Sunday, June 24, 2012

The sacred tortoise

"Everything has its own place and function. That applies to people, although many don't seem to realize it, stuck as they are in the wrong job, the wrong marriage, or the wrong house. When you know and respect your own inner nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don't belong. One man's food is often another man's poison, and what is glamorous and exciting to some can be a dangerous trap to others. An incident in the life of Chuang-tse can serve as an example:

"While sitting on the banks of the P'u river, Chuang-tse was approached by two representatives of the Prince of Ch'u, who offered him a position at court. Chuang-tse watched the water flowing by as if he had not heard. Finally he remarked, "I am told that the Prince has a sacred tortoise, over two thousand years old, which is kept in a box, wrapped in silk and brocade." "That's true" the official replied. "If the tortoise had been given a choice", Chuang-tse continued, "which do you think he would have liked better - to have been alive in the mud, or dead within the palace?" "To have been alive in the mud, of course," the men answered. "I too prefer the mud", said Chuang-tse. "Good-bye".

'The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet', Benjamin Hoff

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