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  Zhuang Zi 跻, who died around 275 B.C., is one of the great classical writers of China, along with Confucius and Lao Tse. He was a taoist. The following story contrasts the physical training of an archer and the mental training of a taoist master:

Lie Yue-kou was exhibiting his archery to Bo-hun Wu-ren. Having drawn the bow to its full extent, with a cup of water placed on his elbow, he let fly. As the arrow was discharged, another was put in its place; and as that was sent off, a third was ready on the string. All the while he stood like a statue.

Bo-hun Wu-ren said, 'That is the shooting of an archer, but not of one who shoots without thinking about his shooting. Let me go up with you to the top of a high mountain, treading with you among the tottering rocks, till we arrive at the brink of a precipice, 800 cubits deep, and (I will then see) if you can shoot.'

On this they went up a high mountain, making their way among the tottering rocks, till they came to the brink of a precipice 800 cubits deep. Then Wu-ren turned round and walked backwards, till his feet were two-thirds of their length outside the edge, and beckoned Yue-kou to come forward. He, however, had fallen prostrate on the ground, with the sweat pouring down to his heels. Then the other said, 'The Perfect man looks up to the azure sky above, or dives down to the yellow springs beneath, or soars away to the eight ends of the universe, without any change coming over his spirit or his breath. But now the trepidation of your mind appears in your dazed eyes; your inward feeling of peril is extreme!'

Zhuang Zi, 21:8
(Translated by James Legge.)

This famous story of Zhuang Zi is echoed by many authors and martial art classics, eg. have a look at this passage from the Heiho Kadensho, a Japanese book on swordfighting from the Tokugawa era.

The rest of this webture is a line-by-line walkthrough of the Chinese text.


캪ۿͼ͡
Lie Yue-kou [was] shooting (performed archery) for Bo-hun Wu-ren.
[wei4] for (prep)

Ƿδӡտ¶ɪ塤
Drawing, stretched [the bow] fully, a cup of water [was] put on his elbow.
Ƿ [zhi1] is nominalizator for the verb [yin3] "to pull, to draw".

ǷŬ
Releaseing, [another] arrow was put [on the string] again and again,
[by the] time the arrow [was released], again [an arrow] was there [on the string].
is an old form of ȯ.

໾ݿ顣
All the time, he stood still [like] a statue.
at the end of the sentence is a particle roughly meaning "is, to be".

캪ۿ۩Ƿ͡
Bo-hun Wu-ren said: This is shooting of shooting,
Ƿ in this case i indicating possession.

ԼǷ顣
not shooting of non-shooting.
"Shooting of non-shooting" is an application of the Taoist principle "acting by non-acting" to archery.

й⻳С
Try yourself, climbing a high mountain, tread on dangerous rocks,

ɴǷ޽
face a hundred "ren" [deep] abyss,
is an ancient measure of distance, appr. 8 feet.

ǽ͸á
to see how you can shoot.

вۿͿй⻳С
On this, Wu-ren forthwith started out, climbing a high mountain, treading on dangerous rocks,

ɴǷ޽
arrived at a 100 "ren" [deep] abyss.


Walking casually (slowly) he turned his back [to the abyss],

­ʬ߳
two-[third] of his foot dangling out [above the precipice],

ͬ伩Ƿ
waved to Yue-kou to come forward too [and join him],

ϡή
[but] Yue-kou was crouching on the ground, sweat pouring down to his heels.

캪ۿ۩׻ͼԡ
Bo-hun Wu-ren said: as for the perfect man,
(in classical Chinese, meant also "become perfect, reach perfection".)

屮ŷ
[may] look up [into the] blue sky, dive down [into] the yellow springs,

Ȭˡ
exert repulsion (fight) [towards] the eight extremities (direction),

Ρ
[his] spirit [and] breath does not change.

ͭǷ֡
[But] now, your fear is there in your eyes,
Note: one character was missing in my EUC-JP font, it appears as an empty square. It stands for chu4, "timid; to fear". Left side is , right side is .

вס
probably coming from-within.





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