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    Tao: The Pathless Path Vol 1



    Tao: The Pathless Path Vol 1


    CHAPTER 1


    Voluntary death
    11 February 1977 am in Buddha Hall


    WHEN LIEH TZU WAS EATING AT THE ROADSIDE ON A JOURNEY TO WEI, HE SAW A
    HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD SKULL. PICKING A STALK HE POINTED TO THE SKULL AND, TURNING
    TO HIS DISCIPLE PAI FENG, SAID ’ONLY HE AND I KNOWTHAT YOU WERE NEVER BORN AND
    WILL NEVER DIE. IS IT HE WHO IS TRULY MISERABLE, IS IT WE WHO ARE TRULY HAPPY?’

    I REJOICE in Lieh Tzu – he is one of the most perfect expressions for the inexpressible.
    Truth cannot be expressed: that inexpressibility is intrinsic to truth. Thousands and thousands of
    people have tried to express it – very few have succeeded even in giving a reflection of it. Lieh Tzu
    is one of those very few; he is rare.

    Before we start entering into his world, a few things have to be under stood about him... his
    approach. His approach is that of an artist: the poet, the story-teller – and he is a master storyteller.

    Whenever somebody has experienced life, his experience has flowered into parables: that
    seems to be the easiest way to hint at that which cannot be said. A parable is a device, a great
    device; it is not just an ordinary story. The purpose of it is not to entertain you, the purpose of it is to
    say something which there is no other way to say. Life cannot be put into a theory – it is so vast, it
    is so infinite.

    A theory by its very nature is closed. A theory has to be closed if it is a theory it cannot be openended,

    otherwise it will be meaningless. A parable is open-ended: it says and yet it leaves much
    to be said, it only hints. And that which cannot be said can be shown. It is a finger pointing to the
    moon. Don’t cling to the finger – that is irrelevant – look at the moon. These parables in themselvesare beautiful, but that is not their purpose... they go beyond, they are transcendental. If you dissect
    the parable itself you will not come to much understanding.

    It is like the navel in the body of man. If you go to the surgeon and ask him what the purpose of
    the navel is in the body, and if he dissects the body, he will not find any purpose the navel seems
    almost useless. What is the purpose of the navel? It WAS purposeful when the child was in the
    womb: its purpose was that it related the child to the mother, it connected the child with the mother.
    But now the child is no longer in the womb – the mother may have died, the child has become old
    now what is the purpose of the navel? It has a transcendental purpose; the purpose is not in itself.
    You will have to look everywhere, all around, to find the indication – where it indicates. It indicates
    that the man was once a child, that the child was once in the womb of a mother, that the child was
    connected with the mother. This is just a mark that the past has left.

    As the navel shows something about the past, a parable shows something about the future. It
    shows that there is a possibility of growing, of being connected with existence. Right now that is
    only a possibility, it is not actual. If you just dissect the parable it becomes an ordinary story. If
    you don’t dissect it but just drink the meaning of it, the poetry of it, the music of it – forget the story
    and just carry the significance of it – soon you will see that it indicates towards a future, towards
    something which can be but is not yet. It is transcendental.

    In the West, except for Jesus’ parables, nothing like Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Buddha... nothing like
    these people’s parables exist only Jesus. And even Jesus’ parables seem to be such that he must
    have carried them from the East. There are Aesop’s parables, but they are also reflections of the
    greatest book of parables of the East, PANCHATANTRA. The parable is an Eastern invention, and
    of tremendous import.

    So the first thing to be understood about Lieh Tzu: he is not a theoretician, he will not give you any
    theory; he will simply give you parables.

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