All that is limited by form, semblance, sound, color is called object. Among them all, man alone is more than an object. Though, like objects, he has form and semblance, He is not limited to form. He is more. He can attain to formlessness. When he is beyond form and semblance, beyond "this" and "that," where is the comparison with another object? Where is the conflict? What can stand in his way? He will rest in his eternal place which is no-place. He will be hidden in his own unfathomable secret. His nature sinks to its root in the One. His vitality, his power hide in secret Tao.
If a man is crossing the river and an empty boat collides with his skiff, even though he is a bad tempered man he will not become very angry. But if he sees a man in the other boat he will scream and shout and curse at the man to steer clear. If you can empty your own boat crossing the river of the world, no one will oppose you, no one will seek to harm you. Thus is the perfect man - his boat is empty.
If the Tao could be served up, everyone would serve it up to their lords. If the Tao could be offered, there is no one who would not offer it to their parents. If the Tao could be spoken of, there is no one in the world who would not speak of it to their brothers and sisters. if the Tao could be passed on, there is no one who would not pass it on to their heirs. However, it obviously cannot be so and the reason is as follows. If there is no true centre within to receive it, it cannot remain;if there is no true direction outside to guide it,it cannot be received....
Love of colors bewilders the eye and it fails to see right. Love of harmonies bewitches the ear, and it loses its true hearing. Love of perfumes fills the head with dizziness. Love of flavors ruins the taste. Desires unsettle the heart until the original nature runs amok. These five are enemies of true life. Yet these are what men of discernment claim to live for. They are not what I live for. If this is life, then pigeons in a cage have found happiness!
Sorrow and happiness are the heresies of virtue; joy and anger lead astray from TAO; love and hate cause loss of virtue. The heart unconscious of sorrow and happiness - that is perfect virtue. One, without change - that is perfect repose. Without any obstruction - that is the perfection of the unconditioned. Holding no relations with the external world, - that is perfection of the negative state. Without blemish of any kind, - that is the perfection of purity.
He who dreams ... does not know he is dreaming... . Only when he awakens does he know he has dreamt. But there is also the great awakening (ta-chiao), and then we see that [everything] here is nothing but a great dream. Of course, the fools believe that they are already awake-what foolishness! Confucius and you, both of you, are dreams; and I, who tell you this, am also a dream.
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