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p. 30


Unheard the dews around me fall,
 And heavenly influence shed:
And silent on this earthly ball
 Celestial footsteps tread.
Night moves in silence round the pole,
 The stars sing on unheard,
Their music pierces to the soul,
 Yet borrows not a word.
Noiseless the morning flings its gold,
 And still the evenings place:
And silently the earth is rolled
 Amidst the vast of space.
In quietude Thy Spirit grows
 In man from hour to hour:
In calm eternal onward flows
 Thy all-redeeming power.
Lord, grant my soul to hear at length
 Thy deep and silent voice:
To work in stillness, wait in strength,
 With calmness to rejoice.

   "In the Grand Beginning of all things there was nothing in all the vacancy of space: there was nothing that could be named. It was in this state that there arose the first existence: the first existence, but still without bodily shape. From this, things could be produced, (receiving) what we call their several characters. That which had no bodily shape was divided, and then without intermission there was what we call the process of conferring. The two processes continued to operate, and things were produced. As they were completed, there appeared the distinguishing lines of each, which we call the bodily shape. That shape was the body preserving the spirit, and each had its peculiar manifestation which we call its nature." Kuang Tzû, translated by Dr. LEGGE.

p. 31


{notes|elucidations and analyses}

   Beginning: Reality: The reality of the Cosmic Spirit. There was an evolution in the non-existence towards the realization of the existene. This process is described in the terms "The Beginning: The Reality." The processes of evolution.

   (1) There was "the beginning:"1 (2) there was a beginning of an anteriority to this beginning: (3) there
Reality Beginnings.
was a beginning of an anteriority even before the beginning of this anteriority. (4) There was "the existence." (5) There was "the non-existence." (6) There was "not yet a beginning of non-existence." (7) There was "not yet a beginning of the not yet beginning of non-existence."

   (1) the meaning of "There was the beginning" is that there was a complex energy which had not yet pullulated into germinal form, nor into any visible shape of root and seed and rudiment. Even then in this vast and impalpable void there was apparent the desire to spring into life; but, as yet, the genera of matter were not formed.

   (2) At "the beginning of anteriority before the beginning" the fluid of heaven first descended and the fluid of earth first ascended. The male and female principles interosculated, prompting and striving among the elements of the cosmos. The forces wandered hither and thither, pursuing, competing, interpenetrating. Clothed with energy, they moved, sifted, separated, impregnated the various elements as they moved in the fluid ocean, each aura desiring to ally itself with another, even when, as yet, there was no appearance of any created form.

   (3) At the stage "There must be a beginning of an anteriority even before the beginning of anteriority," Heaven p. 32 contained the spirit of harmony, but had not, as yet, descended: earth cherished the vivifying fluid, but had not ascended, as yet. It was space, still, desolate, vapoury,—a drizzling humid state with a similitude of vacancy and form. The vitalising fluid floated about, layer on layer.

   (4) "There was the existence" speaks of the coming of creation and the immaterial fluids assuming definite forms," implying that the different elements had become stabilized. The immaterial nuclei and embryos, generic forms as roots, stems, tissues, twigs and leaves of variegated hues appeared. Beautiful were the variegated colours. Butterflies and insects flew hither and thither: insects crawled about. We now reach the stage of movement and the breath of life on every hand. At this stage it was possible to feel, to grasp, to see and follow outward phenomena. They could be counted and distinguished both quantitatively and qualitatively.

   (5) "The non-existence" period. It was so called because when it was gazed on no form was seen: when the ear listened, there was no sound: when the hand grasped, there was nothing tangible: when gazed at, it was illimitable. It was limitless space, profound and a vast void,—a quiescent, subtile mass of immeasurable translucency.

   (6) In "There was not yet a beginning of non-existence," implies that this period wrapped up heaven and earth, shaping and forging the myriad things of creation: there was an all-penetrating impalpable complexity, profoundly vast and all-extending; nothing was outside its operations. The minutest hair and sharpest point were differentiated: nothing within was left undone. There was no wall around, and the foundation of non-existence was being laid.

   (7) In the period of "There was not yet a beginning of the not yet beginning of non-existence," Heaven and Earth were not divided: the four seasons were not yet separated: the myriad things were not yet come to birth. p. 33 Vast-like even and quiet, still-like, clear and limpid, forms were not visible.

   One says, "I can appreciate non-existence, but the non-existence of non-existence is too profound for me to apprehend! How may one come to this apprehension?" These fluxes are most mysterious, beyond the ken of the mind. None can trace the workings of these mysterious operations and penetrate into ultimate depths.2

   Now Heaven has endowed me with a body and given me work in life. It has made it pleasant for me during
Joy of life and death.
old age and has prepared for my dissolution in death.3 The agencies that are good for life are those which are good for death.4 People assume that a boat hidden in a cave, or an island in a lake are safe and firm. Nevertheless a man of mighty
Nothing lost.
strength may carry them away at midnight and escape, without the sleepers knowing anything about it.5

   If the world is hidden in the world, then there is no
Tao does not decay.
possibility of concealing it. In other words the Tao is coextensive with the universe and it is safe from change and decay.

   The emergence of the human form in creation is pleasureable. If man undergoes a myriad transformations
without end, dying and coming to renewed life, this is a source of joy that cannot be expressed. Decay and resurrection are triumphant sources of joy.

