If you can empty your boat no one will seek you harm

Empty your boat before cruising the world

empty boat by chuang tzu

What is the difference between an empty boat and a boat with someone on it colliding  with yours head on?

This is what Chuang Tzu says:

“When you cross a river and an empty boat comes colliding with your boat head on, even if you’re a hot tempered person, you’re unlikely to be very angry.

But if you see a man in the boat, you will shout at him to steer clear.  If the shout is not heard, you will shout again, and yet again.  If you’re still not heard, you begin cursing.

You are not angry and you are angry, all because there is no one in the boat in the first instance, and there is someone in the boat in the second.

So if you could empty your own boat before cruising water of the world, no one will seek you harm.”


Thanks to Ying Ming for the picture.

7 Responses to “If you can empty your boat no one will seek you harm”

  1. James March 16, 2016 at 3:46 am #

    Dear Soon,
    Dear dear Soon, the world is a better place because of you. Your understanding displayed here and elsewhere is remarkably powerful. Bless you! Hopefully this blessing will enable you to lead the Nations.
    But then such as you do already, that is in as much as beneficence rules the peace.

    • Soon Teo March 20, 2016 at 7:51 am #

      Thanks, James. 🙂

  2. Chimpion April 5, 2016 at 1:32 am #

    I am newly exploring Taoism and I thank you for these posts. This one in particular I understand intuitively. Chuang Tzu’s powerful message comes through without requiring lengthy explanation.

  3. Nat September 3, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

    Thank you. This message is so simple and yet incredibly powerful. The implications are endless… Thank you for spreading peace.

    • Soon Teo September 17, 2016 at 3:16 am #

      Thank you. 🙂

  4. russ September 19, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    is the chuang tzu quote from the book on taoism by thomas merton?

    if so, is the book worth reading?

    • Soon Teo September 23, 2016 at 3:36 am #

      I referred to Thomas Merton’s translation when the quote was made, but modified it somehow with the original Chinese text in mind. Thomas Merton’s The Way of Chuang Tzu is a book worth looking into.

Leave a Reply