Read more:

Search This Blog

About Me

My photo
I paint, make collages and mixed media work. I write poetry. I reflect on the Tao.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dance with the butterfly

Rumours reached the ears of the Emperor that a great magician named Chuang-Tzu lived in the far mountains. He dispatched three of his courtiers, known for their cleverness and persuasiveness to find out if the rumours were true and, if so, to persuade Chuang Tzu to leave his hermitage and become part of the Emperor’s court.

After many months of weary travelling the three courtiers and their extensive retinue of servants and goods finally reached the humble mountain shack of Chuang- Tzu.

The first courtier approached Chuang Tzu. “Ho fellow”, he cried. “If you really are the great magician Chuang-Tzu, why do you hide yourself away in these mountains? The Great Emperor has heard of your magic. Come with me to the Court and you will be famous throughout the land. People from far away will know all about you and everyone will kow-tow to you. All you have to do is show me your magic. What say you, fellow?”

Chuang-Tzu replied not a word. He threw corn for the birds that gathered at his feet.
“What an idiot!” thought the first courtier and stamped off.

The second courtier approached Chuang-Tzu. “Reverend Sir”, he began. “I see you live the life of a poor man, here in your tiny hovel. Your clothes are made of rough peasant cloth. You eat soupy rice. You have no money. You could be living in the grandest palace. You could be clothed in the finest silks. You could be eating the delicacies of the Empire prepared by the finest chefs in the land. You could be showered with money by a grateful Emperor. All you have to do is show me your magic and come with me to the Court, dear sir.”

Chuang-Tzu replied not a word. He plucked a ripe peach from a nearby tree and gleefully bit into it.
“What a fool!” thought the second courtier and walked away.

The third courtier approached Chuang-Tzu. “Honoured and mighty Sir, in this small and remote place, far from the centre of the world, your great powers can have little effect. In the Emperor’s court you can influence the course of the world. You can change the destiny of people and nations. Just give me one small demonstration of your mighty and powerful art.”

Chuang-Tzu replied not a word. He sat by the stream, dangling his feet in the water and watching the water flow around the rocks.

“Clearly a charlatan, a faker!” thought the third courtier and walked away.

The three courtiers gathered together. “Complete numbskull” pronounced the first courtier, watching Chuang-Tzu as he examined a cocoon on the underside of a leaf.

“Total fraud,” announced the second courtier, watching Chuang-Tzu as he helped the butterfly free itself. “No magic at all.”

The third courtier replied not a word, watching Chuang-Tzu dance with the butterfly.