Lieh-tzu Quotes

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Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living by Liezi
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Lieh-tzu Quotes Showing 1-30 of 30
“Some people think they can find satisfaction in good food, fine clothes, lively music, and sexual pleasure. However, when they have all these things, they are not satisfied. They realize happiness is not simply having their material needs met. Thus, society has set up a system of rewards that go beyond material goods. These include titles, social recognition, status, and political power, all wrapped up in a package called self-fulfillment. Attracted by these prizes and goaded on by social pressure, people spend their short lives tiring body and mind to chase after these goals. Perhaps this gives them the feeling that they have achieved something in their lives, but in reality they have sacrificed a lot in life. They can no longer see, hear, act, feel, or think from their hearts. Everything they do is dictated by whether it can get them social gains. In the end, they've spent their lives following other people's demands and never lived a life of their own. How different is this from the life of a slave or a prisoner?”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“When two things occur successively we call them cause and effect if we believe one event made the other one happen. If we think one event is the response to the other, we call it a reaction. If we feel that the two incidents are not related, we call it a mere coincidence. If we think someone deserved what happened, we call it retribution or reward, depending on whether the event was negative or positive for the recipient. If we cannot find a reason for the two events' occurring simultaneously or in close proximity, we call it an accident. Therefore, how we explain coincidences depends on how we see the world. Is everything connected, so that events create resonances like ripples across a net? Or do things merely co-occur and we give meaning to these co-occurrences based on our belief system? Lieh-tzu's answer: It's all in how you think.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“In youth, our blood rises and becomes volatile. Desire, worry, and anxiety increase. External circumstances now direct the rise and fall of emotions. Will and intention become constrained by social conventions. Competition, conflict, and scheming are the norm in interactions with people. The approval and disapproval of others become important, and the honest and sincere expression of thoughts and feelings is lost.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“If a branch is too rigid, it will break. Resist, and you will perish. Know how to yield, and you will survive.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“Chuang-tzu once told a story about two persons who both lost a sheep. One person got very depressed and lost himself in drinking, sex, and gambling to try to forget this misfortune. The other person decided that this would be an excellent chance for him to study the classics and quietly observe the subtleties of nature. Both men experience the same misfortune, but one man lost himself because he was too attached to the experience of loss, while the other found himself because he was able to let go of gain and loss.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“A person with a mind is bound to be filled with conceptions. These conceptions prevent him from knowing things directly, so a person with a mind shall never really know.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“Let your eyes see what they see, not what others want you to see. Let your ears hear what they naturally hear, not what others want you to hear. Let your mouth speak your mind freely and not be constrained by other people's approval or disapproval. Let your mind think what it wants to think and not let other people's demands dictate your thoughts. If your senses and your mind are not allowed to do what they want to do naturally, you are denying them their rights. When you cannot think, sense, feel, or act freely, then your body and mind are injured. Break these oppressions, and you will cultivate life.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“Strength should always be complimented by softness. If you resist too much, you will break. Thus, the strong person knows when to use strength and when to yield, and good fortune and disaster depend on whether you know how and when to yield.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“To solve a problem, you need to remove the cause, not the symptom.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“In infancy, our blood is strong and our energy is plentiful. Mind and body, thought and action are one. Everything we do is in harmony with the natural order. The infant is not affected by things that happen around him. Virtue and ethics cannot restrain his will. Naked and free of social conventions, he follows the natural path of the heart.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“If you can dispense with reputation, then you are free from care. Reputation is only a visitor, but reality is here to stay.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“If you play a game where scrap pieces of glass are at stake, you will play skillfully. If your expensive belt buckle is at stake, you'll start to get clumsy. If it's your money that's at stake, you'll fumble. It's not that you've lost your skill. It's because you are so flustered by things happening outside that you've lost your calmness inside. Lose your stillness and you will fail in everything you do.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“Travel is such a wonderful experience! Especially when you forget you are traveling. Then you will enjoy whatever you see and do. Those who look into themselves when they travel will not think about what they see. In fact, there is no distinction between the viewer and the seen. You experience everything with the totality of yourself, so that every blade of grass, every mountain, every lake is alive and is a part of you. When there is no division between you and what is other, this is the ultimate experience of traveling.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“He likes to use his wit and verbal finesse to confuse others and win arguments. Although he can argue successfully that white is black and straight is crooked, you walk away with the feeling that he's won the argument not because he is correct but because you can't outwit him.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“The ancients said that for persons who cultivated body and mind, and who are virtuous and honorable, death is an experience of liberation, a long-awaited rest from a lifetime of labors. Death helps the unscrupulous person to put an end to the misery of desire. Death, then, for everyone is a kind of homecoming. That is why the ancient sages speak of a dying person as a person who is 'going home.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“Once you transcend the external differences, anything can be merged with anything.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“Division and differentiation are the processes by which things are created. Since things are emerging and dissolving all the time, you cannot specify the point when this division will stop.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“Develop flexibility and you will be firm; cultivate yielding and you will be strong.”
