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"To every form of being is assigned
An active principle:—howe'er removed
From sense and observation, it subsists
In all things, in all natures: in the stars
Of azure Heaven, the unenduring clouds,
In flower and tree, in every pebbly stone
That paves the brooks, the stationary rocks,
The moving waters and the invisible air.
Whate'er exists hath properties that spread
Beyond itself, communicating good,
A simple blessing, or with evil mixed:
Spirit that knows no insulated spot,
No chasm, no solitude; from link to link
It circulates, the soul of all the worlds."
Wordsworth. Excursion. Book VI, 1-15.

   Christianity has, also, found a difficulty in finding a term to express the Divine Being; and so, sometimes, it has been left and expressed under the general term, THE NAME. Christian doctrine found that the term "God" did not adequately express the great idea in the one word, but was more complete under the threefold expression: "Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

p. 2



{notes|elucidations and analyses}

   The Cosmic Spirit (Tao)1 embraces Heaven and supports Earth. It stretched the four quarters of the
The properties of the Tao.
Universe and generated the eight points of the the firmament. There is no limit to its height, and its depth is unfathomable. It constituted Heaven and Earth and endowed them with the primary elements, when as yet they were without form. Flowing like a fountain, bubbling like a spring, impalpable, its energies bubbled forth in the void and filled space. Continuing to effervesce, it transformed the murky air of chaos into crystal clearness. Hence it filled Heaven and Earth and stretched to the uttermost parts of the sea. It spent itself without exhaustion: there was no morning or evening, i.e., rise and decay, no fatigue and revival.

   Expanding, the Cosmic Spirit overspread every part of the firmament, earth, time and space. Rolled together, it was not a fistful; compressed, it can expand; opaque, it can yet be clear; yielding, yet strong, soft, yet firm. It is a macrocosmos as well as a microcosmos. It holds, as in a net, the four poles: and comprehends the active and passive forces of creation. It links the universe together and makes the sky luminous. It is most substantial and full of sap; most tenuous and fine: so delicate is it that it penetrates every pore and crevice.

   It gives height to the mountain and depth to the abyss. It fashioned beasts to walk and birds to fly. Sun
The work of the Tao.
and moon are luminous by its power, and the planets revolve in their courses because of it: the Chilin comes forth through its energy, and the phoenix wheels in the empyrean through its might.

p. 3

   In the beginning, the two forces Yin and Yang,2 having obtained the essence of the Tao, became the central
Agency of Yin and Yang.
organizing powers. Their divinity and influence determined the transformations of Heaven and the stability of Earth. The revolutions of the Universe were unfailing. It was through the Tao that the heavens first revolved and the earth was made fast: the successive revolutions failed not. The waters eternally flowed without ceasing and were conterminous with creation. The winds blew; the clouds steamed. There was nothing which should not be. Every thing was as it should be. The thunder pealed; rains fell: each and all responding to the movement of the Tao without cessation. Mysterious in its operations like the emergence of spirit, or the arrival of the phoenix, or the transformations of the dragon, its vestiges may be traced.

   As the potter moves the wheel, the hub turns, one complete turn following on the other. In the universal
Flux of matter.
flux, organisms, when finished and polished, dissolve again into their rough elements and constituent parts.

   Without (apparent) doing, things came into existence under the inspiration of the Tao. There is no sound or speech to indicate activity: the successive evolutions proceed with energies permeating all. Without love or hate, impartially, and in no boastful spirit, the perfect harmony is attained. The myriad varieties are organised each with its own nature. The energy of the Tao is imparted to the minutest thing: and, also, it operates in the greatest, composing the mighty universe. Its virtue gives flexibility to nature and harmonizes into unity the operations of Yin and Yang. It divides the four seasons and co-ordinates the five elements. Its beneficent spirit breathes on all, fructifying creation and the world of life. It sends forth its fattening dews on grass and tree; it bathes metal and stone with lustre; it makes bird and beast strong; it gives sheen to scale and feather, and strength to wing; and it begets p. 4 the horns (of cattle). Through its powers the embryo of beasts do not miscarry nor the eggs of birds addle.

