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Be Empty ~ That Is All

"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself." - Rumi

It has been quite a while since I have done a Wandering Sage post. It's not that I haven't had some things to say that were worth saying but, for some reason, the messages simply didn't flow.

Since I am at the mercy of the muse who either doles out inspiration or withholds it on a whim, I can only sit mutely by and wait for the heavens to part and drip down upon me. Like an artist, all I can do is show up at the canvas, paint in hand, hoping for that mysterious event that seems to obey no one except herself.

Sometimes an inspiration comes not from within but from without. Something draws me to a book or a video or a podcast or some obscure quote from someone unknown to me. This is one of those times. What I am sharing with you here today comes from an ancient writer by the name of Zhuangzi, sometimes called "The Sage of Uncertainty." He was Taoist Master who lived between about 476 and 221 BCE. Even so, the words are decidedly fresh over 2,000 years later and the opening lines you will probably even recognize.

When I heard this in a video, it took a few minutes for me to recognize the name, Zhuangzi. The name of the man in the picture above as the name of that picture indicates, "Zhuangzi contemplates a waterfall."

I was so taken by that image that it became the logo for the Wandering Sage and so when I realized that it was the same fellow and that I didn't really know anything about him i decided to look further. What a wonder.

Here is transcript of the video which is a set of excerpts from his writings that survive to this day.


Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly

Fluttering hither and thither

To all intents and purposes a butterfly

I was, conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly

Unaware that I was myself

Soon I awakened and there I was there veritably myself again

Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming, I was a butterfly

Or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming, I am a man

One who dreams does not know they are dreaming

Only when they awaken, do they know they have dreamt

But there is also the Great Awakening

And then we see that everything here is nothing but a great dream

Of course, the fools believe that they are already awake

What foolishness?

Confucius and you, both of you are dreams

And I, who tell you, this am also a dream

The perfect one uses their mind as a mirror

It grasps nothing

It regrets nothing

It receives but does not keep

The effect of life in society is to complicate and confuse our existence

Making us forget who we really are by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not

When people do not ignore what they should ignore,

But ignore what they should not ignore,

This is known as ignorance

Do not struggle

Go with the flow of things

And you will find yourself at one with the mysterious unity of the universe

Perfect happiness is the absence of striving for happiness

We cling to our own point of view,

As though everything depended on it

Yet our opinions have no permanence

Like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away

Your preciousness lies in your essence

It cannot be lost by anything that happens

Do not seek fame

Do not make plans

Do not be absorbed by activities

Do not think that you know

Be aware of all that is and dwell in the infinite

Wander where there is no path

Be all that heaven gave you

But act as though you have received nothing

Be empty

That is all


A vey special thank you to Samaneri Jayasāra. For making this recording and also for introducing me to so many texts that I would otherwise not known about.

Samaneri is a Buddhist nun that has dedicated much of her time to finding these amazing texts, making excerpts from longer works (very time consuming) and recording them into videos. She has a beautiful speaking voice and a very calming demeanor. I recommend that you check out her channel.

Perhaps in some future videos or blog I will offer some commentary on this text. But for now, I would just like you to take it in and let it speak to your heart. The Tao is simply, the way things are. To be one with the Tao is indeed to dwell in the infinite.


GP offers dozens of workshops, meditations and courses on his learning platform, The OM School

Check out GP's podcast on Spotify and other media outlets

Watch GP Live Every Tuesday at noon Eastern and Every Sunday at 8pm Eastern or catch his hundreds of vides on Youtube.

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