I have been inclined to translate the title of this Book by 'The Fuller Understanding of Life,' with reference to what is said in the second Book on 'The Nourishment of the Lord of Life.' There the Life before the mind of the writer is that of the Body; here he extends his view also to the Life of the Spirit. The one subject is not kept, however, with sufficient distinctness apart from the other, and the profusion of illustrations, taken, most of them, from the works of Lieh-dze, is perplexing.
To use the words of Lû Shû-khî:--'This Book shows how he who would skilfully nourish his life, must maintain his spirit complete, and become one with Heaven. These two ideas preside in it throughout. In par. 2, the words of the Warden Yin show that the spirit kept complete is beyond the reach of harm. In 3, the illustration of the hunchback shows how the will must be maintained free from all confusion. In 4, that of the ferryman shows that to the completeness of the spirit there is required the disregard of life or death. In 5 and 6, the words of Thien Khâi-kih convey a warning against injuring the life by the indulgence of sensual desires. In 7, the sight of a sprite by duke Hwan unsettles his spirit. In 8, the gamecock is trained so as to preserve the spirit unagitated. In 9, we see the man in the water of the cataract resting calmly in his appointed lot. In 10, we have the maker of the bell-stand completing his work as he did in accordance with the mind of Heaven. All these instances show how the
spirit is nourished. The reckless charioteering of Tung Yê in par. 11, not stopping when the strength of his horses was exhausted, and the false pretext of Sun Hsiû, clear as at noon-day, are instances of a different kind; while in the skilful Shui, hardly needing the application of his mind, and fully enjoying himself in all things, his movements testify of his harmony with Heaven, and his spiritual completeness.'