   It is due to the Tao that fathers have no occasion to mourn over the untimely death of their children,3 nor the
The Tao preserves men from calamity.
elder brother weep over the untimely death of a younger member. Children are not made orphans nor wives widows. That the ill-starred rainbow does not appear, nor unlucky comets career in the sky, is due to the harmonious control of the Tao.4

   The supreme Tao begets all creation, but keeps itself as though it did not exist, i.e. makes no boast of it. It
Its transforming power.
produces all phenomena, yet without appearing as the controller. Creatures that walk and breathe, that fly to and fro, and all creeping things depend on it for life, yet are unconscious of the merits of the Tao in their well-being. They await its behests for death, without bearing any grudge at the change. The benefits of the Tao in life are not extolled: the decay of death, through wear and tear, is not blamed. Accumulations of goods and stores must not be boasted of as wealth, nor are their distributions and donations to be looked upon as any impoverishment. Its fluxes are incomprehensible; its delicate operations are interminable. Build it up and you cannot give it any more height of glory. Subtract from it and you cannot rob it of any virtue. Multiply it and it is the same number; detract from it and it is no fewer; hack it and it is no thinner; slay it yet it is not destroyed; dig into it and it is without depth; fill it in and it will be no shallower.

   Oh! how swift! how sudden! No form does it take: how exhaustless. Profound, Oh! Obscure, Oh! Responsive, Oh! Answer there is, Oh! Effective, Oh! Never does it move in vain, Oh! Conterminous with heaven and earth in its expansion and contraction, Oh! Ascending and descending with Yin and Yang, Oh!

   In olden times Feng I and Ta Ping were great charioteers p. 5 by virtue of the Tao.5 They rode on the chariot
Examples of Tao enduement.
of clouds, entering the rainbow and floating on the lambent air: they raced into the infinite distance and the utmost height. They crossed the hoarfrost and snow, yet without any vestiges: and no shadow of theirs fell when the sun shone on them: they were diaphonous. They mounted aloft in circling spirals like those of the ram's horn, so swift were they. They crossed mountains and rivers; they vaulted over the K‛un Lun. They mounted aloft, opened the gate of the Presence and entered the abode of the Deity. The finest chariot of these latter days, hitched to the fleetest horses urged by the sharpest thongs could not compete with them in the race.

   Thus we see that the great man interested in the Tao lives happily without anxieties: his outlook is without fears because he feels Heaven is a covering, the Earth is a chariot, the four seasons his steeds, Yin and Yang his drivers. He rides on the pinnacle of the clouds, through space, a compeer of the Creator.6 He gives reins to his will; he opens out his mind to travel the great empyrean. He walks when he so desires, or rushes on when he so wills. He commands the Rain Spirit (star) to irrigate his way, and employs the Wind God to sweep away the dust. The lightening he takes for whip, the revolving breath of thunder as wind for his chariot wheels. Above, he travels in the boundless waste of space; below, he comes forth at the gates of the great void. He looks all round in space and gazes abroad on everything, yet keeping all under the central organ7: master of the four quarters he brings everything within the range of the master spirit within. And so it was that, with Heaven canopying all, there was nothing outside the pale of his influence: with Earth as chariot, there was nothing outside his range: with the four Seasons as steeds, he has all things as ministers: with Yin and Yang as charioteers, there is nothing lacking; the processes of creation are complete. So there is no instability p. 6 in this immense effort: there is no toil in the profound operations. There has been no fatigue of body nor diminution of intelligence.8 How was it that they gained a knowledge of the conditions of Heaven and Earth? It was because they had the authority of the Tao that they traversed the illimitable world.

   Therefore the affairs of empire should not be regulated in detail by legal interference, inasmuch as they operate in
Four Fundamental Principles. Purity, Quiescence, Peacefulness, Unity.
a natural way,9 i.e. Wu Wei. The fluxes of creation need not be examined into: get the vital Tao and the fluxes will be understood. Take an illustration from a mirror or from water. When these receive the form of an object, they mirror it faithfully without any accretions; so the lineaments are exactly reflected. The echo is only partly true to the sound: the shadow is not different from the substance. The sound mysteriously reaches its own sound-like form. Man is quiescent10 by nature; but desire moves in response to outward influences which are the outward expression of things. The spirit responds to the impact of matter, giving rise to mental perception. The response of inward perception to the impact of outward things begets love and hate. When love and hate have taken form, perception is seduced from the right way by outward suggestion: it is unable to go back on itself; and reason or right is destroyed. Therefore those who are permeated or possessed of the Tao do not barter away the Divine for the human.11 Subject as they are to outward changes, they do not lose the inward purity of nature; i.e. the impact of the world does not create concupiscence. This nature is purely spiritual and ready to respond to every demand of nature. The Seasons run their course; the ever-changing times circulate, yet without confusing the basal unity.12 The small and great, the long and short, are each in their appointed realms. Creation, in all its mighty leaps and restless movements, proceeds without any dislocation: p. 7 everything is in its proper place. Therefore those who are placed in power are not regarded as a burden by the people: those who are at the head receive no harm from the people: that is to say they are looked up to and loved! The whole empire is drawn to them: the lawless and unruly fear them. Because they have no strife with creation, therefore no one dares to strive with them.

