Monday, February 9, 2009

An Ugly Tree

Here is one of my favorite stories from Chuang Tzu:

Hui Tzu told Chuang Tzu that there was a big tree in his back yard.  It is such an ugly and useless tree that no carpenter in his/her right mind will ever want to cut down this tree.  Then referencing Chuang Tzu's teaching, Hui Tzu commented, "Your teaching is like this tree.  It is totally useless."  

Chuang Tzu replied "why be so disturbed by this ugly tree. Because of its uselessness no one will ever cut it down and so why not place it in no-man's land and lie down under it.  Its life will not be shorted because if it is useless, it can't get hurt."

This reminds me of a quote by Chuang Tzu when he said "we all know the use of the useful, but nobody knows the use of the useless."  What do I know about the use of the useless?  I think when we are useless we will probably not be used and when we are not used, we are free to use or not to use; to be or not to be.  Perhaps there's more to this statement of Chuang Tzu for us all to ponder.  


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