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31 januari 2006


Judgment means a stale state of mind. And mind always wants judgment, because to be in process is always hazardous and uncomfortable. Be very, very courageous, don't stop growing, live in the moment, simply stay in the flow of life.

This story happened in the days of Lao Tzu in China, and Lao Tzu loved it very much:

There was an old man in a village, very poor, but even kings were jealous of him because he had a beautiful white horse. Kings offered fabulous prices for the horse, but the man would say ”This horse is not a horse to me, he is a person. And how can you sell a person, a friend?” The man was poor, but he never sold the horse.

One morning, he foud that the horse was not in the stable. The whole village gathered and they said ”You foolish old man! We knew that someday the horse would be stolen. It would have been better to sell it. What a misfortune!”

The old man said ”Don't go so far as to say that. Simply say that the horse is not in the stable. This is the fact; everything else is a judgment. Whether it is a misforture or a blessing I don't know, because this is just a fragment. Who knows what is going to follow it?”

People laughed at the old man. They had always known that t the was a little crazy. But after fiftteen days, suddenly one night the horse returned. He had not been stolen, he had escaped into the wild. And not only that, he brought a dozen wild horses with him.

Again the people gathered and they said ”Old man, you were right. This was not a misforture, it has indeed proved to be a blessing.”

The old man said ”Again you are going too far. Just say that the horse is back... who knows whether it is a blessing or not? It is only a fragment. You read a single word in a sentence – how can you judge the whole book?”

This time the people could not say much, but inside they knew that he was wrong. Twelve beautiful horses had come.

The old man had an only son who started to train the wold horses. Just a week later he fell from a horse and his legs were broken. The people gathered again, and again they judged. They said ”Again you proved right! It was a misfortune. Your only son has lost the ust of his legs, and in your old age he was your only support. Now you are poorer that ever.”

The old man said ”You are obsessed with judgment. Don't go that far. Say only that my son has broken his legs. Nobody knows whether this is a misforutne or a blessing. Life comes in fragments and more is never given to you.”

It happened that after a few weeks the country went to war, and all the young men of the town were forcibly taken for the military. Only the old man's son was left, because he was crippled. The whole town was crying and weeping, becaure it was a losing fight and they knew most of the young people would never come back. They came to the old man and they said ”You were right, old man – this has proved a blessing. Maybe your son is crippled, but he is still with you. Our sons are gone forever.”

The old man said again ”You go on and on judging. Nobody knows! Only say this, that your sons have been forced to enter into the army and my son has not been forced. But only God, the total, knows whether it is a blessing or a misfortune.”

Judge ye not, otherwise you will never become one with the total. With fragments you will be obsessed, with small things you will jump to conclusions. Once you judge you have stopped growing. Judgment means a stale state of mind. And mind always wants judgment, because to be in process is always hazardous and uncomfortable.

In fact, the journed never ends. One path ends, another begins: one dooor closes, another opens. You reach a peak; a higher peak is always there. God is an endless journey. Only those who are so courageous that they don't bother about the goal but are content with the journey, content just to live the moment and grow into it, only those are able to walk with the total.

1 kommentar:

notannesullivan sa...

I assume the comments in italic at the end of the Lao Tzu story are your own comments. Not only are they wrong (inasmuch as they are not the conclusions to be drawn from the quote), they are an affront to Lao Tzu.

Chinese Tao philosophy seems to have conflicted with your judeo-christian constructs (and wording...."Judge ye not" --- dear me!)

We can debate your statement that it takes "courage" to "live in the moment". I wholeheartedly disagree. A dog or a cockroach or a lemming are very content to live in the moment, even up to and including the point in which they run in front of a car, face a can of insecticide, or jump off a cliff, and I think I can argue successfully that they don't possess an inkling of courage. It takes courage to actually HAVE a goal, and not "live in the moment", but actually attempt to see beyond yourself.

I think what Lao Tzu was trying to say is that it is impossible to actually see beyond yourself, and to do so is going against nature. (again, the conclusion to be drawn from this lesson is up to the student, and not anyone offering italics).

As far as Lao Tzu's lesson goes, I totally agree with his brilliant illustration of the understanding of nature.

And Lao Tzu may yet be very much ahead of his time, and indeed his words may have much more meaning in yet a future time, as they do not seem to have validity in our time.

That is, I do see this mentality as a detriment to the Chinese people throughout the 19th and 20th century. While this observation of the true nature of the universe, and Lao Tzu's advice for us to strive to become harmonious with nature may be truly Tao ("the Way"), it has led many of its followers to oblivion and misery in the 19th and 20th century (notice I didn't say the 21st century).

With everyone living in the moment, no one strives to be better than themselves. Buddhism and Taoism disdains "suffering" and "desire". These 2 factors have been the reason for nearly all technological advances and the evolution of our species within the last 3 centuries, and have led to the steady degredation and stagnation of Lao Tzu's and Buddhism's strongest advocates in that time.

Now I'm not saying that they're wrong. I'm just saying that they're at the losing end of the stick when it comes to hanging around in this reality (aka "being alive" and "thriving" --> being able to blog on the internet) during the last few hundred years.

So you and Lao Tzu may be totally Right, but if you were totally pure in this thinking, we'd all be meditating under the Bao tree starving ourselves until we reached Nirvana.

I dunno about you, but I like my widescreen and my highspeed wireless access at Starbucks, where I get to talk to really neat people who speak Swedish and wax on about Chinese philosophy.

Strange world, ain't it??

Anyway, I guess coming full circle, (and in the true vein of Lao Tzu), I feel compassion for you, and ultimately admit a longing for the lack of judgement.

For I realize I have denounced your evaluation by employing tools and paradigms which mirror those same evaluations.

I would love to believe in Lao Tzu's teaching, because it sounds like they could be true. But if I don't keep on trying to "reach goals", then Bush's dynasties are just going to mow down this Starbucks and put in another Baptist church on this corner. And THEN how will talk to each other??

Well, I suppose if you reserve a spot next to that Bao tree for me, then it won't be so bad....