   Take an illustration of a person in a dream. He dreams he is a bird flying in the air; he dreams he is a fish lost (immersed) in the pool. In the dream he is insensible of its being a dream: only when he returns to consciousness, does he become aware that it was but a dream. Now is looked on as the time of life; afterwards this now-life will be looked on as a great dream.

   In the prenatal state, how can one know the joys of life? Likewise how can we venture to deny, before we p. 34 die, that death has no joy?

   In ancient times, Kung Niu-ai6 had a fit of madness and, during seven days, was changed into a tiger. His brother peeped in at the door to look at him and was seized by the tiger and killed. Hence the human limbs had changed into the claws and teeth of the wild beast.
A Certain continuity persists when form changes.
Will and mind had changed: spirit and body were transformed, and then he was a tiger. In that state he was ignorant that he had been a human being previously. Just when he was a man, he was totally unaware that he would be a tiger as well. Each of these two alternations had its several pleasures according to the form: but the creature, in the one form, was wholly unconscious of his existence in the other form. The change of state by the substitution was immense; but there was a continuity of pleasure in both the assumed forms. Cunning and stupidity, right and wrong! Who can say how they spring up?7

   Water, on the approach of winter, congeals and becomes ice. Ice meets with spring and melts to become water again. Water and ice are periodic changes of form. In the wheel's revolution of flux, who may imagine which is pain and which is joy? Therefore the bodily form suffers from the rigours of cold, heat, dryness and dampness. The body wastes, but the spirit is hale. On the other hand, the spirit may suffer from the outrages of joy, anger and anxieties. Whilst the vitality of spirit is being exhausted, the form may remain in abundance of strength. Again, when the carcasses of worn-out horses are skinned, the hide is found to be dry and brittle: but the carcass of a young hound, on the other hand, is found to be full of sap, when
Spirit does not die with body.
killed. Hence the ghost of him who has an untimely death (from injury) is troubled. The spirit of him who dies full of years is rigid.8 All these instances indicate that body and spirit do not end together9 and are not identical. Now p. 35 the sage makes use of his mind, leans on his nature, depends on his spirit; and when these are mutually helpful, a tranquil life is lived and ended. Hence he has no dreams during his sleep and has no anxieties during consciousness.10

   The ancients lodged within the realm of the Tao; desire was controlled and passion mastered; and, in
consequence, the spirit did not wander into the extraneous. They derived repose from the calm of creation: they were not disturbed by the baneful effects of comets and the tail of the Great Bear. Though noxious, they refused to be disturbed by their appearances.

   During this period, the people were in a state of Arcadian simplicity: they ate and rambled about: they smacked their stomachs and rejoiced. All together enjoyed the blessings of heaven and ate of the fruits of the earth. They did not wrangle in mutual recriminations, nor dispute over rights and wrongs. Peace and plenty existed. This may be called the Ideal Rule.11

   During such times, rulers employed, in all offices, men who did not confuse the nature of the people.12 There were officers for guiding and cherishing the people without disturbing the spontaneity of virtue in their minds. Therefore the artificial doctrines of humanity and justice12 were absent, and all creation luxuriated and fattened. Without the device of rewards and punishments, the whole empire flocked to pay its tribute. The doctrine is as splendid as it was successful. Nevertheless it is not easy to specify its movements with any detail, just as progress may not be manifest in any one day, though a whole year may show great achievement.

   As the fish forgets its relative existence in the river and lake, so men forget themselves in their relation to the way and art of the Tao. The perfect man (Chen-jen) of ancient time stood in the very root and centre of being, the foundations of Heaven and Earth themselves, and wandered at will, unhasting and free, in this central seat of being. He cherished and diffused virtue, he enkindled p. 36 the spirit of harmony of existence and thus enabled creation to come to full maturity. Which of them, then, would involve himself in the commotions of men, and embroil his soul in the pothers of life?

   Nevertheless the Tao has its rules and principles; its connective relations result in a (Tao) Unity, so that the thousand twigs and myriad leaves are connected and related. Get at the unit, and the interrelations will fall into line.

   Hence, when in office, (the superior man) has the means to diffuse his commands; when out of office, he has the power to forget that he is of little count; when poor, he rejoices in his work; when difficulties assail, he can control
Difficulties show the man.
them. It is only with the arrival of the great cold, when the frost and snow descend, that we become aware of, and appreciate the evergreen of the pine and cypress. Likewise it is only when difficulties confront men, and the ways of danger are trodden, and the path in front is threaded with perils, that we see how the Sage-man never loses the Tao. Therefore the man who can 'put on the doctrine' treads the path of life (securely): he who looks into the mirror of the Great Purity, sees with great clearness. It is the man who can establish the peace of empire who is made king, i.e. regulates the sacrifices and issues the commands. He who perambulates in the regions of reconditeness (tao) has equal lucidity with sun and moon. Consequently, such take the Tao for a rod, virtue for the fishing line; they use etiquette and music for hook, and love and justice for bait. They cast these into the rivers and sea (world), and thus there is nothing that they fail to hook from the abundant life of creation.13

