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Confucius Meets Lao Tsu

Lao Tsu, the father of Taoism, taught that all striving is not only vain but counterproductive. One should endeavor to do nothing (wu-wei), which means to follow the flow of events and not to pit oneself against the natural order of things. First and foremost to be spontaneous in ones actions.

According to legend, a 35-year-old Confucius visited with Lao-tzu when the wise old man was 88 years old.

Confucius came away in awe of Lao Tzu's intellect, recognizing a deep understanding about the world that was above his own.

"To have been a fly on the wall for that conversation!
Confucius would treat the virtuous well, the bad badly;
Lao Tsu treated all living souls the same.
Confucius thought a poor and filial scholar is best.
His host cared little for bookishness.
The self-restrained, Confucius would go on, seldom would go off.
To Lao Tsu the river knew where it was headed.
The tea got tepid and little was said.
Then the Old Sage sighed that everything, even that fly on the wall, is one ten-thousandth of the mystery.
And Confucius nodded and swatted it."

from "Astute Chinese Aside"
by Kevin Mcfadden, Hardscrabble


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 by Harry

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