China the Beautiful

Duke and the Wheelwright
(Some things can't be learned from books.)

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Duke Huan was reading a book in the hall. Wheelwright Pian, who had been chiseling a wheel in the courtyard below, set down his tools and climbed the stairs to ask Duke Huan:

"may I ask what words are in the book Your Grace is reading?"

"The classic of a famous sage." the Duke responded.

"Is he still alive?"

"Oh no, he is long dead"

"Then you've been reading the dregs left over by a dead man, isn't it?"

Duke Huan said, " How dare a wheelwright to have opinions about the book I read! If you can explain yourself, I'll let it pass. Otherwise, it's death!"

W'heelwright Pian said, "In my case I see things in terms of my own work. I chisel at a wheel. If I go too slow, the chisel slides and does not stay put. If I hurry, it jams and doesn't move properly. When it is just right, I can feel it in my hand and respond to it from my heart. I can explain this to my son, but I cannot pass on the skills to him. That is why at seventy years old, I am still making wheels. The sage who couldn't pass down his wisdom is already dead; and that's why I say the book you're reading is merely the dregs of a dean man."

-Zhuangzi, Chap. 5-13

What is the moral in this story?
    Can you always believe in what you read?
    Are there skills that cannot be taught, but must be learned by himself?

Chinese [utf-8] | [pdf] | [big5] | Story | Classics