   On the other hand, the person who follows narrow and crooked conventionalism, who tinkers with things, and who in his plans and designs for the reform of human institutions, simply cobbles here and there in altering and improving the ingtitutions of men, acts in a most superficial p. 37
Reforms must not be patchwork.
way, dealing only with extrinsic and trifling things. I grant that they give scope to their wills and find satisfaction to their desires. How much more do they find satisfaction, who cherish the jasper ring (Tao)14 who, forgetful of liver and gall—their very life,—abandon eye and ear15 and are not guided by the play of the senses, but float in the
Tao-men follow Tao not senses.
uncircumscribed, transcendental universe; they do not get contaminated by rubbing with the world, but, going in and out within the spiritual16 frontiers, keep in touch with Heaven and Earth. Is it not so? Men such as these suppress their understanding and cling to the pristine nature, the uncontaminated root. They take no heed of gain and loss,—worthless dust are these,—and look on death and life just as night and day. So when they look upon the Jade Coach17 with its snow-white ivory appearance, when they listen to the pure and crystal tones of the five-reed organ, the equanimity of their soul is not disturbed by these (sensual objects), When they ascend precipitous and lofty heights of T‛ai hang, Fei-hu, Ko-Wang,18 or approach
True to principle.
some deep abyss, which even a monkey would fear to look on, they do not become giddy and lose their balance. They may be likened to the jade of the Kun-lun mountain which, if heated in the fire for three days and nights, loses none of its liquid and soft colour, showing them to be the finest work of nature. We may, hence, see that if life fails to enslave the sage (i.e. he will die if necessary), how, then, will gain move his mind? If death will not thwart him, much less will danger frighten him!

   They who are clear on the distinction of life and death, (i.e. different phases of one thing) and who apprehend the alternations of fortune, will never entertain the idea19 of giving a hair of their leg in exchange for the greatest thing in the world: for empire they will not abandon the Tao.

p. 38

   Such matters as honours and poverty coming on are looked upon as but a passing breath, i.e. a passing phase
of fortune. Slander and backbiting are no more to such a man than the flitting of a mosquito or a gadfly over the body. He holds fast the pristine luminosity and suffers it not to be tarnished. He acts with pure sincerity: there is no jobbing or double-dealing. Placed in darkness, he is not dark; lodging in the cold regions of the Arctic regions, he never succumbs. The Meng-men, Chung-chuang mountains cannot obstruct his course.

   It is only the man with the Tao who is able not to succumb: neither rushing waters, nor whirlpools, nor the depth of the Lu-liang can delay him. The dangers of T‛ai-Hang, Shih-chien, Fei-hu, Ko-wang are no difficulty to him.

   Therefore, he who, voyaging on the rivers and the seas of life, has his mind directed on spiritual pilgrimages into the precincts of the Highest, is the same who is in unity with the One Source (tao). (Or, another rendering. He who mixing with the world, yet keeps his heart in the secret place, is he who is united with the Tao.) Who else would not be defeated?

   Therefore, they who dwell with the perfect man, are led to forget family poverty; and the honourable of the
Influence of the perfect man.
world do not display their splendours when he is present, (one course suffices for the feast), but rejoice in simplicity. In his presence the hero shrivels his martial spirit, and the covetous man suppresses his concupiscence. Sitting down, he has no need to instruct; standing up, he has no need to criticise; and the guest who comes with receptive heart goes away loaded with solid truth. So, without speaking, he quenches the thirst of men with truth. Hence the perfect Tao is wu wei, (an action of the spirit), operating like the action of the dragon or the snake.20 These stretch out or contract, change their form and throw off the skin p. 39 according to the time. Outwardly he follows convention, but inwardly he maintains his nature. His eye and ear are not confused by a show of power, nor is his mind perplexed by doubt. The spirit which he cherishes being uniquely great, he thereby roams in the Great Purity (tao), encouraging and stimulating the whole creation. It may thus be concluded that he who uses his spirit in a complexity of things, loses his spirit; he who nourishes his spirit, the spirit abides.

   The Tao issues from the One fountain21 and communicates with the nine gates22 of Heaven: it is distributed
The great unity.
over the six23 thoroughfares (of existence): it flows over the uncircumscribed frontiers of the universe, by immateriality: it acts on matter by inoperose inaction rather than by operose action (passive evolution). Matter has been acting in the past; therefore all things have followed the tao, not by personal action of the tao, but by evolution of the tao.

   What the dome of Heaven covers, what earth sustains, what the six corners of the earth embraces, what the positive and negative respire, what the rain and clouds moisten and fertilise, and what truth and virtue maintain, all come from the one father and mother24 and are interpenetrated by one harmony. Hence, the oak (in the north) and the orange tree (in the south) are brothers: and the Miao25 and the San Wei25 are one family. The eye watches the flight of geese, the ear listens to the organ, yet, at the
Unity runs through all.
same time, the mind may wing its flight to the distant Yen-men pass. These experiences happen in one body, and the spirit divides itself and roams over the six corners of the world: by one movement it traverses a myriad miles. Hence, from these diversities we see that from that which is near, the liver and gall, i.e. the one body, may move to the far south or the distant north. But looked at from the identity of the person, all things are of one Unity.

