Among them all, man alone is more than an object.
Though, like objects, he has form and semblance,
He is not limited to form.
He is more.
He can attain to formlessness.
When he is beyond form and semblance, beyond "this" and "that,"
where is the comparison with another object?
Where is the conflict?
What can stand in his way?
He will rest in his eternal place which is no-place.
He will be hidden in his own unfathomable secret.
His nature sinks to its root in the One.
His vitality, his power hide in secret Tao.
(Chuang Tzu, Distinguishing Ego from Self)
'The Way of Chuang Tzu'
By Thomas Merton (Author), Dalai Lama XIV (Preface)
Working from existing translations, Thomas Merton composed a series of his own versions of the classic sayings of Chuang Tzu, the most spiritual of Chinese philosophers. Chuang Tzu, who wrote in the fourth and third centuries B.C., is the chief authentic historical spokesperson for Taoism and its founder Lao Tzu (a legendary character known largely through Chuang Tzu’s writings). Indeed it was because of Chuang Tzu and the other Taoist sages that Indian Buddhism was transformed, in China, into the unique vehicle we now call by its Japanese name―Zen.
The Chinese sage abounds in wit and paradox and shattering insights into the true ground of being. Thomas Merton, no stranger to Asian thought, brings a vivid, modern idiom to the timeless wisdom of Tao.