   An angler who goes to the river bank with the finest of hooks, lines and bait, who plies his skill with the
Great Principles are superior to temporary expedients.
expertness of Tan Ho13 and Yuan Huan14 for a whole day, nevertheless cannot hope to compete with the catch of the net in magnitude. An archer who can draw the Wu Nao15 of a Seng Meng Tzu16 in shooting the bird on the wing nevertheless, cannot compete with the use of a net in the greatness of the bag. And the reason is the smaller size of the instrument. Thus in ruling men, the great law is better than a multitude of minor regulations.17 A dart is inferior to a cho, a battering ram, and a cho is inferior to something still greater, that is to a great principle of action. The comparison between the exercise of a great principle and the use of policies of opportunism, are not unlike the example of setting a shrimp to catch a rat, or a frog to catch a flea. Opportunist policies are indeed unequal to arrest evil or stem wickedness: they rather tend to aggravate them.

   In ancient times, Emperor Kun of Hsia built a towering wall; but the Lords rebelled and the distant people became
Force leads to force.
suspicious and wily. And so Yü, seeing the opposition of the kingdoms, rased this wall to the ground and filled in the moats, scattered the wealth accumulated, burnt the implements of war and administered the empire on the principles of virtue, not of force. As a result, the distant people brought their tributes and the barbarian tribes their offerings. The concord sealed at the conclave of the Lords, at T‛u Shan,18 resulted in valuable tributes from myriad kingdoms. p. 8 From this we see that when a scheming mind is cherished, the sincerity of purpose is not perfect nor the spiritual energies complete; (singleness of mind is lacking.) The ruler whose vision is narrow fails to appreciate how to command the services of those who are far away. From this we see that militarism begets militarism. A fortified wall implies war chariots, and a coat of mail leads others to sharpen their swords. If boiling water is added to boiling water, it will but make it more violent. Likewise to beat a vicious dog or whip a kicking horse, in order to correct it, would not succeed even though Yin I or Tsao Fu19 were to do it. When the vicious disposition has been quelled within, the tail of a hungry tiger can be played with: how much more so such creatures as the dog or the horse!

   It is certain that he who is in sympathy with the Tao and acts accordingly, wins his end with ease and is never
Tao is expressed in naturalism and adaptation.
at a loss. The man of many plans who lives by schemes, on the other hand, labours away without success. Violent measures and rigorous punishments are not instruments for either a tyrant or a king. Blows and flagellations constantly rained on subjects, are not the way to make dogs and horses travel far. The excellent vision of Li Chu20 could see the point of a needle from the distance of more than a hundred paces; yet he could not discern the fish in a pool. The intelligence of Shih Kuang21 could distinguish the winds from the eight quarters and harmonize the five notes of the eight scales; but his fine sense of hearing could not discern anything more than ten li off. Hence one man's strength, however much, is not enough to regulate even a small domain.22 But the man who conforms to the art of the Tao, in accordance with the natural way of Heaven and Earth, would find it easy to manage the whole world. Thus it was that Yü was able to engineer the canals by following the nature of water and making it his guide. Likewise, p. 9 Shen Nung, in the sowing of seed, depended for instruction on the guidance given by the nature of the germ. The duckweed has its roots in water, and the tree has its root in earth. The bird stretches his wing and flies in the void: the feet of beasts clutch the solid ground and walk: the scaly dragon inhabits the water: the tiger and leopard dwell in mountains. Such is their inherent nature.

   The rubbing together of two pieces of wood begets heat: when metal is held in fire it becomes liquid: wheels revolve; cylinders and scooped-out articles, as boats or shells, float. Natural conditions these, arising from form and following natural law.

