-existence. And if there was a time when nothing existed, there must have been a time before that -- when even nothing did not exist. Suddenly, when nothing came into existence, could one really say whether it belonged to the category of existence or non-existence?
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.
The true man breathes with his heels.
The one-legged creature is envious of the millipede; the millipede is envious of the snake; the snake is envious of the wind; the wind is envious of the eye; the eye is envious of the heart.
Man may rest in the eternal fitness; he may abide in the everlasting; and roam from the beginning to the end of all creation. He may bring his nature to a condition of ONE, he may nourish his strength; he may harmonise his virtue, and so put himself into partnership with God.
Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course.
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.
A sage steers by the bright light of confusion and doubt.
You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless.
Moreover, I have heard that those who are fond of praising men to their faces are also fond of damning them behind their backs.