Now he is enjoying that he is a great man, a gentleman, so he is persuaded by Confucius through his ego: “You are a great man, a gentleman, a superior being. You will find rest in death. You are not mean, so don’t be worried – only mean persons don’t find rest in death. And don’t hanker for rest in life” because that too is meanness according to Confucius. Rest is not possible, rest is escapism.
Confucius was always worried about Lao Tzu and his teachings. It is said that once he went to see Lao Tzu. Of course, he was older than Lao Tzu so he wanted Lao Tzu to behave in a mannerly way, as an old man expects. But Lao Tzu was sitting and he would not even stand to greet him and he would not even say, “Sit down, sir” and he didn’t pay much attention to him. He became very angry. “What type of master is this?” And he said “Don’t you follow any manners?”
Lao Tzu said, “If you feel like sitting, you sit; if you feel like standing, you stand. Who am I to say anything about it? It is your life. I don’t interfere.”
Confucius was shocked. Then he asked something about the superior man, the gentleman, and Lao Tzu laughed and he said, “I have never come across any ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’. Men are men as trees are trees and everything participates in the same existence. Nobody is superior and nobody is inferior and it is all nonsense and rubbish!” He became very much afraid. And the man had tremendous silence around him; he was a pool of silence.
Confucius came back. His disciples asked, “What about Lao Tzu?”
He said, “Never go near this man, he is dangerous. If you come across a tiger, you can save your life in some way. If you come across a lion, you can save yourself. But this man is very dangerous. He is like a dragon, a flying dragon! He will kill you! Never go! Whenever you hear that Lao Tzu is around, escape!”
Confucius was very much worried about Lao Tzu’s teaching. The teaching is so utterly different, so utterly true, so utterly amoral, so utterly rebellious and so utterly individual. It believes in no man-made laws, only in nature. Trust in nature is Tao.
And Lao Tzu says: You can rest in life, because even while you are walking you can remain unmoving. Your innermost center can remain unmoving; you can become the center of the cyclone. The wheel moves but the hub remains. The wheel goes on moving, but it moves on something which is not moving. Act, do, but remain a non-doer deep within. Talk, speak, but remain in silence deep within.
Lao Tzu says: Let contradictions meet. Let paradoxes dissolve. Be paradoxical, because life is paradoxical. Live, and yet live as if you were dead. Then, when you die, die as if you were entering into another life – higher life, greater life. Let paradoxes meet, mingle, fuse, into one unity.
Confucian thought is of division, classification, categorization: Life is life, life is struggle. Death is death, death is rest – clear-cut divisions.