Section THIRTY-TWO - LIEH YU‑K'OU
LIEH YU‑K'OU WAS GOING to Ch'i, but halfway there he turned around and came home. By chance he met Po-hun Wu‑jen. "What made you turn around and come back?" asked Po‑hun Wu‑jen.
"I was scared."
"Why were you scared?"
"I stopped to eat at ten soup stalls along the way, and at five of them they served me soup ahead of everybody else!"
"What was so scary about that?" said Po‑hun Wu‑jen.
"If you can't dispel the sincerity inside you, it oozes1 out of the body and forms a radiance that, once outside, overpowers men's minds and makes them careless of how they treat their own superiors and old people. And it's from this kind of confusion that trouble comes. The soup sellers have nothing but their broths to peddle and their margin of gain can't be very large.2 If people with such skimpy profits and so little power still treat me like this, then what would it be like with the ruler of Ch'i, the lord of a state of ten thousand chariots? Body wearied by the burden of such a state, wisdom exhausted in its administration, he would want to shift his affairs onto me and make me work out some solution ‑ that was what scared me!"
"You sized it up very well," said Po‑hun Wu‑jen. "But even if you stay at home, people are going to flock around you."
Not long afterwards, Po‑hun Wu‑jen went to Lieh Tzu's house and found the area outside his door littered with shoes .3 He stood gazing north, staff held straight up, chin wrinkled where it rested on it. After standing there a while, he went away without a word. The servant in charge of receiving guests went in and reported this to Lieh Tzu. Lieh Tzu snatched up his shoes and ran barefoot after him, overtaking him at the gate. "Now that you've come all this way, don't you have any `medicine' to give me?”4
"It's no use. I told you from the beginning that people would come flocking around you, and here they are flocking around you. It's not that you're able to make them come to you ‑ it's that you're unable to keep them from coming. But what good is it to you? If you move other people and make them happy, you must be showing them something unusual in yourself. And if you move others, you invariably upset your own basic nature, in which case there's nothing more to be said. These men you wander around with ‑ none will give you any good advice. All they have are petty words, the kind that poison a man. No one understands, no one comprehends ‑ so who can give any help to anyone else? The clever man wears himself out, the wise man worries. But the man of no ability has nothing he seeks. He eats his fill and wanders idly about. Drifting like an unmoored boat, emptily and idly he wanders along."
There was a man from Cheng named Huan who, after three years of reciting and memorizing texts at a place called Ch'iu-shih, finally became a Confucian scholar. As the Yellow River spreads its moisture for nine li along its banks, so Huan's affluence spread to his three sets of relatives. He saw to it that his younger brother Ti became a Mo‑ist, and the Confucian and the Mo‑ist debated with each other, but their father always took sides with the younger brother. Ten years of this, and Huan committed suicide. Appearing to his father in a dream, he said, "It was I who made it possible for your son to become a Mo‑ist. Why don't you try taking a look at my grave ‑ I have become the berries on the catalpa and the cypress there!" 5
When the Creator rewards a man, he does not reward what is man‑made in the man but what is Heaven‑made. It was what was in the younger brother that made him a Mo‑ist. Yet there are those like Huan who think they are different from others and even despise their own kin. Like men from Ch'i drinking at a well, they try to elbow each other away.6 So it is said, In the world today, we have nothing but Huans ‑ they all think that they alone are right. But the man who truly possesses Virtue is not even aware of it, much less the man who possesses the Way. In ancient times it was said of men like Huan that they had committed the crime of hiding from Heaven.
The sage rests where there is rest and does not try to rest where there is no rest. The common run of men try to rest where there is no rest and do not rest where rest is to be found.
Chuang Tzu said, To know the Way is easy; to keep from speaking about it is hard. To know and not to speak ‑ this gets you to the Heavenly part. To know and to speak ‑ this gets you to the human part. Men in the old days looked out for the Heavenly, not the human.
Chu‑p’ing Man studied the art of butchering dragons under Crippled Yi. It cost him all the thousand pieces of gold he had in his house, and after three years he'd mastered the art, but there was no one who could use his services.