   Each school has its own theory, issuing from principles p. 40 peculiar to each, such as the theories of Mei, Yang,
Schools only contain bits of truth.
Shen, Shang26 on the way of government. Now each may be looked on as the rib of one umbrella or as the spoke of a wheel. If the complement number is complete, well: if not, it is of little importance to practical use. These schoolmen considered themselves important, but were not in line with the nature of the universe: their range was small. As to their existence, we may take an example from the smelter in a foundry casting a vessel. It is inevitable that in the casting of an image some drops of the molten mass should be scattered on the ground. As these drops touch the ground, they harden and assume some definite shape. It is possible that such pieces, thus fortuitously formed, will be of some small service; yet they are not to be compared with the Nine-tripod Vessel27 of the Chou house. Much less could they be compared with a vessel the lines of which have been finely drawn. The point is, the tenets of these schoolmen are far and away inferior to the Tao—the body of truth.

   Now the distributions and bifurcations of creation, the divisions of matter into leaves and twigs, roots and branches, all spring from one stock. Though having only one trunk, yet the offshoots branch out into myriad forms. These divisions befall the recipients and not the creative power, "which is unity. Thus, then, these are all recipients and not the giver which is the Tao. The recipients are not givers. The giver embraces everything: he covers the emanations of his creation. These are the reflections of its own giving, and these reflections of the giver are owned, like the cloud which falls and moistens all things: but the cloud is cloud and the moisture is moisture. There is a separation and yet a unity. In giving itself, this unity is not lost and the tao does not change or lose anything. So it is not itself.

   An example of the statement "there is nothing not received" may be had in a thick cloud full of rain, particles p. 41 massed together and distributing themselves in heavy rain. It steeps the myriad things in moisture, but does not get wet itself, i.e. it gives itself to others.

   Now a skilful archer has expediences and contrivances, even as the bow-maker has the skill of rule and compass.
An expert is only expert in his own craft.
Each of these has severally been attained by practice and skill. Each is expert in his own line. The one could not be an expert in the attainment of the other, even as Hsi Chung was incapable of becoming a P‛eng Meng: nor could Tsao Fu be a Pei Lo.28 That is to say, an acquaintance with one locality does not give knowledge of the whole range of a country.

   When an article of purple colour is dyed with black alum, the result will be that the article becomes darker than the dye itself. Likewise when a green article is dyed with indigo blue, it will come out a deeper colour than the dye itself. Though purple is not black, and green not blue, they owe their origin to black and blue respectively, and they can never recover their original shade. The colour gets faint and deteriorates by the dyeing. How much more that which has not yet undergone the creative agency. The transformations have been innumerable which no pen can fully describe.29

   From all this we may learn that there is no matter which has not sprung from that which is past. The varieties are profuse in the extreme.

   Again, the minute autumn hair30 can disappear into the non-spatial, yet, though so minute, it is great compared
Tao is most fine so most pervasive and great.
with the Tao. The thickness of the feathery nexus within the reed is almost equal to nothing, and yet it is thick (compared with the Tao). The Tao, more minute than the hair-like feather of autumn or the thinness of the feathery nexus, spreads out into every cranny and fills infinity: nothing can obstruct or stand in its way: subject, as it is, to the minute and abstruse, it vivifies p. 42 creation and controls its fluxes.31 Its operations are immense. This goes without saying.

   Now a swift wind that will uproot trees is unable to pull out a hair. A lofty tower, in falling, will break the backbone or crush the head of a resident; but small insects will hum as they fly about in the falling ruins. Creeping and moving insects have equally been endowed with nature's springs of action. Nevertheless, it is the class of such minute creatures that can most easily fly, and those creatures of a small and delicate structure that can save themselves most easily. How much more so, then, can that which has not received a corporeal form at all, fly about most easily.

   From such considerations it is clear that the formless produces forms. Hence, the sage man commits his soul to
Form comes from the formless and senses used after Tao illumination.
the spiritual realm and reverts to the beginning of creation.32 He looks into the profound and listens in the voiceless regions.33 He, alone, is clear within the realm of the spirit (profound). Within the immobile void (vast stillness), he, alone, has the illumination. He can use it, because he does not use; but later the non-use gives use: he knows, because he does not know: and afterwards the non-knowing leads to knowing.34

   Now when the firmament was not fashioned, the sun and moon could not run their courses; when the Earth
Honest truth only from the honest man.
was not established, the trees and plants could not be planted. When that which composes the body, was not stabilized, that which is and which is not, had no form.35 Hence, it may be concluded that when the True man is there, true knowledge,36 also, is there. They who hold what is not clear, how can they know that the knowledge I speak of is the knowledge? Now accumulation of kindnesses, abundance of generosity, wealth of love, and such things as persuasive speech, encouragement of the people by p. 43 largess, inducements to the people to the enjoyment and to the delighting of their nature, compose Jen, benevolence.

   To set up great merit, to gain fame, to make real the loyalties of king and ministers, to arrange the regulation of classes, to know laws of kindred and strangers, to divide the classes, to support falling states, to preserve a decaying house, to quell rebellions, to control turmoils, to restore decadent clans, to continue a dying house and to suppress anarchy, compose I, righteousness.37

   (What are the real values?) To close up the avenues of the senses; to repress the ambitions of the mind; to abandon the mere art of cleverness and knowledge and revert to the state of Wu Shih, non-cognition: to roam in the void, as outside the world of sensibility and move in the regions of "nothings" (no affairs); to imbibe the Yin, and exhale the Yang and move in step with the harmony of creation, is Tê. Therefore, where the Tao distributes itself, there is (and constitutes the variety of virtues in man). When these attributes abound and overflow, we have (the real) benevolence, jen, and righteousness, i.38 But when the Confucian school sets up benevolence and righteousness as the ultimate, then the Tao and its attributes Tê are abandoned and lost.

