but I cannot get as far as the absence of nothing. Assuming that Nothing has an objective existence, how can it reach this next stage?"
The man who forged swords for the Minister of War was eighty years of age. Yet he never made the slightest slip in his work.
The Minister of War said to him, "Is it your skill, Sir, or have you any method?"
- Any Tao?—in its earlier sense of way of doing things.
"It is concentration," replied the man. "When twenty years old, I took to forging swords. I cared for nothing else. If a thing was not a sword, I did not notice it. I availed myself of whatever energy I did not use in other directions in order to secure greater efficiency in the direction required. Still more of that which is never without use;—
So that there was nothing which did not lend its aid.
Jen Ch'iu asked Confucius, saying, "Can we know about the time before the universe existed?"
"We can," replied Confucius. "Time was of old precisely what it is now."
At this rebuff, Jen Ch'iu withdrew. Next day he again visited Confucius and said, "Yesterday when I asked you that question and you answered me, I was quite clear about it. To-day I am confused. How is this?"