Posts tagged ‘Lieh Tzu’

From: The Spiritual Teachings of The Tao

The Guru and His Disciples

Lieh Tzu went on a journey to Chi, but after travelling only halfway he came back. On his return he met the teacher Po Hun Wu Shan who wondered why he had come back so suddenly.

Lieh Tzu said, “I was frightened.”

“What scared you?”

“On the way there I went into ten soup shops, and in five of them the soup was set down in front of me before anyone else.”

“But why should that frighten you?”

Lieh Tzu said, “Although the inner quality of a person can be hidden, the body, like a traitor, lets it shine through. This display awes people, who then treat you as noble or a sage, and from this treatment problems arise.

You see, soup sellers sell food simply as a matter of business, and however much they sell, their profit is small, and their power nil. So if they treated me as someone special, think how a king would view me! His body worn out with the cares of ruling, his knowledge overwhelmed by his affairs, he would want to hand these affairs to me, and expect me to successfully conduct his government. This is what frightened me.”

Po Hun Wu Shan replied, “Very perceptive! But if you persist in carrying yourself as you do, people will come to you as disciples.”

Not long after, Po Hun Wu Shan went to visit Lieh Tzu, and found his doorway full of visitors’ shoes. He stood there, holding his staff upright, leaning his chin on it until his skin puckered. After standing like this for awhile, he went away without saying a word.

The doorman went in and told Lieh Tzu, who immediately grabbed his shoes, and ran barefoot after the visitor.

When he overtook him at the outer gate, he said, “Since you’ve come for a visit, won’t you give me some good advice?”

Po Hun Wu Shan replied, “It’s too late. I told you that people would flock to you, and so they have. It’s not that you cause them to gather, they simply can’t stop coming. What good did my warning do? What attracts them and makes them pleased is your extraordinary qualities. But you, in turn, will be influenced by this crowd, your inner nature will be disturbed, and nothing can be done about it.

These people will not tell you this. The small words they speak are like poison to you. They don’t perceive this, nor do they understand it. How will you separate yourself from them?

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September 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

Advice from a Sage

Lieh-Tzu, the Taoist sage who rode the wind, was a student of Hu-Tzu and he prided himself on his learning. But one day he realised that he had actually learned nothing, and all the time he had spent with Hu-Tzu was wasted. It was not that Hu-Tzu was a bad teacher. No, it was Lieh-Tzu’s problem. He realised that he wore learning like a blanket, that it was too external and superficial, and that it had not penetrated inside. He was not fulfilling his true capacity and needed to do something about it.

So the story goes,

He went home, and for three years did not leave his house.

He cooked meals for his wife,

Served food to his pigs as though they were human,

Treated everything as he did his family,

From the sculpted jade he returned to the uncarved block,

Till his original self stood forth, detached from all things.

He was free of all tangles

Once and for all, to the end of his life.

This story contains good advice for everyone, but especially parents in how they treat their partners and children. If you imitate Lieh-Tzu you too can have his outcome. Why is that ?

When we read a story like this, we assume that Lieh-Tzu was a sage and therefore a good person. A sage is wise, so he should know what he wants from life that will truly satisfy him. And someone like that would be happy, we assume. But here we see that Lieh-Tzu does these things out of unhappiness. He does not like himself, and wants to change. He leaves his teacher and goes home because he has an intuition that he needs to do this to become whole again. And it is the doing that does it.

The paradox is that Lieh-Tzu undertakes these totally selfless actions, serving only others, and yet the result is that he returns to his original self. This renewal removes all the tangles, obstructions and blockages of mind and body that were stopping him from finding his true capacity.

He did not act selfishly, but his self gained immeasurably, by becoming renewed through his actions. There is a good lesson here. I hope to learn it.

August 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm Leave a comment

Standing on Others’ Shoulders – Part 2

Having written six books that have had as their starting point someone else’s writings, I feel it is time I write a book that is entirely mine (if you can ever say a book is entirely your own). In a way, this blog is that book, and I wonder if I will really write another book?

A publisher friend suggested I write about my experiences with the Pythons- my involvement with the Holy Grail, the dispute over Spamalot, and the subsequent court case. I’m not certain I have the energy to do this now, but if I were to do it, it would be quite an undertaking. Two parts of the book would be difficult to write. One would be the need to examine my own personal feelings and relationships around the making of the film and our breakup. That was a painful time for me. Secondly, I would want to explain the case in a lot of detail, as a kind of litigation manual.  That would take a lot of time to put together, and perhaps the events are too recent for me to take this on.

Instead I may decide to do more guided meditations. I created one called The Age Of Anxiety for people suffering financial stress, and I liked how that came out. I’d like to do one for people who think too much. That would be a useful tool .   

There is one Taoist philosopher called Lieh Tzu that I have wanted to write about. I suppose if I do that I would be again standing on his shoulders. But since he had a reputation as a man who could ride the wind that might be quite an exciting trip.   

He wrote,

My mind concentrated and my body relaxed, bones and flesh fused completely, I did not notice what my body leaned against and my feet trod. I drifted with the wind East or West, like a leaf from a tree or a dry husk, and never knew whether it was the wind that rode me or I that rode the wind.

Standing on those shoulders would really give me an incredible view of the world! Maybe I’d better do that one, after all.

July 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment


The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.

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