   A large tree39 is cut down and carved into sacrificial cups. It is carved with chisel and foot-measure, with art and skill. It is embellished with the figures of beautiful bells, of dragon, snake, tiger and leopard. It is most decorative.40 But a piece of this timber has fallen as waste. The difference between the carved goblet and the piece which has gone uncarved is the difference between beauty and roughness. All the pieces of timber have lost
Broken away from Tao conduct is artificial.
the natural sap of wood. Likewise, the spirit of man has lost its sap, when dispersed abroad and not rooted in the Tao. Its language is garish: when , the attribute of the tao, is lost, actions become insincere and meretricious. p. 44 This leads to the death of vitality within. Conduct is regulated by environment. When such is the case, it is inevitable that the body has become the slave of matter.

   Now when language is garish and action meretricious, it implies that the spirit has been trading with the senses
Fine manners do not make a gentleman.
(and not dealing with , the attributes of the tao). When words are garish and action meretricious, everything is sought from without and spiritual vitality vanishes and (in the consequent perplexity) endless efforts are resorted to in order to supply the lacunae. This process digorganises the mind and beclouds the spirit, thereby confusing the foundation of life. Since, therefore, the fundamental basis is reduced to a state of uncertainty and the mind imbibes from the external world the base conventions of worldly habits, and since there are disconnections, inconcinnities {sic}, gaps and failures, the inner light becomes misty and dim. As a consequence, there ensues a state of inward conflict, and not a moment of peaceful tranquility can be had.

   The sage-man,41 however, cultivates the tao-method within and makes no outward adornment of benevolence
The sage cultivates Tao first and last.
and righteousness. The impressions conveyed by the senses of eye an ear have no influence on him, but he moves in tune with the soul and spirit. He who is thus minded penetrates the three fountains42 below and seeks the nine entrances into Heaven above. The mind opens out to the frontiers of the earth and penetrates into the depths of creation. This is the sage's movement of spirit.

   But the Chen Jen,43 True Man,43 moves in a still more exalted sphere. He moves in the regions of the completely
The true man moves in spiritual realm.
immaterial and travels the deserts of annihilation. He rides on the Fei Lien44 and follows Tun Yü, (the immortal genii). He journeys into the extra-mundane regions and rests in a spiritual house. He has the ten p. 45 suns for his candle, the wind and rain for his servants, the thunder-lord is his minister, and Kua Fu,45 the genii, is his messenger. He allies himself with the female genii, Mi-fei46 and Chih-nu. How could Heaven and Earth be enough for the operations of such a being?47 Hence the Immaterial and Spiritual is the home of the Tao: equanimity and ease are its nature. Man, on the other hand, driving his soul, disturbs his spirit. He strives after insipid honours and gain: he pursues after the things of the outside world. These efforts all ruin his clarity of spirit and separate him from its true abode.

   (Now take an example of the theme). He who is freezing in winter thinks of the genial warmth of spring. The fevered subject of the heat of summer looks for the cool breezes of autumn. He who has a disease in his system shows it in heightened colour of the face.

   Again the ch‛en tree gives a blue tincture which, when used as a collyrium, will cure inflammation of the eyes; and some snails, also, cure ophthalmia. Infusions for the eye are made from these. Now, were anyone to apply these to an eye without inflammation, they would produce the very disease they would cure and produce obscurity of vision.48

   The means used by the Confucian sage for terrifying
Laws and Punishments not the best.
the world will not be used by the perfect man, (the chen jen of Taoism). The methods used by the Confucian worthies for stemming worldliness will not be applied by the Taoist sage.

   Further, a shallow pool such as an ox can wade will have no foot-long carp in it. The hill, K‛uei-fu, will bear no timber of ten-foot girth, for the reason that the capacity of these hills is limited and they cannot bear anything big. All material things are circumscribed, which, by implication, leads us to understand the immensity of the immaterial and formless. It is the immaterial which creates the great mountains and deep waters. Great is the Tao!

   Moreover, when men are tied by the world, they are p. 46 circumscribed, and the spiritual energies are cramped.
Sensual illusions cramp men.
The body thus languishing, the spirit runs to waste, an emptiness is inevitable. The virtues emanating from the tao in a world of perfect tê gave men a life full of cheerfulness and the elasticity of simplicity and innocence. They moved in the sphere of the original endowment of mind. They consulted their natural instincts and eschewed the sensual illusions of things (were not slaves to the allurements of the world). They looked to the pristine nature49 for a standard of life and roamed unfettered (by the bonds of desire) in the wide fields of nature.

   The Sage, therefore, inhales the fluid of the Yin and Yang, and all creatures, being full of ease, were expectant on his virtue, in order to induce general like-mindedness. At this period, with no governing authority, the people lived their life in quietness. The world was a unity without division into classes nor separation into orders (lit: a disorgnised mass): the unaffectedness and homeliness of the natural heart had not, as yet, been corrupted: the spirit of the age was a unity, and all creation was in great affluence. Hence, if a man with the knowledge of 'I'50 appeared, the world had no use for him.