The sage looks at the inevitable and decides that it is not inevitable ‑ therefore he has no recourse to arms. The common man looks at what is not inevitable and decides that it is inevitable ‑ therefore he has frequent recourse to arms. He who turns to arms is always seeking something. He who trusts to arms is lost.
The understanding of the little man never gets beyond gifts and wrappings, letters and calling cards. He wastes his spirit on the shallow and trivial, and yet wants to be the savior of both the world and the Way, to blend both form and emptiness in the Great Unity. Such a man will blunder and go astray in time and space; his body entangled, he will never come to know the Great Beginning. But he who is a Perfect Man lets his spirit return to the Beginningless, to lie down in pleasant slumber in the Village of Not‑Anything‑At‑All; like water he flows through the Formless, or trickles forth from the Great Purity. How pitiful ‑ you whose understanding can be encompassed in a hair‑tip, who know nothing of the Great Tranquility!
A man of Sung, one Ts'ao Shang, was sent by the king of Sung as envoy to the state of Ch'in. On his departure, he was assigned no more than four or five carriages, but the king of Ch'in, greatly taken with him, bestowed on him an additional hundred carriages. When he returned to Sung, he went to see Chuang Tzu and said, "Living in poor alleyways and cramped lanes, skimping, starving, weaving one's own sandals, with withered neck and sallow face ‑ that sort of thing I'm no good at. But winning instant recognition from the ruler of a state of ten thousand chariots and returning with a hundred of them in one's retinue ‑ that's where I excel!"
Chuang Tzu said, "When the king of Ch'in falls ill, he calls for his doctors. The doctor who lances a boil or drains an abscess receives one carriage in payment, but the one who licks his piles for him gets five carriages. The lower down the area to be treated, the larger the number of carriages. From the large number of carriages you've got, I take it you must have been treating his piles. Get out!"
Duke AI of Lu said to Yen Ho, "If I were to make Confucius my pillar and stanchion, do you think it would improve the health of the state?"
"Beware ‑ that way lies danger! Confucius will deck things out in feathers and paint, and conduct his affairs with flowery phrases, mistaking side issues for the crux. He is willing to distort his inborn nature in order to make himself a model for the people, not even realizing that he is acting in bad faith. He takes everything to heart, submits all to the judgment of the spirit ‑ how could such a man be worth putting in charge of the people? Does he meet with your approval? Would you like to provide for his support? It would be a mistake, but you may do it if you like. Yet one who would induce the people to turn their backs on reality and study hypocrisy is hardly fit to be made a model for the people. If we are to take thought for later ages, it would be best to drop the scheme.
"Governing is a difficult thing. To dispense favors to men without ever forgetting that you are doing so ‑ this is not Heaven's way of giving. Even merchants and peddlers are unwilling to be ranked with such a person; and although their occupations may seem to rank them with him, in their hearts they will never acquiesce to such a ranking.7 External punishments are administered by implements of metal and wood; internal punishments are inflicted by frenzy and excess. When the petty man meets with external punishments, the implements of metal and wood bear down on him; when he incurs internal punishment, the yin and yang eat him up.8 To escape both external and internal punishment ‑ only the True Man is capable of this."
Confucius said, "The mind of man is more perilous than mountains or rivers, harder to understand than Heaven. Heaven at least has its fixed times of spring and fall, winter and summer, daybreak and dusk. But man is thick‑skinned and hides his true form deep within. Thus he may have an earnest face and yet be supercilious; he may seem to have superior qualities and yet be worthless. He may appear to be going about things in a scatter‑brained way and yet know exactly what he is doing. Seeming to be firm, he may in fact be lax; seeming to be mild, he may in fact be ruthless. Therefore those who flock to righteousness like thirsty men to water may later flee from it as though from fire.
"For this reason the gentleman will employ a man on a distant mission and observe his degree of loyalty, will employ him close at hand and observe his degree of respect. He will hand him troublesome affairs and observe how well he manages them, will suddenly ask his advice and observe how wisely he answers. He will exact some difficult promise from him and see how well he keeps it, turn over funds to him and see with what benevolence he dispenses them, inform him of the danger he is in and note how faithful he is to his duties. He will get him drunk with wine and observe how well he handles himself, place him in mixed company and see what effect beauty has upon him. By applying these nine tests, you may determine who is the unworthy man."
