Are there really people without resentment…

02020-06-27 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

Here is a quote from Ursula LeGuin’s book The Lathe of Heaven

“Are there really people without resentment, without hate? she wondered. People who never go cross-grained to the universe? Who recognize evil, and resist evil, and yet are utterly unaffected by it?

Of course there are. Countless, the living and the dead. Those who have returned in pure compassion to the wheel, those who follow the way that cannot be followed without knowing they follow it, the sharecropper’s wife in Alabama and the lama in Tibet and the entomologist in Peru and the mill worker in Odessa and the greengrocer in London and the goatherd in Nigeria and the old, old man sharpening a stick by a dry streambed somewhere in Australia, and all the others. There is not one of us who has not known them There are enough of them, enough to keep us going. Perhaps.”

I read the book a while ago but was reminded of the quote here.


  1. JaneParhamKatz

    At first reading, I felt very moved by this quote. And I was also moved last year by a bio of Ursula LeGuin. Then my mind got involved and I am failing to really understand this. What is the wheel?

    • ottmar

      This will explain some of the language:

      The title of the book is taken from the writings of Chuang Tzu, a Taoist sage I have quoted on this blog many times, specifically this sentence:

      “To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven.”

      Returning in pure compassion to the wheel – that sounds to me like the Bodhisattva vow from Mahayana Buddhism: to keep returning to the wheel of life until all beings are liberated

      • JaneParhamKatz

        Thank you, dear Ottmar. This is beautiful and compelling.


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