Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/109

This page has been validated.
The Great Supreme

Tao gives me this form, this toil in manhood, this repose in old age, this rest in death. And surely that which is such a kind arbiter of my life is the best arbiter of my death.

A boat may be hidden in a creek, or in a bog, safe enough.

The text has "or a mountain in a bog," which taken with the context seems to me to be nonsense. Yet all the commentators labour to explain away the difficulty, instead of making the obvious change of "mountain" into "boat," to which change the forms of the two Chinese characters readily lend themselves. In over two thousand years of literary activity, it seems but rarely to have occurred to the Chinese that a textus receptus could contain a copyist's slip.

But at midnight a strong man may come and carry away the boat on his back. The dull of vision do not perceive that however you conceal things, small ones in larger ones, there will always be a chance of losing them.

The boat is figurative of our mortal coil which cannot be hidden from decay.

But if you conceal the whole universe in the whole universe, there will be no place left wherein it may be lost. The laws of matter make this to be so.

To have attained to the human form must be always a source of joy. And then, to undergo countless transitions, with only the infinite to look forward to,—what incomparable bliss is that!