   Similarly when the Spring winds arrive, the gentle rain falls, bedewing the whole creation into fruitfulness. The feathered tribes burst the egg, and the hairy creatures conceive and beget. Plants and trees put on bloom: birds and beasts bear their eggs and conceive their young. Nothing is seen of these operations, but the results are being achieved. The autumn chills bring the hoar-frosts, leading to the drooping and fall of the flora. The eagle and heron strike their prey mercilessly; creeping things hibernate. Plants and trees live on their roots: fishes and turtles congregate in the deep pools. Their doing these things is not seen: traces of these hidden activities is annihilated. Birds that perch on trees use twigs for nests; water animals have holes. Wild beasts spread straw in their lairs: human beings dwell in houses. Cows and horses are for service in dry districts; boats require much water: the Hsiung Nu produce and wear raw skins: Hunan and Kuangtung grow fine hemp. Each produces that which is required for its own climate to meet the conditions of dry and damp. Each is able to protect itself against the cold and heat, by means of its own produce, and in order to obtain what is necessary for itself: convenient goods and commodities meet the requirements of each place. From these evidences we see that creation is strong in its naturalness. What need then for government by the sage?23 There is no p. 10 need for him to act. Naturalness is enough.

   South of the Chiu I, dry-land industry is scarce and the water-way industries are many. The inhabitants use short trousers for convenience of fording waters: they have short sleeves for convenience in propelling their boats. These habits arise from the watery nature of the districts.

   North of Yen Men, the natives do not eat cereals. They pay little regard to seniority and age, admiring rather lusty youth and virility. The conventional view pays respect to lusty strength. It is a custom for men never to let go the bow from their hands nor to unsaddle their horses. Such is their habit. Hence Yü disrobed when he entered the Nudity (Lo) kingdom, and wore his robes again when he emerged from its border; this he did because he did not wish to interfere with custom.24

   Now if people, in transplanting trees, should digregard the fit time for doing so, all would wither and decay. On these grounds an orange tree, when it is transplanted north of the river, changes its nature and becomes a citron. The mynal and parrot (Ku) never cross the Tsi. If the Ho, badger (?) crosses the Wen river, it dies. Its nature does not permit this transmigration. Its habitat cannot be changed. Everything linked to the Tao rests in undisturbed repose. They who are in line with the nature of things ultimately rest in wu wei.25 Such nourish their life on quietism: they rest their spirit in passiveness. By so doing they enter the gate of Heaven.26

   What is meant by "Heaven" is purity, clarity, directness, grounded on reality, luminosity. Such is nature, as endowed by Heaven, when, as yet, it is unmixed with worldly impurities. What is meant is that man has an implication of accidental accretions, such as bias, angularity, sharpness of intellect, duplicity, whereby men follow the world and traffic in the conventional. Now we see that the natural thing is for kine to have cloven hoofs and horns in the head and for horses to have manes and hoofs, undivided and whole: but it is the device of man to put p. 11 bits in the horse's mouth and run a noose through the ox's nose. They who follow Heaven, or the natural order, flow in the current of the Tao. They who follow men get mixed with conventional ways. It would be useless to tell the fish in the well about the horizon of the great ocean, because it is cribbed in a narrow place. It would be vain to speak of the cold of winter to the creeping things that know only of the summer's heat: they are cognizant only of their own seasons. It would be useless to discuss broad views with a narrow-minded scholar: he is bound to the conventional and tied to his own orthodoxy. Hence the sage must not tarnish heavenly law by human things: nor confuse natural laws with concupiscence. Without any planning, affairs find their correct issues: without a multitude of words, faith is achieved, credence is found: without anxiety, life is attained; and without effort, success is won. He whose spirit is identified with the cosmic soul27 is partner of the Creator in governing men.

   A good swimmer may sink; a good horseman may have a fall. That in which each excels may become an
Clever men may miss the mark.
occasion of injury. Hence it is not impossible for the smart man of affairs not to hit the mark. The polemical person may meet with embarrassment, and the man who strives for gain may not get all he is after. The might of the ancient (engineer) Kung Kung28 struck at the Pu Chou mountain and crumpled down the South Eastern corner of the Earth; yet in contending with Kao Hsin for the throne, he was overwhelmed in defeat, involving ruin to his clan and failure of succession to his family (for ancestral worship). I,29 the king of Kuangtung, fled to the hills and dwelt in caves to escape being king; but the people smoked him out of his cave and he failed to consummate his own desire for retirement.

