Ox Mountain

The trees on Ox Mountain were once beautiful. However because the mountain is on the borders of a great state, they were cut down with axes and saws, so how could they retain their beauty? Yet they continued through the cycle of life and the feeding of the rain and dew to put forth buds and new leaves. But the cattle and the goats came and browsed amongst the trees and destroyed them.

This is why the mountain is now bare and stripped. People look at it and think this is how it has always been. But this is not the true nature of the mountain. And this is also the case with humanity. Surely we were not without benevolence and righteousness? The way in which a person loses their true goodness is just like the way that trees are destroyed by the axe. Cut down day after day, how can the mind, anymore than the tree, retain its beauty or continue to live?

Mencius

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