This quote was at the beginning of a chapter in a book on XSLT I'm currently reading:

This is indeed a useless tree. This is why it has grown to such a height. The wise should take this as an example. -Zhuang Zi




I've been a useless tree my whole life. Cool.

Here's a whole paragraph of that parable:

Tzu-ch'i of Nan-po was wandering around the Hill of Shang when he saw a huge tree there, different from all the rest. A thousand teams of horses could have taken shelter under it and its shade would have covered them all. Tzu-ch'i said, "What tree is this? It must certainly have some extraordinary usefulness!" But, looking up, he saw that the smaller limbs were gnarled and twisted, unfit for beams or rafters, and looking down, he saw that the trunk was pitted and rotten and could not be used for coffins. He licked one of the leaves and it blistered his mouth and made it sore. He sniffed the odor and it was enough to make a man drunk for three days. "It turns out to be a completely unusable tree," said Tzu-ch'i, "and so it has been able to grow this big. Aha!--it is this unusableness that the Holy Man makes use of!"

Chuang Tzu, Basic Writings (Burton Watson trans.) (Columbia 1964.) p. 61.




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on January 8, 2003 3:57 PM.

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