Thoughts on Wisdom

“Can you only live in oneness? You have to live in this world, too.” – Justin F. Stone

Thoughts on Wisdom

By Justin F. Stone, TCC Originator

Confucius also spoke of Jen, human heartedness. Confucius said the most important thing is human heartedness. He believed in the power of inner sincerity. Here is a quotation from Confucius: “The life of the moral man is plain and yet it is not unattractive. It is simple and yet full of grace. It is easy and yet methodical. He knows that the accomplishment of great things consists in doing small things well, and that great effects are produced by small causes. He knows the evidence and reality of what cannot be perceived by the senses.”

Is there anything in Confucius’ statement you could quarrel with? Do you know anybody who has spoken more truth than Confucius?

The life of the moral man is plain and yet it is not unattractive. He’s saying that great things are produced by doing small things. If you do small things well, great things are done. He also knows the evidence and reality of what cannot be perceived by the senses. This is understandable. I hear sound waves from the radio but I can’t see them. To a primitive person, the sounds coming from the radio would be magic, wouldn’t they?

There are many stories of how Confucius went to Lao-tzu to talk to him. Lao-tzu lived at the same time as Confucius. In fact, we don’t even know if there was a Lao-tzu because Lao-tzu has to do with a Master, almost a cumulative Master. Lao-tzu said, “He who wants to spring, first must crouch. Push down to break attachment and lift. If something is heavy, don’t try to lift it, push down on it. He who stands on tip toe weakens himself.” 

Chuang-tzu is to Lao-tzu what Plato is to Socrates. Chuang-tzu said, “The wise man considers both sides of the question without partiality, sees them both in the light of Tao. This is called following two courses at once. Can a man cling only to heaven and not to earth? They are correlative. To know one is to know the other. To refuse one, is to refuse both.” Can you only live in oneness? You have to live in this world, too.

Chuang-tzu went on, “Can a man cling to the positive without any negative? If he claims to do so, he is either a rogue or a mad man.” Chuang-tzu also said, “Where the fountains of passion lie deep, the heavenly springs are soon dry.” One of Chuang-tzu’s most famous statements is the following: “Only the true man can have true knowledge.”

My Indian teacher once was asked, “Can you reach enlightenment through devotion?” He said, “You’ve got it backwards. Only the enlightened man is capable of devotion.”

Lao-tzu said, “To realize that knowledge is ignorance; this is a noble insight. To regard our ignorance as knowledge, this is mental disease.” So some of us are diseased. There are so many stories along this line. 

From the book Gateway to Eastern Philosophy & Religion by Justin Stone, excerpted and reprinted with permission from Good Karma Publishing, Inc.

Reprinted with permission from the  November 2014 issue of the Tai Chi Chih journal, The Vital Force.