He said, “There was a good man who owned a vineyard. He leased it to tenant farmers so that they might work it and he might collect the produce from them. He sent his servant so that the tenants might give him the produce of the vineyard. They seized his servant and beat him, all but killing him. The servant went back and told his master. The master said, ‘Perhaps <they> did not recognize <him>.’ He sent another servant. The tenants beat this one as well. Then the owner sent his son and said, ‘Perhaps they will show respect to my son.’ Because the tenants knew that it was he who was the heir to the vineyard, they seized him and killed him. Let him who has ears hear.”
The Gospel of Thomas
Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, earnestly carry it into practice. Scholars of the middle class, when they have heard about it, seem now to keep it and now to lose it.
Scholars of the lowest class, when they have heard about it, laugh greatly at it. If it were not (thus) laughed at, it would not be fit to be the Tao.
The Tao is hidden, and has no name; but it is the Tao which is skilful at imparting (to all things what they need) and making them complete.
Tao Te Ching
It is in the three earlier stages that the pain-aspect of sacrifice is seen. The first meets but small sufferings; in the second the physical life and all that earth has to give may be sacrificed; the third is the great time of testing, of trying, of the growth and evolution of the human soul. For in that stage duty may demand all in which life seems to consist, and the man, still identified in feeling with the form, though knowing himself theoretically to transcend it, finds that all he feels as life is demanded of him, and questions: “If I let this go, what then will remain?” It seems as though consciousness itself would cease with this surrender, for it must loose its hold on all it realises, and it sees nothing to grasp on the other side.