March 1st, 2013



Between birth and death,
Three in ten are followers of life,
Three in ten are followers of death,
And men just passing from birth to death also number three in ten.
Why is this so?
Because they live their lives on the gross level.

He who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
He will not be wounded in battle.
For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so?
Because he has no place for death to enter.
People who look
for the secret of long life
wind up dead.

Their bodies are the focus of their lives
and the source of their death,
because they think a healthy body
is all there is to life.

Lao Tzu used to say
a man who truly understood life
could walk through the jungle
without fear
or across a battlefield
without armor, totally unarmed.
Wild animals and weapons couldn't kill him.

I know, I know:
what the hell does that mean?
"Well, he couldn't be killed,"
Lao Tzu said,
"because his body
wasn't where he kept his death."

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

Chapter 50

50.1 Exiting life, we enter death.
50.2 The followers of life are three out of ten,
       the followers of death are three out of ten;
       in the lives of the people,
       the dying grounds on which they are agitated are also three out of ten.
       What is the reason?
       Because of the seriousness with which they take life as life.
50.3 It has been said that those who maintain life well
       do not meet rhinos or tigers on land
       and do not arm themselves in war.
50.4 There is no way for rhinos to gore them;
       there is no way for tigers to claw them;
       there is no way for weapons to get at them.
       Why? Because they have no dying ground.

Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation