Chapter 3: The Owl and the Phoenix
Hui Tzu was prime minister of Liang.
He had what he believed to be inside information
that Chuang Tzu coveted his post,
and was plotting to supplant him.
When Chuang Tzu came to visit Liang
the prime minister sent out police to arrest him,
but although they searched for three days and nights
they could not find him.
Meanwhile, Chuang Tzu presented himself to Hui Tzu
of his own accord, and said:
“Have you heard about the bird
that lives in the south -
the phoenix that never grows old?
“This undying phoenix rises out of the south sea
and flies to the seas of the north,
never alighting except on certain sacred trees.
He will touch no food
but the most exquisite rare fruit,
and he drinks only from the clearest springs.
“Once an owl
chewing an already half-decayed dead rat
saw the phoenix fly over.
“Looking up he screeched with alarm
and clutched the dead rat to himself
in fear and dismay.
why are you so frantic,
clinging to your ministry
and screeching at me in dismay?”
The religious mind is basically nonambitious. If there is any sort of ambition, then to be religious is impossible, because only a superior man can become religious. Ambition implies inferiority. Try to understand this because it is one of the basic laws. Without understanding it you can go to temples, you can go to the Himalayas, you can pray and you can meditate, but everything will be in vain. You will be simply wasting your life if you have not understood the nature of the mind - whether it is ambitious or nonambitious. Your whole search will be futile, because ambition can never lead to the divine. Only non-ambition can become the door.
Modern psychology also agrees with Chuang Tzu, with Lao Tzu, with Buddha, with all those who have known that inferiority creates ambition. Hence politicians come from the worst stuff in humanity. All politicians are sudras, untouchables. It cannot be otherwise, because whenever the mind feels the inferiority complex it tries to become superior - the opposite is born. When you feel ugly, you try to be beautiful. If you are beautiful, then there is no effort.
So look at ugly women and you will come to know the nature of the politician. An ugly woman is always trying to hide the ugliness, always trying to be beautiful. At least the face, the painted face, the clothes, the ornaments, they all belong to the ugly. The ugliness has somehow to be overcome and you have to create the opposite to hide it, to escape from it. A really beautiful woman will not worry, she will not even be conscious of her beauty. And only an unconscious beauty is beautiful. When you become conscious, the ugliness has entered.