© eric – juin 2010

Le parfait voyageur

samedi 21 octobre 2006, par eric

In the beginning Lieh Tzu was fond of travelling. The adept Hu-ch’iu Tzu said to him, ’I hear that you are fond of travelling. What is it in travelling that pleases you’ ? ’For me’, said Lieh Tzu, ’the pleasure of travelling consists in the appreciation of variety. When some people travel they merely contemplate what is before their eyes ; when I travel, I contemplate the process of mutability.’ ’I wonder,’ said Hu-ch’iu Tzu, ’whether your travels are not very much the same as other people’s, despite the fact that you think them so different. Whenever people look for anything, they are necessarily looking at processes of change, and one may well appreciate the mutability of outside things, while wholly unaware of one’s own mutability. Those who take infinite trouble about external travels, have no idea how to set about the sight-seeing [1] that can be done within. The traveller abroad is dependent upon outside things ; he whose sight-seeing is inward, can in himself find all he needs. Such is the highest form of travelling ; while it is a poor sort of journey that is dependent upon outside things.’

After this Lieh Tzu never went anywhere at all, aware that till now he had not known what travelling means. ’Now’, said
Hu-ch’iu Tzu, ’you may become a traveller indeed ! The greatest traveller does
not know where he is going ; the greatest sight-seer does not know what he is
looking at. His travels do not take him to one part of the creation more than
another ; his sight-seeing is not directed to one sight rather than another.
That is what I mean by true sight-seeing. And that is why I said, "Now you
may well become a traveller indeed !"’

La traduction est d’Arthur Waley.

Pour moi, il ne s’agit pas tant de voyage que
d’installation dans un lieu propice, où je pourrais devenir le voyageur, le
pélerin parfait décrit ci-dessus. N’est-ce pas déjà illusoire ? Comme dit le poète :

Heureux qui, comme Ulysse, a fait un beau voyage,
Ou comme cestuy-là qui conquit la toison,
Et puis est retourné, plein d’usage et raison,
Vivre entre ses parents le reste de son âge !

13 mai 2006


[1The word is applied to
looking at waterfalls, views, etc. ; but also to mystic contemplation.

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