Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Being One with the Tao

There is a (true) story of a Westerner who visited a remote Chinese village that was suffering from extended drought. Although many prayers had been offered to end the drought nothing had worked. The people were desperate and so they sent to a remote area for a well respected rainmaker. Soon a wizened old man arrived in a cart. He alighted, sniffed the air and asked for a cottage at the outskirts of the village. He insisted that he not be disturbed and that his food be left outside his door. For three days the old man stayed alone in the cottage, and then the village awoke to a downpour of rain mixed with snow which was unheard of that time of year. The Westerner was greatly impressed and spoke with the old man. “So you can make it rain?” The old man replied “Of course I cannot.” “But there was a persistent drought until you came,” the Westerner objected. “Oh, that is something quite different. I come from a region where everything is in order, it rains when it should and it is fine when it is needed, and the people are also in order and in themselves. But that was not the case with the people here; they were out of Tao and out of themselves. I was at once affected when I arrived, so I had to be quite alone until I was once more with the Tao and then it naturally rained.”

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