Marblehead

Mair 19:2

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Sir Master Lieh inquired of Yin, {{According to Taoist legend, this is the individual for whom Lao Tzu was said to have written down the Tao Te Ching before he went out through the pass guarding the central heartland of China and ultimately traveled to India.}} the Director of the Pass, {{A gateway, usually fortified, controlling a vital passageway.  See also Yin under Names above.}} saying, "The ultimate man can walk under water without drowning, can tread upon fire {{As in Chapters 2, 6, and elsewhere in the Chuang Tzu, the Taoist adept is once again portrayed with the same superhuman abilities cultivated by some Indian yogis and fakirs.}} without feeling hot, and can soar above the myriad things without fear.  May I ask how he achieves this?"

"It's because he guards the purity of his vital breath;" {{Also the primary concern of the Yogin who preserves his prana ("vital breath").}} said Director Yin, "it's not a demonstration of his expertise or daring.  Sit down, and I will tell you.

"Whatever has features, images, sound, and color is a thing.  How, then, can one thing be distanced from another?  And are there sufficient grounds for giving some precedence over others?  They are merely forms and color, that is all.  But a thing that is created from formlessness may end in nonevolution.  How could other things impede someone who attains this in the highest degree?  She will dwell in nonexcessiveness, hide in noncausability, and wander where the myriad things have their beginnings and ends.  She will unify her nature, nurture her vital breath, and consolidate her integrity so as to communicate with that which creates things.  Being like this, she will preserve the wholeness of her heavenly qualities and her spirituality will be flawless, so how could things enter and affect her?

"If a drunk falls from a carriage, even if it is going very fast, he will not die.  His bones and joints are the same as those of other people, but the injuries he receives are different.  It's because his spirit is whole.  He was not aware of getting into the carriage, nor was he aware of falling out of it.  Life and death, alarm and fear do not enter his breast.  Therefore, he confronts things without apprehension.  If someone who has gotten his wholeness from wine is like this, how much more so would one be who gets his wholeness from heaven!  The sage hides within his heavenly qualities, thus nothing can harm him."  {{"He who seeks revenge does not break the sword of his enemy and even an irascible person does not bear a grudge against a tile that falls on him.  By this means, all under heaven might attain equilibrium.  Thus, by following this way, there would be no disorder caused by attacks and battles, no punishments of death and slaughter.  Do not develop what is natural to man, But develop what is natural to heaven.  By developing what pertains to heaven, virtue is produced.  By developing what pertains to man, thievery is produced.  By not wearying of heaven And not overlooking man, The people will be brought close to the truth."}}
 
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Posted (edited)
On 8/19/2018 at 8:05 AM, Marblehead said:

She will unify her nature, nurture her vital breath, and consolidate her integrity so as to communicate with that which creates things.  Being like this, she will preserve the wholeness of her heavenly qualities and her spirituality will be flawless, so how could things enter and affect her?

 

To me, this was the key passage. I assume this translation is from Mair, since you mentioned this is what you are currently reading. Sometimes I have difficulty with Mair, this is one of those times. I had to return to Watson to appreciate this.

 

[He may] unify his nature, nourish his breath, unite his virtue, and thereby communicate with that which creates all things. A man like this guards what belongs to Heaven and keeps it whole. His spirit has no flaw, so how can things enter in and get at him.

 

The lesson I have always drawn from this is that one should conduct oneself so as not to become entangled in the petty problems of social interaction; rising above such concerns allows one not to be drawn in and distracted from what is really important. 

 

 

Edited by OldDog
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Yes, this entire series is Mair's translation.  Others may present translations from others for comparison but each initial post for each section will always be Mair.

 

And I agree, sometimes Watson's translation is more easily understood.

 

And yes, here we are talking about our "wu" (spiritual) state and keeping our "yu" (physical) state on the outside.

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How about the superhuman capabilities that are here ascribed to the sage? The example of the drunk falling from a carriage without injury would not be appropriate when the chapter was only about inner cultivation and staying out of trouble.

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45 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

How about the superhuman capabilities that are here ascribed to the sage?

 

I'll leave that to the Shaw Brothers. ; )

 

As for the other ... everyone knows the Lord looks after fools and drunks.

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3 hours ago, wandelaar said:

How about the superhuman capabilities that are here ascribed to the sage? The example of the drunk falling from a carriage without injury would not be appropriate when the chapter was only about inner cultivation and staying out of trouble.

I was wondering if anyone was going to mention the superhuman stuff.  Indian Yoga influences?  We are in the outer chapters.

 

But then, the mention of the drunk falling from the carriage, I think it's possible that Chuang Tzu would have told a tale like that in order to present an example.

 

 

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And yes, the Shaw Brothers did a lot of superhuman stuff.  There have been a couple I just had to turn off.

 

 

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