The Secret of Life
"How clever you are!" cried Confucius. "Have you any way of doing this?"
- "Way," i.e. road, is the primary meaning of Tao.
"I have a way," replied the hunchback. "In the fifth and sixth moons I practise balancing two balls one on top of the other.
- At the top of his pole.
If they do not fall, I do not miss many cicadas. When I can balance three balls, I only miss one in ten; and when five, then it is as though I caught the cicadas with my hand. My body is as motionless as the stump of a tree; my arms like dead branches. Heaven and earth and all creation may be around me, but I am conscious only of my cicada's wings. How should I not succeed?"
Confucius looked round at his disciples and said, "Singleness of purpose induces concentration of the faculties. Of such is the success of this hunchback."
Yen Yüan said to Confucius, "When I crossed over the Shang-shên rapid, the boatman managed his craft with marvellous skill. I asked him if handling a boat could be learnt. 'It can,' replied he. 'The way of those who know how to keep you afloat is more like sinking you. They row as if the boat wasn't there.'
"I enquired what this meant, but he would not tell me. May I ask its signification."
"It means," answered Confucius, "that such a