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Poison for the Heart



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Useless words

Chuang Tzu was told: "Your words are useless!".

He replied, "A man has to understand the useless before you can talk to him about the useful. The earth is certainly vast and broad, though a man uses no more of it than the area under his feet. If, however, you were to dig away all the earth from around his feet until you reached the underworld, then would the man be able to make use of it?"

"No, it would be useless."

"It is obvious, then", said Chuang Tzu, "that the useless has its use."

You must understand One before you can understand Two. See first the uselessness and emptiness of the myriad phenomena by penetrating their substance with the power of reason. Accept the unpalatable reality, then . . . behold the Truth! If you do not place your life in the hands of reason, passing through uselessness, your mind will remain useless.

Chuang Tzu also said: "The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you have the fish, you can forget the trap. Words exist because of meaning, once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?"

Words are meaningless if you look for meaning within the words themselves. The more you turn them over with your ignorance, the more confused you will become: words will at times appear to mean all things, and at other times nothing at all. Reality is beyond words, but not beyond their meaning. A word is just a word, a meaning is just a meaning, there is nothing more to it.