January 23rd, 2010

How to live life or butcher oxen, Part II

Chaoter 3 of the Chuang-tzu is called (by Thomas Cleary) "Mastery of Nurturing Life.".  A little like Robert Fulghum's "Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,"  It is a very brief and simple (well, mostly simple) guide to a well lived life--a life lived so well that one's friends will go to the funeral, howl three times, and get on with their own well lived lives.  My thoughts about these guides are as follows.

1) a.) Know that we are mortal; b.) Know that we can't know much; c.) Know that we shouldn't know too much: and d.) be content with that knowledge.  We can't return to Eden, but we can live more simply.

2) Sorry, Mr. Gump, life is like butchering meat.  (Well, it's probably also like a box of chocolates.)  Live life with grace (in all its meanings); and with rhythm, focus, gentleness, persistence, and skill .  Live it naturally and carefully.  (And clean up after yourself and take satisfaction in what you have done and not done.)  Above all, approach life spiritually; see the essence and, if necessary, ignore appearance.

3) I have no idea what these paragraphs mean except maybe that we tend to pay too much attention to appearances?

4) Liberty should be a part of every life and comfort can be a cage.

5)  Funeral rituals cannot do justice to a well lived life   We live when its time for us to come and die when its time for us to die.  A well lived life is its own reward.  Be grateful you knew this person and don't regret what you didn't get from her or him.

6) "When the fingers (nature?) have no more kindling (material?) to put in, the fire (spirit?, soul?) goes on burning. unaware that its gone."