As is a practice, I flipped through a book snapped from the shelf at random.
There was a metro ticket from a trip taken.
It fell before the start of this reading.
It fell at the end of the other reading included.
As an investigator of method, Tao, mysticism, I found it of interest. Surprise, right? Giggle.
A couple of extra quotes from different readings included below.
MEANS AND ENDS
The gate keeper in the capital city of Sung became such an expert mourner after his father’s death, and so emaciated himself with fasts and austerities, that he was promoted to high rank in order that he might serve as a model of ritual observance.
As a result of this, his imitators so deprived themselves that half of them died. The others were not promoted.
The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten.
The purpose of the rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.
The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu:
“All your teaching is centered on what has no use.”
“If you have no appreciation for what has no use
You cannot begin to talk about what can be used.
The earth, for example, is broad and vast
But of all this expanse a man uses only a few inches
Upon which he happens to be standing.
Now suppose you suddenly take away
All that he is not actually using
So that, all around his feet a gulf
Yawns, and he stands in the Void,
With nowhere solid except right under
How long will be he able to use what he is using?”
Hui Tzu said:
“It would cease to serve any purpose.”
Chuang Tzu concluded:
The absolute necessity
Of what has ‘no use.'”
The disciple got some supplies,
Traveled seven days and seven nights
And came to Lao Tzu.
Lao asked: “Do you come from Keng?”
“Yes,” replied the student.
“Who are all those people you have
brought with you?”
The disciple whirled around to look.
Nobody there. Panic!
Lao said: “Don’t you understand?”
The disciple hung his head. Confusion!
Then a sigh. “Alas, I have forgotten my
(More confusion!) “I have also forgotten
Lao said: “What are you trying to say?”
The disciple: “When I don’t know,
people treat me like a fool.
When I do know, the knowledge gets me in trouble.
When I fail to do good, I hurt others.
When I do good, I hurt myself.
If I avoid my duty, I am remise,
But if I do it, I am ruined.
How can I get out of these contradictions?
That is what I came to ask you.”
Lao Tzu said: You are trying to sound
The middle of the ocean
With a six foot pole…
You have got lost, and are trying
To find your way back
To your own true self.
You find nothing
But illegible signposts
Pointing in all directions…
If your obstructions
Are on the outside,
Do not attempt
To grasp them one by one
And thrust them away.
To ignore them.
If they are within yourself,
You cannot destroy them piecemeal,
But you can refuse
To let them take effect.
If they are both inside and outside,
Do not try
To hold on to Tao–
Just hope that Tao
Will keep hold of you.”
The disciple asked:
“Is this perfection?”
Lao replied: “Not at all. If you persist in trying
To attain what is never attained
(It is Tao’s gift!)
If you persist in reasonsing
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!”
Merton, Thomas. The Way of Chuang Tzu. Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston & London. 1992.
Copyright 1965 by the Abbey of Gethsemani