What this wise man does upon enlightenment is puzzling

Story of Tao that sets you thinking

man enlightenment

Once upon a time, there is a scholar who devotes himself untiringly to the study of Tao. Hurrah! Having assiduously worked for several years, he eventually attains the coveted state of enlightenment.

The man, nevertheless, is not celebrating. Instead, he takes all of his books out into the yard, and burns them all into ashes.

Do you think the man is crazy?

Well, I’m not sure if I’d burn my books had I attained enlightenment. What I do see is that books can sometimes be a hindrance to embracing Tao.

Learning of Tao is quite different from the accumulation of knowledge. They take two rather different paths.

We tend to add more and more in the process of acquiring knowledge, to the extent that there seems to be no end. We just never seem to know enough. Learning of Tao, however, requires elimination. Like Lao Tzu says, you eliminate and eliminate, to the extent of non-doing.

Just like a cup filled with tea can receive no refill, the knowledge that you have can block you vision to the very essence of things. Only when you are able to cast away what is preoccupying your mind that you’d allow the light of Tao to shed. This explains why inspirations often strike when you are least prepared – when you are walking, showering or daydreaming.

To bath in the wisdom of Tao, you’d have to open your mind and soften your heart, so that you can be aware, accept and rejoice. A knowing mind would not help. An innocent, curious mind will.

One who seeks knowledge learns something new every day.
One who seeks the Tao unlearns something new every day.
Less and less remains until you arrive at non-action.
When you arrive at non-action,
nothing will be left undone.

Mastery of the world is achieved
by letting things take their natural course.
You cannot master the world by changing the natural way.

Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching, Chapter 48, translated by J H McDold

Picture credit:  Eye Splash

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