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. 83


The Holy Man is not inflexible, he plans according to the needs of the people.

I would return good for good. I would also return good for evil. 1 Thus goodness operates (or "thus all become good").

I would return trust for trust. I would also return trust for suspicion. Thus trust operates (or "thus all become trustworthy").

The Holy Man as he dwells in the world is very apprehensive concerning it, blending his heart with the whole. 2 Most men plan for themselves. 3 The Holy Man treats every one as a child. 4

The Sage, calm and passionless, without regrets, without desires, having risen above all that is separative, adapts himself to the needs of mankind as water to the shape of the vessel into which it is poured. Knowing that, as a Japanese proverb expresses it, pleasure is the seed of pain, pain is

p. 84

the seed of pleasure (raku wa ku no tané; ku wa raku no tané), he treats all men, the good and the bad, the sincere and the insincere, with equal benevolence. Alfred Sutro records of Maeterlinck that he regarded the humble, the foolish, the saint, the sinner, with the same love and almost the same admiration. "Nothing is contemptible in this world but scorn." "He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust."


83:1 cf. of ch. 63. "The man who returns good for evil is as a tree which renders its shade and its fruit even to those who cast stones at it."—Persian Proverb.

83:2 "In the world good and evil, trustworthiness and hypocrisy arise from too much emphasis being placed on the personality. In this way mutual recriminations and injuries arise, without any standard whereby they may be decided. The Sage, apprehensive concerning these, blends his heart with the whole, and treats all, the good and the bad, the trustworthy and the hypocrite alike."—Su-cheh. Cp. "The Path of Discipleship," by Annie Besant, p. 106.

83:3 Literally "direct their thoughts to their own ears and eyes." My rendering is supported by such commentators as Wang-pi and Ho-shang-kung. The passage has been usually modeled according to the teachings of The Doctrine of The Mean, and made to say that all the people turned their eyes towards the Sage.

83:4 He makes no distinctions but treats all with equal impartiality. The same note was struck by the Hindu Mahabharata—"There is no distinction of castes; the whole world is created by God."

"The friend, or the enemy, is merely the ascription of the desire nature to certain patent facts, and varies with the attitude of the mind."—Studies in The Bhagavad Gitâ, by The Dreamer (The Yoga of Discrimination), p. 79.

Next: Chapter L