left QuoteDuke Hwan of Khi,
First in his dynasty,
Sat under his canopy
Reading his philosophy;
And Phien the wheelwright
Was out in the yard
Making a wheel.
Phien laid aside
Hammer and chisel,
Climbed the steps,
And said to Duke Hwan:
"May I ask you, Lord,
What is this you are Reading?"
The Duke said:
"The experts. The authorities."
And Phien asked:
"Alive or dead?"
"Dead a long time."
"Then," said the wheelwright,
"You are reading only
The dirt they left behind."
Then the Duke replied:
"What do you know about it?
You are only a wheelwright.
You had better give me a good explanation
Or else you must die."
The wheelwright said:
"Let us look at the affair
From my point of view.
When I make wheels
If I go easy, they fall apart,
If I am too rough, they do not fit.
If I am neither too easy nor too violent
They come out right. The work is what
I want it to be.
You cannot put this into words:
You just have to know how it is.
I cannot even tell my own son exactly how it is done,
And my own son cannot learn it from me.
So here I am, seventy years old,
Still making wheels!
The men of old
Took all they really knew
With them to the grave.
And so, Lord, what you are reading there
Is only the dirt they left behind them."

                                    (The Way of Chuang Tzu)

right quotation


In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.