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Yin-Yang picture 

Yin and Yang

He whose rule of life is in himself does not act for the sake of a name. He whose rule is outside himself has his will set on extensive acquisition. He who does not act for the sake of a name emits a light even in his ordinary conduct; he whose will is set on extensive acquisition is but a trafficker. Men see how he stands on tiptoe, while he thinks that he is overtopping others. Things enter (and take possession of) him who (tries to) make himself exhaustively (acquainted with them), while when one is indifferent to them, they do not find any lodgment in his person. And how can other men find such lodgment? But when one denies lodgment to men, there are none who feel attachment to him. In this condition he is cut off from other men.
There is no weapon more deadly than the will (1); even Mu-ye (2) was inferior to it. There is no robber greater than the Yin and Yang, from whom nothing can escape of all between heaven and earth. But it is not the Yin and Yang that play the robber; it is the mind that causes them to do so.

1. That is, the will, man's own human element, in opposition to the Heavenly element of Tao.

2. One of the two famous swords made for Ho-lu, the king of Wu; very marvellous, but evidently, and acknowledged to be, fabulous.

*From "The Writings of Chuang-tzu", Book XXIII, Part III, Section I. Translation by James Legge. Selection by WPE.


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