the world is full of half-enlightened masters

now get funkier


The world is

full of half-enlightened masters.

Overly clever, too “sensitive” to live in the real

world, they surround themselves with selfish pleasures and

bestow their grandiose teachings upon the unwary. Prematurely

publicizing themselves, intent upon reaching some spiritual

climax, they constantly sacrifice the truth and deviate

from the Tao. What they really offer

the world is their own



The true master

understands that enlightenment

is not the end, but the means. Realizing that

virtue is her goal, she accepts the long and

often arduous cultivation that is

necessary to attain



She doesn’t

scheme to become a leader,

but quietly shoulders whatever

responsibilities fall to her. Unattached

to her accomplishments, taking credit for

nothing at all, she guides the whole world by

guiding the individuals who come to her. She

shares her divine energy with her students,

encouraging them, creating trials to

strengthen them, scolding them to

awaken them, directing the

streams of their lives

toward the infinite

ocean of the



If you

aspire to this

sort of mastery, then

root yourself in the Tao.

Relinquish your negative habits

and attitudes. Strengthen your sincerity.

Live in the real world, and extend your virtue

to it without discrimination in the daily round.

Be the truest father or mother, the truest brother

or sister, the truest friend, and the truest disciple.

Humbly respect and serve your teacher, and

dedicate your entire being unwaveringly

to self-cultivation. Then you will surely

achieve self-mastery and be able

to help others in doing

the same.


from Hua hu Ching, Chapter 80


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Our task

as [humans] is to find

the few principles that will calm the

infinite anguish of free souls. We must mend

what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable

again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness

a meaning once more to peoples poisoned by

the misery of the century. Naturally, it is

a superhuman task. But superhuman

is the term for tasks [we] take

a long time to accomplish,

that’s all.


Let us

know our aims then,

holding fast to the mind, even if

force puts on a thoughtful or a comfortable

face in order to seduce us. The first thing is not to

despair. Let us not listen too much to those who proclaim

that the world is at an end. Civilizations do not die so easily,

and even if our world were to collapse, it would not have

been the first. It is indeed true that we live in tragic

times. But too many people confuse tragedy with

despair. “Tragedy,” [D.H.] Lawrence said,

“ought to be a great kick at misery.”

This is a healthy and immediately

applicable thought. There are

many things today

deserving such

a kick.


If we are

to save the mind we must

ignore its gloomy virtues and celebrate

its strength and wonder. Our world is poisoned

by its misery, and seems to wallow in it. It has utterly

surrendered to that evil which Nietzsche called

the spirit of heaviness. Let us not add to this.

It is futile to weep over the mind,

it is enough to labor

for it. 


But where

are the conquering virtues

of the mind? The same Nietzsche listed

them as mortal enemies to heaviness of the spirit.

For him, they are strength of character, taste, the “world,”

classical happiness, severe pride, the cold frugality of

the wise. More than ever, these virtues are

necessary today, and each of us can

choose the one that suits

him best.


Before the

vastness of the undertaking,

let no one forget strength of character.

I don’t mean the theatrical kind on political

platforms, complete with frowns and threatening

gestures. But the kind that through the virtue of its purity

and its sap, stands up to all the winds that blow in

from the sea. Such is the strength of character

that in the winter of the world

will prepare the



Albert Camus 


my life a broken house



while begging,

I got caught in a shower.

For some time, I found shelter

in an old shrine. Laugh if you like at

the one jar and one bowl I own!

Humble and cleansed —

my life a broken