30 May 2009

From my WuWei blog in 2005

I was asked for about the bizillionth time recently about the genesis of the name Lost Tortoise. I became interested in Taoism at a relatively early age (fourteen) and became an adherent to the philosophy over twenty years ago. In the early stages of this path, I had a favorite parable from one of the two main texts of Taoism, the Zhuangzi/Chuang Tzu. The reproduction of this parable that follows is from the famous translation by Lin Yutang:

Chuangtse was fishing on the P'u River when the Prince of Ch'u sent two high officials to see him and said, "Our Prince desires to burden you with the administration of the Ch'u State." Chuangtse went on fishing without turning his head and said, "I have heard that in Ch'u there is a sacred tortoise which died when it was three thousand (years) old. The prince keeps this tortoise carefully enclosed in a chest in his ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise rather be dead and have its remains venerated, or would it rather be alive and wagging its tail in the mud?"

"It would rather be alive," replied the two officials, and wagging its tail in the mud."

"Begone!" cried Chuangtse. "I too will wag my tail in the mud.

Well, this is still my favorite taoist parable and I still adhere strongly to Taoism's principles; I fail to see any conflict with my "Christian" path. This parable combined with my tendency towards sociopathic behavior in my youth caused a group of my martial family to come up with the name Lost Tortoise. It was one of the few monikers from that period that stuck.

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