Lao Tzu says: There are no distinctions, no clear-cut distinctions. Life is death, death is life. A man can live tremendously and yet deep down remain absolutely transcendental, away, far away, distant, not involved at all. You can walk through the river and your feet can remain untouched by the water; you can be a lotus flower. And that is the true life. You speak and yet you speak not. Something in your remains far away. You touch the earth and yet something in you remains high in the skies.
Confucian life will be a very ordinary life, very logical, mathematical, classified, but very ordinary. Taoist life is really extraordinary, very rich, because it contains the negative and the positive both, the yin and yang both, conflict and cooperation both, love and hate both, life and death both.
Always remember, let there be a harmony in the contradictions within you, then you will reach to the highest point and the highest peak. Don’t choose one, choose both together. Be courageous. Don’t be miserly in choosing. When life gives you a paradox, choose the whole paradox; swallow it all and whole, and digest it completely and you will become a flying dragon.
“…you have understood.”
Of course, Confucius must have been very happy. He has converted the disciple back to the old rut.
“Tzu Kung, you have understood.”
He has missed the opportunity to understand, but Confucius says
“…you have understood. All men understand
the joy of being alive, but not its misery,
the weariness of growing old, but not its ease,
the ugliness of death, but not its repose.”
Again the same division: There are few people who understand the beauty of life, but not the ugliness of it. Then there are some who understand the ugliness of lire, but not the beauty of it. There are some who understand the ugliness of death, but not the repose of it. And then there are some who understand the repose of death. but not the ugliness of it – but both are the same. You choose one category, somebody else chooses another category.
Confucius is saying
“Tzu Kung, you have understood. All men understand
the joy of being alive, but not its misery…”
Again a split. He says