Lack of talents in state of Lu

The king of State of Lu met the visiting Zhuangzi and told him: “My state is lack of talents in Taoism like you though we have a lot of talents in Confucianism.”

Zhuangzi heard the judgement and said: “the talents in Confucianism are also rare nor to mention those in Taoism.”

The king asked Zhuangzi: “You can see almost all our people are wearing clothing of the Confucianism, on what ground could you make such judgement?”

“I heard that in the Confucian costume, wearing round hat represents experts on astronomical literature; square shoes mean master of geography; wearing multicolored ribbon and jade ornaments means being decisive.” Zhuangzi saw the king was listening carefully, and then expressed his opinion:” In fact, those true Confucians do not necessarily wear the costume while those wearing the costume are not all having good knowledge in Confucianism”.

Zhuangzi suggested the king that “if My Lord is not believing in me, you can release a national order requesting that that Confucians without good knowledge but wearing the Confucian costume will all be killed.”

The king adopted Zhuangzi’s suggestion, five days later no more Confucians wearing the Confucius costume were seen except one person who was then summoned into the King’s palace. The man was orally tested by the king and was considered as talent in Confucianism. However it did prove that there was a lack of talents despite what the king had claimed.

This fable reminds us that knowledge and capabilities are not linked with the clothing. When a thinking or religion becomes prevailing, there will be a number of “experts” coming up but they may not be knowledgeable really as they seem to be.

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