   Following the course of history until we come to the decay of the world, we arrive at the times of Mr. Fu Hsi.51
Simplicity lost in the complexity of life from new learning.
His principles seemed profound and vast, breathing the spirit of virtue and cherishing the feeling of cordiality. These influenced and stirred the people: and so there appeared, for the first time, the desire for learning and its concrete fruits. The people began to abandon simplicity of heart and they tended to become sensible to the allurements of the universe. Therefore, their virtue became dissipated over many interests, so that it was difficult to preserve unity.

   However, it was with the advent of Shen Nung52 and Huang Ti53 that there arose a division and separation of p. 47
A veiled attack on the policies of the time.
the main elements of life. The spirit of enquiry led men to penetrate into and regulate the principles of the celestial and terrestrial hemispheres. They applied Yin and Yang to natural events and harmonized or adjusted the theories of the hard and soft elements, thus producing the different divisions and classifications of creation. They gave each thing its laws and place. Whereupon the people began to be inquisitive (stare and gape) and interested. All were in an attitude of attention and expectation through ear and eye. Hence, the spirit of cooperation was lost in government by the rise of private opinion.

   When we come to a still later time, to the periods of K‛un Wu and Hsia Hou, we find that the desires of men were centred on the material and sensual: their intelligence was allured by the objective impression of the senses, so that they lost hold of the central principles of life.

   Proceeding still further, we come to the decay of the House of Chou. Purity was vitiated, simplicity
Rise of ceremonies etc.:
disappeared. Truth was adulterated by various opinions, and virtue was restrained in its operation by hurtful actions. Specious theorists (schismatics) sprung up like mushrooms. With the decay of the Chou House, the true kingly way, too, fell. Confucian and Meian54 theories then, first, came into being. With the rise of private opinion, recusancy and polemics began. Whereupon the philosophies of Yang and Mei54 rose and strove for equality with the sage.55 By plausible and specious theories, the orthodox55 was slandered and the multitude captivated. Confucian writers, too, set up their own schools of music and dances; and, by embroidering their talk with quotations from the Odes, they 'bought' fame and became renowned in the world. The system of ceremonies in imperial interviews or social intercourse became excessive; the fashions in dress became luxurious. A crowd of assistants was not sufficient to meet all the changing ceremonies, nor the accumulation of wealth enough p. 48 to meet all the extravagant expenses. At this juncture, the people first began to form themselves into schools and parties, each desiring to carry out its own opinion and specious views, and become the oracles of the world. By
Loss of the Reality.
such a show of cleverness and knowledge, they won reputation and êclat. But the people, groping in the wilderness of bewilderment, lost the fundamental ideal of life.

   But the wherefore of losing the soul{56,} 57 by men was a matter of long process: the causes of decay and
This loss gradual.
deterioration came on gradually and imperceptibly. The causes were old. Hence the doctrine of the Sage is, by the desire of returning nature to the original, to exercise the mind in non-desire (Hsu).58 The schoolmen's59 doctrine is, by desiring (freedom of nature) to exercise nature in deep knowledge, to have the consciousness of the abstruse. But as to popular and conventional philosophy, it is different (i.e. Confucian classics) from either of the foregoing. Its eclectic ethic cramps nature, leading to an inward anxiety of spirit and an
Worldly renown useless.
outward misuse of eye and ear. And, for the first time, we have the rise of a minor philosophy dealing with the small and insignificant details of things to the detriment of the spiritual values, dissipating the practices of benevolence, etiquette and music, so that they could not act, using them with an unusual cleverness to gain a name and renown in the world. This was not at all praiseworthy, and, personally, I refuse to imitate them. I hold it is better to have the true ease of spiritual culture than the sweets
Value of life important.
of empire. It is better to roam in the infinitude of naturalness and have a true apprehension of the relationship between the visible and the invisible,60 than to have the pleasure of glory and renown. To possess a well-ordered life and have a logical apprehension of Being and non-Being61 is the great thing. Universal praise adds no p. 49 encouragement to such a man, nor would there be any abatement of purpose, even were the whole realm to be hostile. These men have a clear and definite idea of the value of life and death, and a clear perception of that which constitutes honour and shame.

   Were fire or flood to overwhelm the world, the spirits of these men would not quail, nor would it give them any surprise. Thus they look upon this span of life as but a feather wafted on the winds, or a floating straw on the waters, (Empire and its glories are but a bubble). Who, then, would wish to centre his thoughts on this material and passing world!

   The nature of water is to be clear and pure; but it is made turbid by the soil. The disposition of man is serene and tranquil; but lust and desire have disturbed it. What men have received from Heaven are such things as the sense of the ear's power of hearing, the eye's appreciation of colour, the sense of taste and smell, by mouth and nose; the sense of cold and heat, through skin and nerve. The passions (Ch‛ing) are one. How is it, then, it may be asked, that some are clever and some almost stupid? The difference lies in the way of control (one governs himself by the outward or senses; the other governs himself by the inward or the tao).

