Confucius 3

“A man of wisdom delights at water.”

While attributed to Confucius, this saying is more Tao-inspired as wisdom reveals the nature of the universe. Alternatively, like a Zen koan, it seems funny, as in odd, that a man of wisdom would be more delighted by water than other men; unless the wise man sees in the nature of water the nature of the universe.

Wisdom is amalgamating many different perspectives which allows us to know the nature of things. Moreover, wisdom is knowing that all things are ever-changing and interconnected; not a piece of the whole universe but at peace with the eternal whole; in effect, a temporary expression of the whole. As such, nothing can be described as whatever we describe changes from the time we start describing it to the time our describing it ends. Hence, the Taoist saying: “He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.”

A man of wisdom delights in water as water reveals the nature of the universe.

Water is practical, flowing to the place of least resistance.

Descriptions of water are conflicting as water is at times solid, liquid or vapor.

Water is odorless and tasteless, yet present in everything that smells and tastes.

Water is clear and colorless, yet bluish in thick layers.

Water in the form of a river or pond makes difficult going from one place to another, yet with a boat water is the easiest way to travel between two places.

Still waters are dead-silent, yet moving waters in rivers and oceans are alive and teeming with sounds.

Still waters are clear, yet turbulent waters are opaque.

In the water of a reflecting pond we don’t see water, we see ourselves and all that surrounds us.

While tangible, we cannot grab water to drink; we need cup our hands for water to come to us.

While seemingly weak relative to fire, water easily destroys fire.

Water is necessary for life, yet too much water can cause death.

Water represents the cycle of life. Water is born as rain; then, experiences Earth in infinite ways; and ultimately disappears as vapor, forming clouds to be reborn again as rain. Likewise, water gives rise to life as water is soul of life.

Delightful, a fool’s errand by those trying to describe it as in the ancient Indian story of the blind men and the elephant.