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Chinese Anecdotes


Anecdote 1

Where is Tao right now?
You say it is all around me, but I
Only see my surroundings, only feel my own heartbeat.
Can you show me Tao without reasoning it out in my mind?
Can you help me see it here and now?
Can you help me feel it as doubtlessly as I touch?
You argue that Tao is beyond the senses,
But how do I know it exists?
You say that Tao is beyond definitions,
Then how will I understand it?
It's hard enough understanding the economy, my relationships,
The bewilderment of world events, violence, crime,
Drug abuse, political repression, and war.
With all these things requiring years to fathom,
How can I understand something that is
Colorless, nameless, flavorless, intangible and silent?
Show me Tao! Show me Tao!

Look within, beyond the physical body; you have the faculties to do so. Focus your mind away from sensory imput, and you will discover a new mode of perception. With this mode of perception you can sense Tao. Once you search in this way, you will find Tao and have no doubts about it.


Anecdote 2

Planets orbit the sun
Forms orbit the mind


Anecdote 3

All that we experience is subjective.
There is no sensation without interpretation.
We create the world and ourselves.
Only when we stop do we see the truth.


Anecdote 4

Activity is essential, but exhausting,
And its importance is only on the surface.
Withdraw into Tao at the end of the day.
Returning is renewal.


Anecdote 5

By the roadside, there grew a large tree in whose trunk there was a big hole which was filled with water every time it rained. One day a fishmonger happened to pass by, and sat down under the tree to rest. When he noticed the water in the hole in the tree, he thought it was quite amusing, so he dropped a live fish into it.

When a passer-by saw a live fish in a tree-hole, he thought it was amazing: "How could there be a fish living in a hole in a tree? It must be a holy fish!" The news spread and people came from miles around to burn incense, light candles and pray to the fish. Thus, there was soon as much hustle and bustle around the tree as in a marketplace.

One day, the fishmonger passed by the spot again. He could not help bursting into laughter at the sight: "Holy fish indeed! Nonsense! It was I who put the fish in there the last time I passed by this place. In fact, I should take it back now."

And with these words the fishmonger took the fish away.


Anecdote 6

Chuang Tzu and Hui Shih were strolling on the bridge above the Hao river.
"Out swim the minnows, so free and easy," said Chuang Tzu. "That's how fish are happy."
"You are not a fish. How do you know that the fish are happy?"
"You aren't me, how do you know that I don't know the fish are happy?"
"We'll grant that not being you I don't know about you. You'll grant that you are not a fish, and that completes the case that you don't know the fish are happy."
"Let's go back to where we started. When you said "How do you know that the fish are happy?", you asked me the question already knowing that I knew. I knew it from up above the Hao."


Anecdote 7

Can you be both martial and spiritual?
Can you overcome your ultimate opponent?

To be martial requires discipline, courage and perseverence. It has nothing to do with killing. People fail to look beyond this one narrow aspect of being a warrior and so overlook all the other excellent qualities that can be gained from training. A warrior is not a cruel murderer. A warrior is a protector of ideals, principle, and honor. A warrior is noble and heroic.

A warrior will have many opponents in a lifetime, but the ultimate opponent is the warrior's own self. Within a fighter's personality are a wide array of demons to be conquered: fear, laziness, ignorance, selfishness, egotism, and so many more. To talk of overpowering other people is inconsequential. To actually overcome one's own defects is the true nature of victory. That is why so many religions depict warriors in their iconography. These images are not symbols for dominating others. Rather, they are symbols of the ferocity and determination that we need to overcome the demons in ourselves.


Anecdote 8

An ocean of ink in a single drop
Trembling at the tip of my brush
Poised above stark white paper
A universe waits for existence





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