Zhuang Zi: Fundamentals for Nourishing Life ~ 《庖丁解牛》 庄子 with English Translations

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小编导读:《庖丁解牛》是先秦道家学派代表人物庄子(庄周)的作品。这是一篇寓言故事,原意是用它来说明养生之道的。文章先描述庖丁解牛的高超技艺,再由庖丁阐述他的解牛之道,并借此揭示了做人做事都要顺应自然规律的道理。此文在写作上采用多种手法,结构严密,语言生动简练,体现了庄子文章汪洋恣肆的特点。

《庖丁解牛》 庄子

吾生也有涯,而知也无涯,以有涯随无涯,殆已!已而为知者,殆而已矣!为善无近名,为恶无近刑。 缘督以为经,可以保身,可以全生,可以养亲,可以尽年。
庖丁为文惠君解牛,手之所触,肩之所倚,足之所履,膝之所踦,砉然響然,奏刀騞然。莫不中音:合于《桑林》之舞,乃中《经首》之会。
文惠君曰:“嘻,善哉!技盖至乎此乎?”
庖丁释刀对曰:“臣之所好者,道也,进乎技矣。始臣之解牛之时,所见无非牛者;三年之后,未尝见全牛也;方今之时,臣以神遇而不以目视,官知止而神欲行。依乎天理,批大隙,导大窾,因其固然。技经肯綮之未尝,而况大軱乎!良庖岁更刀,割也;族庖月更刀,折也;今臣之刀,十九年矣,所解数千牛矣,而刀刃若新发于硎。彼节者有间,而刀刃者无厚;以无厚入有间,恢恢乎其于游刃必有余地矣。是以十九年而刀刃若新发于硎。虽然,每至于族,吾见其难为,怵然为戒,视为止,行为迟,动刀甚微,謋然已解,如土委地。提刀而立,为之四顾,为之踌躇满志,善刀而藏之。”
文惠君曰:“善哉!吾闻庖丁之言,得养生焉。”

Fundamentals for Nourishing Life
Zhuang Zi

There is a limit to our life, but to knowledge there is no limit. To pursue what is unlimited with what is limited is an exhausting undertaking. If we, knowing this, still seek to increase our knowledge, we will be depleted. When doing what is good, keep away from fame. When doing what is bad, avoid punishment. Following the middle course is the way of preserving the body, maintain one’s nature, preserving health and completing one’s natural span of life.
A cook was cutting up an ox for Wen Hui. Wherever his hand touched, his shoulder leaned, his foot tread and his knee thrust, there was the sound of ripping and the sound of slicing, which kept time with the rhythm of the dance of Mulberry Grove and were as melodious as the music of Jingshou.
“Ah! Very good!” Wen Hui said, “How did you achieve such perfection in your skill?”
The cook put down his knife and replied, “What I love is the Tao, which is more advanced than skills. When I first began to cup up an ox, I saw nothing but the whole ox. Three years later, I saw no more the whole ox. Now I deal with the ox in my mind instead of my eyes. The senses stop functioning, but the mind is activated. Following the ox’s natural veins, my knife slips through openings between its muscles and slides through crevices in the joints. I take advantage of what is already there. The knife has never hesitated at the juncture of blood vessels, not to mention the big bones. A good cook changes his knife every year because he uses his knife to cut. An ordinary cook changes his knife every month because he uses his knife to hack. My knife has been in use for nineteen years and has cup up several thousand oxen, and yet its edge is still sharp as if it were newly whetted. There are crevices in the joints, but the blade of the knife ahs no thickness. There is certainly plenty of room for the blade of a knife without thickness to enter the joints where there are crevices. This is why the blade of the knife that has been in use for nineteen years is still sharp as if it were newly whetted. Nevertheless, when I come to a complicated joint and see that there will be difficulty, I proceed cautiously, fixing my eyes on it, moving slowly and cutting gently until the part is quickly separated and drops like a clod of earth to the ground. Then standing with the knife in my hand, I look all around with triumphant satisfaction. I then clean the knife and put it away.”
Wen Hui said, “Very good! From the cook’s words I have learned the way of nurturing life.”

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