What do I mean by harmonizing them with the Heavenly Equality? Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right, it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument…. Forget the years; forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!
Topic: Interfaith Pathways
“Suppose you and I have had an argument. If you have beaten me instead of my beating you, then are you necessarily right and am I necessarily wrong? If I have beaten you instead of your beating me, then am I necessarily right and are you necessarily wrong? Is one of us right and the other wrong? Are both of us right or are both of us wrong? If you and I don’t know the answer, then other people are bound to be even more in the dark. Whom shall we get to decide what is right? Shall we get someone who agrees with you to decide? But if he already agrees with you, how can he decide fairly? Shall we get someone who agrees with me? But if he already agrees with me, how can he decide? Shall we get someone who disagrees with both of us?… But waiting for one shifting voice [to decide for] another is the same as waiting for none of them. Harmonize them all with the Heavenly Equality, leave them to their endless changes, and so live out your years. What do I mean by harmonizing them with the Heavenly Equality? Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right, it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument. If so were really so, it would differ so clearly from not so that there would be no need for argument. Forget the years; forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!“
Chuang Tzu, also known as Zhuang Zhou or Zhuangzi, was a luminous presence in an era of transformative thought. He lived around 350 BC, a time of remarkable intellectual ferment in China. As a Taoist philosopher, he embraced a worldview that emphasized balance, the rhythm of nature, and the pursuit of a deeply personal understanding of the universe. His teachings centered on the Tao, a profound concept that represented the underlying order and essence of the cosmos. Unraveling the mystery of the Tao was not about conquering or controlling it, but rather about aligning oneself with its fluid, natural ebb and flow.
Over the millennia, Chuang Tzu's wisdom has been distilled into a collection of sayings, passed down from generation to generation. These teachings, written with a depth and eloquence that resonates across the ages, offer a profound and transformative exploration of existence and our place within it. They invite us to question conventional wisdom, to see the world from different perspectives, and to embrace the inherent uncertainties of life. In their enchanting simplicity and their profound depth, Chuang Tzu's words hold a mirror to our deepest selves, asking us to reflect on who we are and how we relate to the world around us.
These timeless teachings of Chuang Tzu have found resonance far beyond the Taoist tradition. They have become one of the fundamental sources for Zen Buddhism, a spiritual path that shares Taoism's emphasis on mindfulness, simplicity, and the pursuit of enlightenment through direct experience. In this way, Chuang Tzu's legacy reaches across the centuries, touching lives and shaping philosophies far beyond the borders of his own time and place. His wisdom continues to illuminate the path for those seeking understanding, inviting us all to engage deeply with the mysteries of existence and our place within the cosmos.
Wilson, Andrew, editor. World Scripture - a Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. Paragon House, 1991, pp. 40-41 [Chuang Tzu 2].
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