The phrase “Palace of Nowhere” comes from a poem by Chuang-Tzu (aka Zhuangzi, 4th century BCE China):
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Master Tung Kwo asked Chuang:
“Show me where the Tao is found.
Chuang Tzu replied:
“There is nowhere, it is not to be found.”
The former insisted:
“Show me at least some definite place
Where Tao is found.”
“It is in the ant,” said Chuang.
“Is it in some lesser being?”
“It is in the weeds.”
“Can you go further down the scale of things?”
“It is in this piece of tile.”
“It is in this turd.”
At this Tung Kwo had nothing more to say.
But Chuang continued: “None of your questions
Are to the point. They are like the questions
Of inspectors in the market
Testing the weight of pigs
By prodding them in their thinnest parts.
Why look for Tao by going ‘down the scale of being’
As if that which we call ‘least’
Had less of Tao?
Tao is Great in all things,
Complete in all, Universal in all,
Whole in all. These three aspects
Are distinct, but the Reality is One.
Therefore come with me
To the Palace of Nowhere where all the many things are One:
There at last we might speak
Of what has no limitation and no end.
Come with me to the land of Non-Doing:
What shall we there say—that Tao
Is simplicity, stillness,
Harmony and ease? All these names leave me indifferent
For their distinctions have disappeared.
My will is aimless there.
If it is nowhere, how should I be aware of it?
If it goes and returns, I know not
Where it has been resting. If it wanders
Here then there, I know not where it will end.
The mind remains undetermined in the great Void. Here the highest knowledge
Is unbounded. That which gives things Their thusness cannot be delimited by things.
So when we speak of ‘limits,’ we remained confined
To limited things.
The limit of the unlimited is called ‘fullness.’
The limitlessness of the limited is called ‘emptiness.’
Tao is the source of both. But it is itself
Neither fullness nor emptiness.
Tao produces both renewal and decay,
But is neither renewal or decay.
It causes being and non-being
But is neither being nor non-being.
Tao assembles and it destroys,
But it is neither the Totality nor the Void.”
The Way of Chuang Tzu, Thomas Merton ISBN-13: 978-1590301432 pp. 141-143