"Fish-hawks gaze at each other with motionless eyes,—and their young are produced. The male of a certain insect chirps with the wind while the female chirps against it,—and their offspring is produced. There is another animal which, being an hermaphrodite, produces its own offspring. Nature cannot be changed. Destiny cannot be altered. Time cannot stop. Tao cannot be obstructed. Once attain to Tao, and there is nothing which you cannot accomplish. Without it, there is nothing which you can accomplish."
For three months after this Confucius did not leave his house. Then he again visited Lao Tzŭ and said, "I have attained. Birds lay eggs, fish spawn, insects undergo metamorphosis, and mammals suckle their young.
- Lit. "when a younger brother comes, the elder cries,"—from which may be inferred the meaning in the translation.
- The whole sentence signifies that every development proceeds according to fixed laws. It is useless to try to do anything. Nature is always self-similar.
For a long time I have not been enlightened. And he who is not enlightened himself,—how should he enlighten others?"
Lao Tzŭ said, "Ch'iu, you have attained!"
- "The style of this chapter," says Lin Hsi Chung, "gives it a foremost place among the 'outside' essays of Chuang Tzŭ. But the insertion of that dialogue between Confucius and Lao Tzŭ on charity and duty towards one's neighbour is like eking out a sable robe with a dog's tail."