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The Zhuangzi, Laozi, Kongzi, Mengzi, etc discussion thread
Posted by: Gilgamesh (IP Logged)
Date: December 21, 2008 12:26PM
Yes, this thread is all about posting and discussing the great work of the masters themselves, from stories to poems, sayings to analects post them and discuss them all?

here is a famous story from the Zhuang Zi(complete works of ZhuangZi)

The Wheelmaker

One day, King Huan was reading a book while an old craftsman was busy making wheels over in a corner. The old man noticed that the book seemed to capture the King's complete attention. He grew increasingly curious about this, and after a while decided to approach.

"Your Majesty, forgive me for intruding," the old man said. "What is this book that you are studying so diligently?"

"This is no ordinary book," the King said, holding it up with great respect. "It is written by a wise sage."

The old man asked: "Is this sage still alive, Your Majesty?"

The King shook his head. "No, he passed away a long time ago."

"Oh, I see," the old man nodded. Then, without thinking, he added: "In that case, what Your Majesty is reading would simply be the leftovers of a dead man."

This struck the King as incredibly insulting. "What is this?" His anger flared. "You are nothing more than a lowly craftsman. Is it your place to comment on what I wish to read? Explain the reasoning of your statement and I may let you live. If you fail to do so, I shall have your head."

The old man replied: "Your Majesty, it is exactly as you say: I am but a humble craftsman. I know nothing except the art of making wheels. Permit me to explain myself to you using this little bit of knowledge that I have."

This response surprised the King. To him, making wheels and reading books could not be further apart. Had the old man lost his mind due to fear? King Huan was puzzled, but his interest was piqued. "Go on," he said.

"Your Majesty, in my line of work, the hole in the center is of supreme importance. It must fit the axle just right. If I make it too big, the wheel will slip right off and become useless. If it is only slightly too big, then the wheel will seem to stay on, but after a short while of actual usage on the roads, it will loosen and fall off the axle, quite possibly causing great damage to the carriage in the process.

"On the other hand, it is also possible to make the hole too small. In that case, when I force the axle into it, I may very well split the wheel in two, thus wasting hours of effort. If it is only slightly too small, then it may appear to be a secure fit, but after a short while of actual usage, the wheel will crack and break apart, again causing possible harm to the carriage and even the passengers within.

"Therefore, one secret of my trade is to know the right way to make the hole. But making the hole just right, not too big and not too small, requires years of non-stop practice. This experience gives me a feeling that guides my hand. It is a feeling I have learned to trust, for it is never wrong.

"The other secret of my trade has to do with the roundness of the wheel. If I chisel away at the wheel too quickly, I may be able to complete the work in a short time, but the wheel won't be perfectly round. Even though it may look quite acceptable upon casual inspection, in actual usage it will cause excessive shaking of the carriage. The ride will be extremely uncomfortable, and the wheel will damage itself beyond repair in a matter of days.

"Of course, I can chisel slowly and carefully. This guarantees a perfectly round wheel, but it will also take so much time to complete that Your Majesty would have to wait many years before we can assemble the royal fleet of carriages. Clearly, this would not be acceptable.

"In order to create the best wheels possible in a timely manner, I must chisel at just the right speed - not too fast and not too slow. This speed is also guided by a feeling, which again can only be acquired through many years of experience. With this feeling, I can be perfectly composed and unhurried when I make my wheels, but still complete the project on time.

"I can teach the mechanics of wheel making to anyone. It is easy to create something that looks like a wheel, but quite difficult to make wheels that are durable, safe, and provide a smooth ride. I can explain all of this to my son, but it is impossible for me to give him the feeling that is at the heart of the wheel making art. He must gain that on his own. This is why I am seventy years old and still making wheels.

"Your Majesty, the ancient sages possessed the feelings that were at the heart of their mastery. Using words, they could set down the mechanics of their mastery in the form of books, but just as it is impossible for me to pass on my experience to anyone else, it is equally impossible for them to transmit their essence of wisdom to you. Their feelings died when they passed away. The only things they left behind were their words. This is why I said Your Majesty was reading the leftovers of a dead man."

King Huan was stunned and speechless. Slowly, he lowered his hand and set the book down.

this is from Laozi:

The best of man is like water, Which benefits all things, and does not contend with them, Which flows in places that others disdain, Where it is in harmony with the Way. So the sage: Lives within nature, Thinks within the deep, Gives within impartiality, Speaks within trust, Governs within order, Crafts within ability, Acts within opportunity. He does not contend, and none contend against him.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2008 08:21PM by Olive.

Re: The Zhuangzi, Laozi, Kongzi, Mengzi, etc discussion thread
Posted by: Ajin728 (IP Logged)
Date: July 28, 2009 09:34PM


I think translate 桓公 to Seignior Huan,should be more properly.

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