Cheng K'ao‑fu ‑ when he received his first appointment to office, he bowed his head; when he received his second appointment, he bent his back; when he received his third appointment, he hunched far over; hugging the wall, he scurried along.9 Who would dare to ignore his example? But the ordinary man ‑ on receiving his first appointment, he begins to strut; on receiving his second appointment, he does a dance in his carriage; on receiving his third appointment, he addresses his father's brothers by their personal names. What a difference from the ways of Yao and Hsu Yu!
There is no greater evil than for the mind to be aware of virtue, and to act as though it were a pair of eyes. For when it starts acting like a pair of eyes, it will peer out from within, and when it peers out from within, it is ruined. There are five types of dangerous virtue, of which inner virtue is the worst.10 What do I mean by inner virtue? He who possesses inner virtue will think himself always in the right, and denigrate those who do not do as he does. There are eight extremes that bring a man trouble, three conditions necessary for advancement, and six respositories of punishment.11 Beauty, a fine beard, a tall stature, brawn, strength, style, bravery, decisiveness ‑ when a man has all these to a degree that surpasses others, they will bring him trouble. Tagging along with things, bobbing and weaving, cringing and fawning ‑ if a man can do all three of these in a way that others do not, then he will succeed in advancing. Wisdom and knowledge, and the outward recognition they involve; bravery and decisiveness, and the numerous resentments they arouse; benevolence and righteousness, and all the responsibilities they involve ‑ these six are what will bring you punishment. 12 He who has mastered the true form of life is a giant; he who has mastered understanding is petty. He who has mastered the Great Fate follows along; he who has mastered the little fates must take what happens to come his way.13
There was a man who had an audience with the king of Sung and received from him a gift of ten carriages. With his ten carriages, he went bragging and strutting to Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu said, "There's a poor family down by the river who make their living by weaving articles out of mugwort. The son was diving in the deepest part of the river and came upon a pearl worth a thousand pieces of gold. His father said to him, `Bring a rock and smash it to bits! A pearl worth a thousand in gold could only have come from under the chin of the Black Dragon who lives at the bottom of the ninefold deeps. To be able to get the pearl, you must have happened along when he was asleep. If the Black Dragon had been awake, do you think there'd have been so much as a shred of you left?' Now the state of Sung is deeper than the ninefold deeps, and the king of Sung more truculent than the Black Dragon. In order to get these carriages, you must have happened along when he was asleep. If the king of Sung had been awake, you'd have ended up in little pieces!"
Someone sent gifts to Chuang Tzu with an invitation to office. Chuang Tzu replied to the messenger in these words: "Have you ever seen a sacrificial ox? They deck him out in embroidery and trimmings, gorge him on grass and beanstalks. But when at last they lead him off into the great ancestral temple, then, although he might wish he could become a lonely calf once more, is it possible?"
When Chuang Tzu was about to die, his disciples expressed a desire to give him a sumptuous burial. Chuang Tzu said, "I will have heaven and earth for my coffin and coffin shell, the sun and moon for my pair of jade discs, the stars and constellations for my pearls and beads, and the ten thousand things for my parting gifts. The furnishings for my funeral are already prepared ‑ what is there to add?"
"But we're afraid the crows and kites will eat you, Master!" said his disciples.
Chuang Tzu said, "Above ground I'll be eaten by crows and kites, below ground I'll be eaten by mole crickets and ants. Wouldn't it be rather bigoted to deprive one group in order to supply the other?
"If you use unfairness to achieve fairness, your fairness will be unfair. If you use a lack of proof to establish proofs, your proofs will be proofless. The bright‑eyed man is no more than the servant of things, but the man of spirit knows how to find real proofs. The bright‑eyed is no match for the man of spirit ‑ from long ago this has been the case. Yet the fool trusts to what he can see and immerses himself in the human. All his accomplishments are beside the point ‑ pitiful, isn't it!"