27 January 2013

Chuang Tzŭ and King James: Scriptural Smackdown or Textual Tag-Team?

In reading Chuang Tzŭ, I ran across several passages that brought to mind specific verses from the Bible. These are some of the points of comparative doctrine that emerged.
Photo: Reuters


2 Timothy 2:20-21 (King James Version)

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, prepared unto every good work.

Chuang Tzŭ, Chapter 4: "The Human World," p.80 (Fung Yu-Lan, Translator)

The function of the ear ends with hearing; that of the mind, with symbols or ideas. But the spirit is an emptiness ready to receive all things. Tao abides in the emptiness; the emptiness is the fast of mind.


Matthew 18:3-5 (King James Version)

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

Chuang Tzŭ, Chapter 4: "The Human World," p.86 (Fung Yu-Lan, Translator)

If the son of the prince should act as if he were a child, you also should act as if you were a child. If he should cast aside all differences, you should do the same. If he should cast aside all distinctions, you also should do the same. Then you can lead him to innocence.


Genesis 2:18-9 (King James Version)

18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

Genesis 3:3-7 (King James Version)

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Chuang Tzŭ, Chapter 2: "The Equality of Things and Opinions," p.53 (Fung Yu-Lan, Translator)

The knowledge of the ancients was perfect. How perfect? At first, they did not yet know that there were things. This is the most perfect knowledge; nothing can be added. Next, they knew that there were things, but did not yet make distinctions between them. Next they made distinctions between them, but they did not yet pass judgments upon them. When judgments were passed, Tao was destroyed. With the destruction of Tao, individual preferences came into being.

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