Liezi, The Book of Master Lie
“The contented person finds rest in death, and for the greedy person, death puts an end to his long list of desires.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“There was a man whose only son died of a sudden illness. He did not mourn for his son, nor was he sad about it. His friends were curious about his behavior, so they asked him, "Your only son is dead. You should be heartbroken. Why do you act as if nothing had happened?"

The man replied, "Before my son came, I had no son. I was certainly not heartbroken back then. Now I have no son. Why should I be heartbroken now?”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“Those who travel outward seek completeness in things; those who gaze inward find sufficiency in themselves.”
Liezi, The Book of Master Lie
“Without the burdens and problems associated with fame and fortune, Lieh-tzu could live leisurely and be free to do what he liked and go where he wanted. To Lieh-tzu, being an unknown citizen was better than being a person of power and responsibility. In a time when politicians played games of intrigue, Lieh-tzu felt it was better to remain silent and be truthful to oneself.”
Eva Wong, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“the ancient saying that force outdoes inferiors while gentility outdoes superiors.”
Liezi, The Book of Master Lie
“Complete people gaze into the blue sky above, plunge into the center of the earth below, and run freely in the eight directions without even a change of mood.”
Liezi, The Book of Master Lie
“When you know that illusion and transformation are no different from birth and death, then you may learn magic.”
Liezi, The Book of Master Lie
“I became aware that there was no barrier between what was inside and what was outside. My body was illuminated by a bright light. I heard with my eyes and saw with my ears. I used my nose as mouth and my mouth as nose. I experienced the world with the totality of my senses as my spirit gathered and my form dissolved. There was no distinction between muscles and bones. My body stopped being heavy and I felt like a floating leaf. Without knowing it, I was being carried by the wind. Drifting here and there, I did not know whether I rode on the wind or the wind rode on me.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“When we are rich and famous and powerful, we do not want to die. On the other hand, if we are miserable and suffering, we want to die and leave it all. But can joy or misery last forever? There is a saying, "All celebrations must end sometime." Any wish to live forever or die immediately is often a whim of the moment. How do we know that, although we are happy now, we may not be sad the next day, or sad now but may be happy soon? Given that good and ill, fortune and misfortune come in their own way, we should not cling to life or embrace death. Life and death will come of their own. Why be greedy about life and afraid of death?”