drawing by marguerita
Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu,'Can a man really become passionless? Chuang Tzu said, ,' He can.' Hui Tzu said,' A man without passions cannot be called a man."
Chuang Tzu said,'Tao gave him substance,Heaven gave him form", how is it possible not to call him a man?'
Hui Tzu said,'I would rather say,Granted that he is still a man, how is it possible for him to be passionless?'
Chuang Tzu said,'You do not understand what I mean when I say " passionless".
When I say " passionless" I mean that a man does not let love or hate do damage within, that he falls in with the way in which things happen of themselves, and does not exploit life'.
Hui Tzu said,' If he does not exploit life, what is the use of his having a body?
And Hamlet says:
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied over with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.Thought and action seem to pull against each other, the former annulling the possibility of the latter.
Excerpt from Three Ways of Thought in Ancient China by Arthur Wiley