Sign in to follow this  

Mair 11:5

Recommended Posts

Cloud General was wandering in the east when he passed by an offshoot of a whirlwind and happened to meet with Vast Obscurity.  Vast Obscurity was just at that moment enjoying himself by slapping his thighs and hopping about like a sparrow.  Seeing him, Cloud General came to a sudden halt and stood there reverentially.  "Who are you, old man?" he asked.  "Why are you doing this?"

"I'm playing," replied Vast Obscurity to Cloud General as he kept on slapping his thighs and hopping like a sparrow.

"I would like to ask you a question," said Cloud General.

"Pshaw!" said Vast Obscurity as he looked up and saw Cloud General.

"The vital breath of heaven is in disharmony," said Cloud General.  "The vital breath of earth is in disarray.  The six vital breaths of transformation are in discord.  The four seasons are out of rhythm.  Now I would like to blend the essence of the vital breaths to foster all living beings.  How shall I  do this?"

Cloud General was unable to ask any more questions.  Three  years later, when he was again wandering in the east, Cloud General was passing by the wilds of Sung when he happened to meet Vast Obscurity.  Cloud General was greatly pleased and rushed forward to him, saying, "Have you forgotten me, oh heaven?  Oh heaven, have you forgotten me?"  Bowing twice, Cloud General kowtowed to show his willingness to listen to Vast Obscurity.  Vast Obscurity said,

"Wandering randomly,
I know not what I seek.
In my madness,
I know not where I go.
The wanderer, in his perplexity,
Observes the unexpected.
What more should I know?"

"I, too, consider myself mad," said Cloud General, "but the people follow me wherever I go.  I have no choice but to be involved with the people, and now they emulate me.  I would like a word of advice.  Vast Obscurity said,

"Whatever disorders the warp of heaven
Or goes against the circumstances of things,
Dark heaven will not bring it to completion.
Animal herds will be dispersed,
Birds will all begin to sing at night;
Disaster will strike grasses and trees,
Calamity will afflict reptiles and insects.
Ah!  This is the error of governing men."

"Well, then,"asked Cloud General, "what should I do?"

"Ah!" said Vast Obscurity.  "Sheer perversity!  Just return in transcendence."

"It has been hard for me to meet you, oh heaven," said Cloud General.  "I would like one more word of advice."

"Ah!" said Vast Obscurity.

"Nourish your mind.
Merely situate yourself in nonaction,
And things will evolve of themselves.

Slough off your bodily form,
Dim your intelligence.
Forget all relationships and things;
Join in the great commonality of boundlessness.

Release your mind,
Free your spirit;
Be impassively soulless.
The myriad things abound,
Yet each returns to its roots.

Each returns to its roots
Without being aware that it is doing so.

In a state of turbid chaos,
They do not leave it their whole life.
If they are aware of their return,
That means they have left it.

Do not ask its name;
Do not spy out its characteristics.
Things will assuredly come to life by themselves."

Cloud General said,

"Heaven, you have conferred your integrity upon me,
And have revealed to me its mystery;
Humbly and in person have I sought this teaching,
And today I have obtained it."

Bowing twice, he kowtowed, then arose and, saying goodbye, went away.
  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

My favourite part of the whole book. In a nutshell, Vast Obscurity schooling Cloud General in the Way.


V.O seems quite put out by being interrupted which is nice and comedic.


Any other thoughts on this?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this