Do you resent it?

Master Ssu, Master Yu, Master Li, and Master Lai were all four talking together. “Who can look upon nonbeing as his head, on life as his back, and on death as his rump?” they said. “Who knows that life and death, existence and annihilation, are all a single body? I will be his friend!”

The four men looked at each other and smiled. There was no disagreement in their hearts and so the four of them became friends

All at once Master Yu fell ill. Master Ssu went to ask how he was. “Amazing” said Master Yu. “The Creator is making me all crookedy like this! My back sticks up like a hunchback and my vital organs are on top of me. My chin is hidden in my navel, my shoulders are up above my head, and my pigtail points at the sky. It must be some dislocation of the yin and yang!”

Yet he seemed calm at heart and unconcerned. Dragging himself haltingly to the well, he looked at his reflection and said, “My, my! So the Creator is making me all crookedy like this!”

“Do you resent it?” asked Master Ssu.

“Why no, what would I resent? If the process continues, perhaps in time he’ll transform my left arm into a rooster. In that case I’ll keep watch on the night. Or perhaps in time he’ll transform my right arm into a crossbow and I’ll shoot down an owl for roasting. Or perhaps in time he’ll turn my butt into cartwheels. Then, with my spirit for a horse, I’ll climb up and go for a ride. What need will I ever have for a carriage again?

from the Complete Chuang Tzu translated by Burton Watson

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