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“Alors que le grand U canalisait les eaux pour assécher les terres, il s’égara, contourna la mer du nord, et arriva, très loin, tout au septentrion, dans un pays sans vent ni pluie, sans animaux ni végétaux d’aucune sorte, un haut plateau bordé de falaises abruptes, avec une montagne conique au centre. D’un trou sans fond, au sommet du cône, jaillit une eau d’une odeur épicée et d’un goût vineux, qui coule en quatre ruisseaux jusqu’au bas de la montagne, et arrose tout le pays. La région est très salubre, ses habitants sont doux et simples. Tous habitent en commun, sans distinction d’âge ni de sexe, sans chefs, sans familles. Ils ne cultivent pas la terre, et ne s’habillent pas. Très nombreux, ces hommes ne connaissent pas les joies de la jeunesse, ni les tristesses de la vieillesse. Ils aiment la musique, et chantent ensemble tout le long du jour. Ils apaisent leur faim en buvant de l’eau du geyser merveilleux, et réparent leurs forces par un bain dans ces mêmes eaux. Ils vivent ainsi tous exactement cent ans, et meurent sans avoir jamais été malades. Jadis, dans sa randonnée vers le Nord, l’empereur Mou des Tcheou visita ce pays, et y resta trois ans. Quand il en fut revenu, le souvenir qu’il en conservait, lui fit trouver insipides son empire, son palais, ses festins, ses femmes, et le reste. Au bout de peu de mois, il quitta tout pour y retourner. Koan-tchoung étant ministre du duc Hoan de Ts’i, l’avait presque décidé à conquérir ce pays. Mais Hien-p’eng ayant blâmé le duc de ce qu’il abandonnait Ts’i, si vaste, si peuplé, si civilisé, si beau, si riche, pour exposer ses soldats à la mort et ses feuda¬taires à la tentation de déserter, et tout cela pour une lubie d’un vieillard, le duc Hoan renonça à l’entreprise, et redit à Koan-tchoung les paroles de Hien-p’eng. Koan-tchoung dit : Hien p’eng n’est pas à la hauteur de mes conceptions. Il est si entiché de Ts’i, qu’il ne voit rien au delà.
(Lieh-Zi, 5.5)
湯問,5: 禹之治水上也,迷而失塗,謬之一國。濱北海之北,不知距齊州幾千萬里,其國名曰終北,不知際畔之所齊限。无風雨霜露,不生鳥、獸、蟲、魚、草、木之類。四方悉平,周以喬陟。當國之中有山,山名壺領,狀若甔甄。頂有口,狀若員環,名曰滋穴。有水湧出,名曰神瀵,臭過蘭椒,味過醪醴。一源分為四埒,注於山下;經營一國,亡不悉徧。土氣和,亡札厲。人性婉而從,物不競不爭。柔心而弱骨,不驕不忌;長幼儕居,不君不臣;男女雜游,不媒不聘;緣水而居,不耕不稼;土氣溫適,不織不衣;百年而死,不夭不病。其民孳阜亡數,有喜樂,亡衰老哀苦。其俗好聲,相攜而迭謠,終日不輟音。饑惓則飲神瀵,力志和平。過則醉經旬乃醒。沐浴神瀵,膚色脂澤,香氣經旬乃歇。周穆王北遊,過其國,三年忘歸。既反周室,慕其國,惝然自失。不進酒肉,不召嬪御者數月,乃復。管仲勉齊桓公,因遊遼口,俱之其國。幾剋舉,隰朋諫曰:「君舍齊國之廣,人民之眾,山川之觀,殖物之阜,禮義之盛,章服之美,妖靡盈庭,忠良滿朝,肆咤則徒卒百萬,視撝則諸侯從命,亦奚羨於彼,而棄齊國之社稷,從戎夷之國乎?此仲父之耄,柰何從之?」桓公乃止,以隰朋之言告管仲,仲曰:「此固非朋之所及也。臣恐彼國之不可知之也。齊國之富奚戀?隰朋之言奚顧?」”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
“the stories are also used as testing devices, to gauge mental state by reaction, as well as blueprints for further development.”
Liezi, The Book of Master Lie
“People all know the pleasure of life but not the pain of life; they know the fatigue of old age, but not the freedom of old age; they know the horror of death but not the peace of death.”
Liezi, The Book of Master Lie