Lieh Tzu and Yin Sheng

Lieh Tzu had Lao Shang for his teacher and Po Kao Tzu for his friend.

When he had fully mastered the systems of these two philosophers he rode home on the wings of the wind. Yin Sheng heard of this and became his disciple.

He dwelt with Lieh Tzu for many months without returning to his own home. While he was with Lieh Tzu he begged to be initiated into the secret arts.

Ten times he asked and each time received no answer.

Becoming impatient Yin Sheng announced his departure but Lieh Tzu still gave no sign. So Yin Sheng went away, but after many months, his mind still unsettled, he returned and became Lieh Tzu’s disciple once more.

Lieh Tzu said to him: ‘Why this incessant going and coming?’

Yin Sheng replied: ‘Some time ago, I sought instruction from you but you would not tell me anything. That made me angry with you. But now I have gotten over that feeling, and so I have come again.’

Lieh Tzu said: ‘Formerly, I used to think you were a man of insight, have you now fallen so low? Sit down and I will tell you what I learned from my Master…

‘After I had served him and enjoyed the friendship of Po Kao for the space of three years, my mind did not venture to reflect on right and wrong. My lips did not venture to speak of profit and loss. Then, for the first time, my Master bestowed one glance upon me, and that was all.’


Picture from a Daoist text by Lie Yukon.