Today, I would like to tell you a little story…

One day Zhuāngzǐ 庄子 (Master Zhuang) and his good friend, Huìzi 惠子 (Master Hui)

were out together on their customary quotidian perambulation,

when their course happened to cross the bridge over the River Hao.

Enticed with such a breathtaking view,

they stopped on the bridge

to enjoy a few minutes of silent contemplation.

After a while, Zhuāng noted,

"Look at the fish.

See how free they are.

They frisk and frolic —

leap and dart

to and fro —

as if playing hide and seek.

Indeed is this not their happiness?"

Huì commented waggishly,

"My old friend,

since you are not a fish,

how do you know

what makes fish happy?"

Zhuāng laughed,

"Ho ro!

And since you are not me,

how can you possibly know

that I do not know

what makes fish happy?"

Huì, up for a little friendly mental sparring, responded,

"If I, not being you,

can not know what you know,

well then it certainly follows that you —

not being a fish —

can not possibly know what a fish knows."

Zhuāng, deftly parrying the mental thrust, replied

"Ahh old friend, well said!

Well said indeed!

But let us return to the original question.

What you asked me was,

'How do you know

what makes fish happy?’

From the terms of your question,

you evidently know

that I know

what

makes

fish

happy!"

They both looked at each other for a moment —

two old friends

engaged in a little lighthearted mental grappling —

and then

burst into a fit of laughter.

After they had recovered,

Zhuāng put his hand on his friend’s shoulder, and said,

"That was indeed invigorating, was it not?

Now, let us put all wordplay aside for a moment,

and consider this:

How do I truly know what makes fish happy?

I know the joy of fish in the river

as I know the wonder

of the joy

of

my

own

True

Nature —

here —

now —

even as we walk

along

the

bank

of

this

river!

Not two."

— a literary adaptation of a parable from the Zhuāngzǐ 莊子, a collection of stories, parables and wisdom sayings attributed to 4th century BCE philosopher and teacher, Zhuāngzǐ (Master Zhuang) 莊子

May your every breath be peace, light and love.

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