April 23rd, 2011

20

Leave off fine learning! End the nuisance
Of saying yes to this and perhaps to that,
Distinctions with how little difference!
Categorical this, categorical that,
What slightest use are they!
If one person leads, another must follow,
How silly that is and how false!
Yet conventional people lead an easy life
With all their days feast days,
A constant spring visit to the Tall Tower,
While I am a simpleton, a do-nothing,
Not big enough yet to raise a hand,
Not grown enough to smile,
A homeless, worthless waif.
Men of the world have a surplus of goods,
While I am left out, owning nothing.
What a booby I must be
Not to know my way round,
What a fool!
The average man is so crisp and so confident
That I ought to be miserable
Going on and on like the sea,
Drifting nowhere.
All these people are making their mark in the world,
While I, pig-headed, awkward,
Different from the rest,
Am only a glorious infant still nursing at the breast.


The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (The Witter Bynner version), Terebess Asia Online (TAO)
(with minor change.)

Bynner says "...conventional people lead an easy life."
I have never seen that translation before.
Just because we look like we are enjoying ourselves
does not mean our life is easy.
Meeting the demands of ego and the rules of society
must be a difficult, full time job.
Following the Way is easy.
You just follow it.  Forget ego and forget rules.
goban

20

Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles.

Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox.
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace,
But I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.
Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused.
Others are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Others are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.
Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless and depressed.
I am different.
I am nourished by the great mother.
-
-
Don't spend too much time
thinking about stupid shit.
Why should you care
if people agree or disagree with you?
Why should you care
if others find you attractive or not?
Why should you care
about things that worry others?
Call bullshit on all that.

Let other people
get worked up
and try to enjoy themselves.
I'm not going to give myself away.
A baby doesn't know how to smile,
but it's still happy.

Let other people
get excited about stuff.
I'm not going to hang on to anything.
I'm not going to fill my mind with ideas.
I'm not going to get stuck in a rut,
tied down to any one place.

Other people are clever;
I guess I must be stupid.
Other people have goals;
I guess I must be aimless.
Like the wind. Or the waves.

I'm not like other people.
I'm getting right with Tao.
-

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.