WaltS Corner of the Web

WaltS Corner of the Web
"It all began circa 1994, 1983, 1978, 1977, 1975, 1971, 1965, 1947, depending..."

The Many Faces of Man...

The Four Ages of Man - Anne Bradstreet

Lo now! four other acts upon the stage,
Childhood, and Youth, the Manly, and Old-age.
The first: son unto Phlegm, grand-child to water,
Unstable, supple, moist, and cold's his Nature.
The second: frolic claims his pedigree;
From blood and air, for hot and moist is he.
The third of fire and choler is compos'd,
Vindictive, and quarrelsome dispos'd.
The last, of earth and heavy melancholy,
Solid, hating all lightness, and all folly.

The Seven Ages of Man - Act 2, Scene VII - As You Like It - Shakespeare

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

The Hall of 3 Doctrines - Li Mei Ching - Translated Arthur Smith

Many years ago, there was a village that had a temple dedicated to the Three Doctrines, where there were images of Buddha, Confucius and Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism.

One day a group of passing Confucian students went into the temple to pay their respects. When they saw the image of Buddha in the central position, they were very angry and they moved the image to one side and put the image of Confucius in it's place. To justify their actions, they left a poem explaining that Confucianism was the best of the Three Doctrines and that only by following Confucius was it possible to attain enlightenment.

Three Schools there are of Doctrines - the Confucian heads them all,
With its golden list of graduates within the thorny wall;
They stand upon Behemoth's head, bestride the splendid steed,
Who knows not that in Fame and Wealth 'tis we that best succeed ?
To these Preposterous Priests alike such pleasures are denied,
Nor could they in ten thousand ages gain them if they tried.

Shortly after this, a group of Taoist students passed by and entered the temple to pay their respects. When they saw the image of Confucius in the central position, they too were very angry and moved it to one side and placed the image of Lao Tzu in the middle. They also left a poem, explaining that only Taoism offered enlightenment and that everyone else was misguided.

The Sect of Reason towers sublime and takes the leadership,
Its boastful rivals can't stretch up to touch the Taoist hip;
To banquets in the Heavenly Halls we only may repair,
The Peach of Immortality with us does Wang Mu share.
To Buddhists and Confucianists our pleasures are denied,
Nor could they in ten thousand ages gain them if they tried.

Finally, a group of Buddhists entered the temple to pay their respects and seeing the image of Lao Tzu in the central position, they were angry and just as the others had so before them, moved the image of Buddha to the central position. They too left a poem, explaining that only through the teachings of Buddha, was it possible to become enlightened.

The Buddhist Doctrine is the best - our eyes we seal up tight,
Reflecting on a vacuum will flood the soul with light.
Thus seated on a lotus stage our rushy mats we spread,
The Hell within is purged away and Heaven is gained instead,
These Taoists and Confucianists are ludicrously blind,
How can a glow worm's light compete with the Sun and the Moon

As the Buddhists left the temple, they met the other two groups and as dispute began, each group insisting that the others were wrong.

Just as the situation was turning into a serious conflict, an old man suddenly appeared and asked all the groups to follow him into the temple. When everyone was inside, he produced a poem that he had written, pointing out that they all shared the same common principles.

At first were Five Existences and then the Heavens were framed,
The Prince who grasped the mighty truth his doctrines now proclaimed.
First was created Metal, Wood with Water, Fire and Earth,
But Life and Sickness, Age and Death had all a later birth.
The Constant Virtues last were fixed, to guide the human course;
The Three Religions thus are seen to have one common source.
I urge you all to cease disputes and wranglings for the lead,
The power to talk, but not to act, is valueless indeed.

After everyone had heard the Old Man's poem, the Confucianists, the Taoists and the Buddhists were all filled with shame and they all left the temple, highly embarrassed by their actions...

The Many Faces of a Man...

2005 - 58

1965 - 18

1971 - 24

1973 - 26 1976 - 29

2002 - 55

1969 - 22

1979 - 32

2001 - 55

1983 - 36

1996 - 49

1992 - 45

1988 - 41

1985 38


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