Today when I met Lao-tzu, it was like meeting a dragon

From Red Pine’s introduction to his edition of the Taoteching.  Something like a Chinese version of Solon and Croesus, only with better thinkers and more likely to be true.

In the same year [516BC], the Keeper of the Royal Archives, which were still in
Wangcheng, received a visitor from the state of Lu. The visitor was a young
man named Kung Fu-tzu, or Confucius. Confucius was interested in ritual
and asked Lao-tzu about the ceremonies of the ancient kings.

According to Ssu-ma Ch’ien, Lao-tzu responded with this advice: “The ancients you admire have been in the ground a long time. Their bones have
turned to dust. Only their words remain. Those among them who were wise
rode in carriages when times were good and slipped quietly away when times
were bad. I have heard that the clever merchant hides his wealth so his store
looks empty and that the superior man acts dumb so he can avoid calling
attention to himself. I advise you to get rid of your excessive pride and
ambition. They won’t do you any good. This is all I have to say to you.” Afterwards, Confucius told his disciples, “Today when I met Lao-tzu, it was like
meeting a dragon.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s