   It is clear, then, that the soul is the well of intelligence. When the well is clear, the intelligence will be pellucid. The intelligence is the store-house of the mind. When the intelligence is correct, the mind will be just. Men don't make mirrors of rushing waters, but make mirrors of still waters, because it is quiet. Men don't peer into mirrors of rough metal for seeing the form, but into burnished metal, in order to see their images; and this, because of its evenness. Now, evenness and stillness are qualities that can reveal the nature of other things. From which consideration it may be concluded that the positive rests on the negative, i.e. movement rises from quiescence: or water and metal are unconscious of having qualities that can be of p. 50 service. Hence, the empty room, i.e. the unsullied heart, begets the white, that is to say the tao; and blessings come to rest there.62

   A bright mirror cannot be defiled by dust: the appetites cannot disorganise a soul that is pure.63 The spirit that
Light and truth come from within not from ear and eye.
is scattered and dissipated in the external senses, and the efforts to restore it by works, is nothing other than the neglect of the root and the attempt to restore it by cultivation of the branches. There is no correspondence between the outward and the inward: the desire to get in contact with things bedims the original light and is nothing but a search for knowledge through ear and eye. What is this but the abandonment of the brilliancy of the (tao) and the pursuance of truth through the obscurity of the senses? This is what is called losing the tao.

   When the mind has an objective, the spirit follows and is held there. When a return is attempted to the realm of the spirit, passion, (tao) and then concupiscence are held in check only by effort. It is thus the sage nourishes the spirit.

   Hence the rulers of ancient time felt the necessity of an understanding of the real facts of nature and of the
Unity in diversity.
human lot (the rich, poor, educated and illiterate, etc.). Though their actions were not all alike, yet their agreement with the tao was one.

   Furs are not worn in summer, not because people are not fond of furs, but because of the oppressive heat. Fans are not wanted in winter, not because people dislike them, but because the air is already cool enough.

   The Sage eats just enough to satisfy his wants, and wears just sufficient clothes to cover his person.64 He
limits expenditure on himself truly. How, then, could impurity and concupiscence spring up in his heart! Therefore, were empire within his grasp, p. 51 he would not look at it as his own (from a selfish idea): or, had such an one the capacity to govern, he would not want to do so. It is not worth it. Were fame to come to him! Well! He would never make an effort to seek it. The Sage has that which can be followed: pursuing this, the appetites and desires cease.

   Kung and Mei's disciples taught the methods of benevolence and justice to the world: nevertheless, they could not
Artificial moralities inferior.
personally be free from anxieties, since, being without power, they failed to put these virtues into operation. How much more so was it the case with their successors. Why this failure? Their tao was an outside one. (They treated the matter extraneously and not fundamentally). They proceeded backward, by starting with the accidental and extrinsic65 they tried to return to the fundamental,—a process that Hsü Yu66 would not use. And where he would fail,
Purity gives power.
the majority of people would never succeed. Given real permeation into the nature of life, benevolence and justice will be found to follow; they will accompany and be the result of a sincere nature. There are no likes and dislikes (bias) to trip the heart.67

   When the soul is not clogged with desires, nor the mind loaded with sophism, the inward light is clear and penetrating and the mind easy and at leisure from the weight of the senses; unclogged and unobstructed, it meets every impression of the senses without bias and in serenity,—a state which no force can beguile, which no sophist with cunning words can shake, which no voluptuousness or licentiousness can seduce, nor art and beauty submerge, which no clever man can move or shake, nor a powerful man frighten. This is the Tao of the True Man. Such a person as this shapes creation and cooperates with the Creator in governing man. Nothing in Heaven or Earth can rob him of immortality!

   The power which brings about organic life does not p. 52 die itself,68 nor does the transformer of inorganic things
Polished scholarship not enough.
change. The spirit69 crosses the Lu Mountain and the T‛ai Hang without finding difficulty. It enters the Four Seas and the Nine Rivers70 without getting soaked. Placed in the narrowest and most exiguous space, it is not cramped; stretched out over the vast regions of the Universe, it can do so without 'panting.' He who does not comprehend this (who has not this secret), though his eyes were keen enough to count an innumerable herd of sheep, his ears fine enough to distinguish the eight musical tones, his feet nimble enough to dance the Yang Ah and his hands adroit enough te beat the time of the Yen Shui;71 though he knows the profundities of creation, and his perspicacity is clear as sun and moon, though he could juggle with words72 and were his arguments as polished as the lustre of jade and stone, such accomplishments were vain and unprofitable in the government of men.

   Quiescence and ease, contemplation and meditation, ease and tranquillity (free from passions) are the means for nourishing the nature. Harmony and happiness, unaffectedness and freedom from passions (Hsü wu) are the means
He who has Tao has all.
for nourishing tê, virtue. When the outward senses do not produce inward perturbations, then nature finds its true centre. When passions (hsing) do not move the harmony (of mind), then tê, virtue, is settled in its sphere. When life is nourished to pass through life73 and virtue is cherished to win full years, this may be called the embodiment of the Tao. In the case of such people there is no irregularity in their pulses nor noxious humours in their system. Neither bane nor blessing can disturb their life. Neither criticism nor praise can raise the least irritation. In this way Perfection is reached.

   Nevertheless who can reach this standard without a proper environment? Such a man might, indeed, appear; but if the times were unpropitious, even his life would p. 53 not be safe. The man without the tao would be much less likely to keep free of entanglements.

   Further, the senses, (ear and eye) of men are in contact with and respond to impressions. The mind and
Longing for quiet and freedom.
will are cognitive of anxiety and joy; the hand and foot feel the itch of things. People want to avoid heat and cold. When a wasp or scorpion bites the finger, the spirit is restless; when a mosquito or gnat (gadfly) bores the skin, the mind is ill at ease.

   The onset of troubles and anxiety harass the mind of men to a far greater degree than do the poisonous sting of wasp and scorpion or the annoying pain of the bite of a mosquito. And the longing for quiet, solitude, detachment and freedom from passion, cannot but be strong. How can it be attained?

