Alli (neugotik) wrote,

I got this is the mail from Mom today, it cheered me up some, so I want to share it. She said Pete had recommended it to a friend:

A selection from Thomas Merton's The Way of Chuang Tzu


The autumn floods had come. Thousands of wild torrents poured furiously into the Yellow River. It surged and flooded its banks until, looking across, you could not tell an ox from a horse on the other side. Then the River God laughed, delighted to think that all the beauty in the world had fallen into his keeping. So downstream he swung, until he came to the Ocean. There he looked out over the waves, toward the empty horizon in the east and his face fell. Gazing out at the far horizon he came to his senses and murmured to the Ocean God: "Well, the proverb is right. He who has got himself a hundred ideas thinks he knows more than anybody else. Such a one am I. Only now do I see what they mean by EXPANSE!"

. . . . .
The Ocean God replied:
"Can you talk about the sea
To a frog in a well?
Can you talk about ice
To dragonflies?
Can you talk about the way of Life
To doctor of philosophy?

"Of all the waters in the world
The Ocean is greatest.
All the rivers pour into it
Day and night;

It is never filled.
It gives back its waters
Day and night;

It is never emptied.
In dry seasons
It is not lowered.
In floodtime
It does not rise.
Greater than all other waters!
There is no measure to tell
How much greater!
But am I proud of it?
What am I under heaven?
What am I without Yang and Yin?
compared with the sky
I am a little rock,
A scrub oak
On the mountain side:
Shall I act
As if I were something?"

Of all the beings that exist (and there are millions), man is only one. Among all the millions of men that live on earth, the civilized people that live by farming are only a small proportion. Smaller still the number of those who having office or fortune, travel by carriage or by boat. And of all these, one man in his carriage is nothing more than the tip of a hair on a horse's flank. Why, then, all the fuss about great men and great offices? Why all the disputations of scholars? Why all the wrangling of politicians?

There are not fixed limits
Time does not stand still.
Nothing endures,
Nothing is final.

You cannot lay hold
Of the end or the beginning.
He who is wise sees near and far
As the same,
Does not despise the small
Or value the great:
Where all standards differ
How can you compare?
With one glance
He takes in past and present,
Without sorrow for the past
Or impatience with the present.
All is in movement.
He has experience
Of fullness and emptiness.
He does not rejoice in success
Or lament in failure
The game is never over
Birth and death are even
The terms are not final.

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