17 March 2012

Returning to Plainness

After this, Liezi concluded that he had never really begun to learn anything.  He went home and for three years did not go out.  He replaced his wife at the stove, fed the pigs as though he were feeding people, and showed no preferences in the things he did.  He got rid of the carving and polishing and returned to plainness, letting his body stand alone like a clod.  In the midst of entanglement he remained sealed, and in this oneness he ended his life.
Liezi, of course, is the third brightest light in the Daoist sky.  The Liezi was given the honorific title, Chongxu zhenjing (沖虛真經), rendered, depending on the translator, as True Classic of Simplicity and Emptiness or Classic of the Perfect Emptiness.   From a Daoist or Mahayanist perspective, high praise, indeed!

Hearing of Liezi's "return to plainness" points out to me just how very unplain my life and comportment still are.  Hearing of his "remaining sealed in the midst of entanglement" reminds me of how goshdarn unsealed I still am.  So much still to let go of.  So many burdens still to set down.

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