No use fretting over gold, beauty or fame;

by Loy Ching-Yuen

English version by Thomas Cleary
Original Language Chinese

No use fretting over gold, beauty or fame;
Nurturing these, how can we calm
Our fluttering heart?
Non attachment brings deep truth,
And a truthful nature brings immortality.
Empty your heart,
Sit quietly on a mat.
In meditation we become one with All;
Tao billows like the vapors
In a mountain valley,
And its supernatural power wafts into our soul.

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

I really like this poem, its calm clarity.

Fretting over "gold, beauty or fame..." What does that get us? Even if we succeed and attain wealth, attractiveness, or popularity, it is tainted by the now ingrained habit of fretting. The satisfaction we imagined in their acquisition is lost to us, or fleeting at best. And each of those things will be inevitably lost in the cycles of time anyway -- and we know it, so the acquisition is further tainted by the fear of their loss. Having poured so much life energy into acquiring them, there is no peace or enjoyment, just a "fluttering heart."

The way to possess the objects of our desire is not to possess them at all, but to merge with them.

In meditation we become one with All

The human soul recoils from loss. The sticky self, having grown attached to the objects of its desires, views their loss as a loss of some part of itself. Because of attachment, each loss is perceived as a death. Yet this is a fluid world, a world of unavoidable comings and goings. To the self that endlessly attaches itself to external things, it is a world of a thousand small deaths. Amidst the constant fear of death, the truth of one's eternal nature is lost.

The solution, Loy Ching-Yuen reminds us, is in non-attachment:

Non attachment brings deep truth,
And a truthful nature brings immortality.


Non-attachment here does not necessarily mean renunciation, becoming a monk or living in a mountain cave somewhere. Non-attachment means non-identification. A person, an experience, or an object may be important and appropriate in your life, and is therefore to be cherished. But your fundamental identity remains settled within your heart. External movements do not tug at your sense of self. You can finally witness reality as it is from the supreme security of your true nature.

Loss and death have no claim on you. This is Loy Ching-Yuen's immortality.

And it is naturally so. It doesn't even require work on our part. We must simply, quietly watch the process happen

Tao billows like the vapors
In a mountain valley,
And its supernatural power wafts into our soul.



Recommended Books: Loy Ching-Yuen

The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World's Great Wisdom Traditions The Book of the Heart: Embracing the Tao The Supreme Way: Inner Teachings of the Southern Mountain Tao





No use fretting