Too much knowledge leads to overactivity;
Better to calm the mind.
The more your consider, the greater the loss;
Better to unify the mind.
Excessive thinking weakens the will.
The more you know, the more your mind is confused.
A confused mind gives rise to vexation.
The weakened will obstructs the Tao.
Don't say there is no harm in this;
The ensuing pain may last forever.
Don't think there is nothing to fear;
The calamities churn like bubbles in a pot.
Specks of dust not wiped away
Will become the five mountains.
Protect the branches to save the roots;
Though a small matter, it is not trivial.
Close the seven orifices;
Shut off the six senses.
Pay no heed to forms;
Do not listen to sounds.
Listening to sounds, you become deaf,
Observing forms you become blind.
Literature and art
Are but busy gnats in the air;
Technique and ability
A solitary lamp in the sun.
Those able and talented ones
Are really stupid fellows.
Discarding the pure and simple
They drown in too much beauty.
Consciousness is an untamed horse;
The mind is an unruly monkey.
If the spirit is overactive,
The body will sicken and die.
Wrong conduct ends in delusion;
Those treading this path become mired in the mud.
To regard ability as precious
Is called confusion.
To exaggerate clumsiness and covet skill
Does not lead to great virtue.
Of much fame but little contribution
Their reputations quickly crumble.
Merely reading books
Is of no lasting value.
Being upwardly proud
Brings the enmity of others.
Or written words
To gain the praise of others
Is something most repulsive.
What common people regard as auspicious
The sage takes as evil.
The enjoyment gathered is fleeting
But the sorrow is everlasting.
Beware of shadows and tracks;
The farther you leave them, the better.
Sitting upright in the shade of a tree,
Neither traces nor shadows remain.
Worries of birth and distress of old age
Are products of your own thoughts.
If the mind's thinking is ended,
Birth and death are forever cut off.
Not dying, not born,
Without form or name,
The Tao is empty and tranquil.
The myriad phenomena are equal.
What is of value? What is cheap?
Where is there shame or glory?
What is excellent or inferior?
How can there by heavy or light?
The clear sky puts purity to shame.
No brightness compares to the brilliant sun.
Stable as Mount T'ai.
Steady as a golden wall.
I respectfully present this poem to all virtuous ones
So that this Tao will forever remain.
~Shih Wang Ming~
6th C., A.D.
I just finished reading an article one of my sisters sent from Slate entitled: Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that's dangerous. If you're on my FB, you find the link there; if not, you can find the article here.
This poem, written so many centuries ago, ties in the with article, I think.
Click on image to enlarge it.