Sacred Texts  Taoism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Tao Teh King: A Short Study in Comparative Religion, by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, [1905], at

p. 9


Nature is non-benevolent. It regards all things as straw dogs. 1

The Holy Man is non-benevolent. 2 He regards the masses as straw dogs.

The space between the Heaven and the earth is like a bellows; though unsupported, it does not warp; when in motion the more it expels. 3

Though words could exhaust this theme, they would not be so profitable as the preservation of its inner essence. 4

Nature cares as little for the divisions among men as the ancient Chinese worshippers for the straw dogs which had served their sacrificial functions. The Law of cause and effect, order and sequence (karma), is as exact, universal and scientific in the realm of mind and spirit as in the domain of physics and mathematics. Every language bears in its proverbs deep traces of its workings. Solomon's adage, "He that soweth iniquity shall reap calamity … he that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed," has its counterpart in the sayings of all peoples. Say the Chinese, "Sow beans and

p. 10

you will reap beans; plant melons and you will reap melons. One cannot plant bitter gourds and reap sweet tasting fruit." "Heaven is bountiful to all according to their deserts; on the good it showers felicities, on the not good it inflicts calamity." But though man may not escape the Law, man can deprive it of evil by his attitude towards its results. Hence worshipful humility is more fitting than argument. "Stand in awe and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still." "The Lord is in his holy temple: be silent before him all the earth." The solemn mysteries of life are not to be profaned.


9:1 "Before the grass-dogs are set forth (at the sacrifice) they are deposited in a box or basket and wrapped up with elegantly embroidered cloths, while the representative of the dead and the officer of prayer prepare themselves by fasting to present them. After they have been set forth, however, passersby trample on their heads and backs, and the grass-cutters take and burn them in cooking. This is all they are good for." Chuang Tzu.

Says the Yin-fu-king: "Heaven's greatest mercy is that it is without mercy." See I. Pet. 1-17. Cp. Tao-teh-king, ch. 49.

9:2 Comp. Mr. Sinnett's description of the Adept or Mahatma—"He has attained that love of humanity as a whole which transcends the love of the Maya or illusion;" i.e., he regards all with equal impartiality.—Esoteric Buddhism.

9:3 The Chinese explanation is that the seasons follow each other with unvarying regularity, ever pouring forth new forms of life from its bellows like a mouth providing the wicked and the good alike with all that they require. Cp. Matt. v. 45.

The esotericist will probably be reminded here of Bhuvarloka. See Secret Doctrine, vol. 3, p. 568, et seq.

9:4 "To thee silence is praise, O God."—Delitzsch's translation of Psalm lxv. 1.

Next: Chapter VI