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Chuang Tzu Story - Duke Hwan and the Wheelwright (桓公与轮扁)
03-20-2011, 06:43 PM
Post: #1
Chuang Tzu Story - Duke Hwan and the Wheelwright (桓公与轮扁)
Duke Hwan, seated above in his hall, was (once) reading a book, and the wheelwright Phien was making a wheel below it. Laying aside his hammer and chisel, Phien went up the steps, and said, 'I venture to ask your Grace what words you are reading?'

The duke said, 'The words of the sages.'

'Are those sages alive?' Phien continued. '

They are dead,' was the reply.

'Then,' said the other, 'what you, my Ruler, are reading are only the dregs and sediments of those old men.'

The duke said, 'How should you, a wheelwright, have anything to say about the book which I am reading? If you can explain yourself, very well; if you cannot, you shall, die!'

The wheelwright said, 'Your servant will look at the thing from the point of view of his own art. In making a wheel, if I proceed gently, that is pleasant enough, but the workmanship is not strong; if I proceed violently, that is toilsome and the joinings do not fit. If the movements of my hand are neither (too) gentle nor (too) violent, the idea in my mind is realised. But I cannot tell (how to do this) by word of mouth; there is a knack in it. I cannot teach the knack to my son, nor can my son learn it from me. Thus it is that I am in my seventieth year, and am (still) making wheels in my old age. But these ancients, and what it was not possible for them to convey, are dead and gone:-- so then what you, my Ruler, are reading is but their dregs and sediments!'

桓公读书于堂上。轮扁斫轮于堂下,释椎凿而上,问桓公曰:“敢问,公之
所读者何言邪?”
公曰:“圣人之言也。”
曰:“圣人在乎?”
公曰:“已死矣。”
曰:“然则君之所读者,古人之糟魄已夫!”
桓公曰:“寡人读书,轮人安得议乎!有说则可,无说则死。”
轮扁曰:“臣也以臣之事观之。斫轮,徐则甘而不固,疾则苦而不入。不徐
不疾,得之于手而应于心,口不能言,有数存焉于其间。臣不能以喻臣之子,臣
之子亦不能受之于臣,是以行年七十而老斫轮。古之人与其不可传也死矣,然则
君之所读者,古人之糟魄已夫!”
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