   Again, when the eye examines the speck of autumn hair, the ear does not hear the clap of thunder: when the ear is intent on distinguishing and harmonizing the sounds of the jade and stone, the eye does not see the height of the T‛ai Shan. What then? It is just this. When the little commands attention, the great is often lost. Now the onset of the world upheaves our nature and stirs the passions
Most easy to sully the spirit.
in a continuous stream, like the flow of a fountain. Though one desired to break away wholly from them, such a wish could hardly be realized.

   Trees planted and cultivated by the work of ten men, by means of irrigation and fertilisation, could be pulled up by one man and a clean sweep made of every vestige in one night. How much more so were the whole country to engage in the work of destruction of what has been planted! Though a desire existed for a lengthy life, how could it be attained? Take again the example of a bowl of turbid water standing in some hall. It would take more than a day for it to settle and become so transparent that the eye-lashes could be seen p. 54 reflected: on the other hand, it can he made turbid in a moment, so that you could not distinguish square from round in it. Man's spirit is easily befouled and most difficult to clarify: it is very similar to the example given by the bowl of water. How much befouled the soul would be if the pollution had been continued through a long time. Moreover, how can the spirit find a moment's peace, subject to the worries and cares and temptations of the world?74

   In the golden age75 of ancient time, the shopman found pleasure in his shop, and the farmer had joy in his farming; the minister found peace in his affairs and the retired scholars cultivated the way (of the ancient kings). At that time, winds and rains did not destroy nor injure the
Advance the Tao.
trees nor did plants die prematurely: the nine tripods76 were heavy: the jade and pearl were lustrous. The Lo river threw forth the Red book;77 the Yellow river emitted the Green plan (map);78 Hsü Yu, Fang Hui, Shan Chuan, Pei I,79 therefore, were able to get an understanding of their doctrines.

   How did this come about? Because the masters of men (kings) truly desired to advance the interests of the empire; hence these four men found the opportunity and leisure to advance the practice of the Truth (Tao). It was not that these four men had such perfect talents that they were superior to all others, but no one else could compete with them in the lustre of their teaching, because they fell on the favourable times of Tang and Yü.80 But when we come to the epochs of Chieh of Hsia and Chou of Yin,
and the world will have peace.
these monsters roasted men alive, they put good men that dared to criticise them on the top of poles, forcing them, by the heat of irons, to fall into the lake of fire below, laughing at their agony. They cut open the hearts of the worthy, and exposed the tendons of hardy men.81 They made mince-meat of the daughter of Kuei Hou, and ground the bones of Mei Pei.

   During these monstrosities, the Jao mountain tumbled p. 55 down, and the three rivers ran dry. Flying birds were wounded in the wings and walking wounded beasts limped along.

   It would be wrong to say that it was only during these periods there were no sages. The fact was they could not do anything to put their teaching into practice, since they fell on uncongenial times. Birds even at the height of a thousand jen,82 and beasts stalking in the depth of
Environment important.
thick reeds, were not safe from the untimely shafts of the hunter. How much more difficult, then, was the lot of the masses! From this we may see that the practice of the Truth does not lie with the professor alone but also hangs on the condition of the age,

   The city of Li Yang83 (Yang Chow) was turned into a lake, in one evening. Valour, talent, as well as timidity, the godly and the ungodly were all caught and engulfed.

   A favourable wind on the height of the Wu mountain carried a fire forward, consuming the finest tallow-trees and medicinal grasses, as well as the common plants and grasses. The fishes in the Yellow River fail to see, on account of the turgid waters: the tender and late grains fail to mature, because of untimely frosts. These are the results of naturally unfavourable circumstances.

   Likewise, when there is proper government, the foolish and stupid individuals cannot alone produce anarchy. Similarly, the wise, alone, cannot, without cooperation, induce a proper government. Treading in the way of an anarchical world and failing to put into operation the Tao, as he would, is a situation similar to that of shackling Ch‛i and I84 together, and expecting them to do the full journey of a thousand li. Place a monkey in a cage, and he will be like a pig showing none of his nimbleness and pranks, since he has no room for exercising these. Shun's
A favourable destiny.
ploughing and hoeing could be of no benefit to his native village. When he was made King, however, his virtue spread over the four p. 56 quarters of the empire; not on account of any more overflowing of merit, but due, rather, to being favourably placed. An influential position gives the opportunity.

   The Sages-of-old, were men of harmony, joy, ease, and quietude that pertained to their nature. But it was the favourable destiny (of place and position) that made it possible for them to propagate the doctrine.

   Hence, when nature is seconded by destiny, things will go: when destiny is seconded by nature, everything will be clear. The Wu Hao bow, the Hsi Tzŭ crossbow, could not be shot without the string. The small boats of Yueh, and the few plank boats of Szechuen cannot be floated without water.

   When the air above is full of the darts of the crossbow, and the earth beneath is spread full of nets and snares, though one were to desire to soar high and stir the world by his teachings, it could not be done. At the Odes say:—

'I was gathering and gathering the mouse-ear,'
'But could not fill my shallow basket,'
'With a sigh for the man of my heart,'
'I placed it there on the high way.'

Odes Pt. I. Bk. I. Ode 3.   

   A longing is expressed in these words for the days—the golden age—of the long past.