   From these examples it is evident that success depends on opportunity (times) rather than on strength, (for preeminence), government (or action) should rest on the p. 12 Tao rather than on the Sage.30 The ground is placed low and not high, hence it ever abides in peace, free from the dangers of a giddy height. Water flows down, the currents do not compete for precedence. So it flows swift, uninterrupted, undelayed.31

   In ancient time, Shun, for a whole year, tilled the land at Li Shan, and as a result of his example, the tillers of
Success of those who followed Tao.
the soil struggled for every crooked and awkward corner, each anxious to concede the fertile plot to his neighbour. He also fished for a whole year on the river's bank, and, as a result, the fishermen strove together for the currents and rapids, each keen to concede the deep pools and quiet corners to the other. During these times, Shun gave no lectures on morality nor on conduct, but, maintaining the great way in his heart, his influence sped as though it were divine. Suppose now that Shun were without this uprightness of character he would never convert a single individual, though he were to preach to the public and go talking from house to house. Thus we see that the unspoken Tao has a mighty sweep.

   It is able to control the San Miao (aborigines) and induce the Yü people to offer their tributes. It can
Achievements of Tao.
transform the "Unclad Nation" and get revenues from Su Ch‛en (a distant tribe of the north) without the issuing of a summons, or the heralding of edicts. The Tao can resolve customs and change habits, by means of merely spiritual influence. How could laws or punishments ever achieve so much? For this reason the sage pays every attention to the culture of the fundamental rather than to the adornment of accidental means (such as the impositions of laws and punishments). He guards the spirit, and keeps the intellect in abeyance. Profoundly the work is that of wu-wei "no action"; nevertheless there is nothing left undone. Placidly no authority is excercised; yet there is nothing which is uncontrolled.

p. 13

   The meaning of Wu wei,{32} is that there is no going in advance of things. The meaning of "wu pu wei" "there
Wu Wei.
is nothing undone" is that, in following the cosmic spirit33 everything is done. The meaning of "wu chih chô," ("not governing") is that there is no interference with naturalness. And the phrase "there is nothing that is not governed", means that the end is attained in correspondence with the mutual fitness of things.

   There is a raison d'être in the springing to birth of all creation; and each thing knows how to guard its root.33a There is a raison d'être in the appearance of hundreds of affairs: attention is only given to the intrusion of what enters. Hence the exhaustless is probed, the limitless is reached, and matter is illumined without confusion. There is mutual response without fatigue. By this is meant that there is an understanding of the mind of Heaven. The Way is understood.

   Hence they who have attained the Tao, possess a yielding mind; nevertheless their work is invincible. (The
Four Atributes of Tao. Meekness, Tenderness, Humility, Emptiness.
heart is humble, but the work is forceful). Now what I mean by this statement is this: a yielding will has a reposeful ease, soft as downy feathers,—a quietude, a shrinking from action, an appearance of inability to do. Placidly free from anxiety, one acts without missing the opportune time; one moves and revolves in the line of creation, One does not move ahead but responds to the fitting influence. Hence the exalted and those placed in high station will inevitably adopt the symbol of unworthiness,35 even as a high tower must depend on its lowly base for foundation. Depending on the small, one comprehends the large; from a circumscribed central seat (small space) one regulates the outside domains: or the senses are controlled from within. Exercising a yielding spirit one is firm: through tenderness one can be strong, and by these evolutionary movements, in accordance with p. 14 the number of things, one attains the doctrine of unity or the one.36 One is able, through this Unity, to adjust the interests of all.37

   Let us now discuss what is meant by the statement; "His acts are strong or forceful." During times of change, one is equal to any sudden crisis; one disposes of calamities, and wards off difficulties, with invincible strength. There is no enemy that is not overcome. Being capable of meeting every change and judging the times, nothing can harm such an one.

   We may see, therefore, that he who would have firmness must do so by yieldingness. He who would be strong
The power of yieldingness: non-resistance.
must guard it by tenderness. A wealth of yieldingness gives an abundance of firmness: an accumulation of tenderness yields strength. Take note of the nature of the predominant events, and you will have an indication of whether misfortune or happiness impends. Strength will overcome an unequal combatant; but two of equal strength will have an equal resultant. Yieldingness will overcome anything superior to itself; its strength is boundless. For this reason military strength (is as a fire) will be extinguished. The strength of the tree bends to the wind and is sawn for timber. The strong skin (of a drum) will crack. Teeth are stronger than the tongue; but they decay sooner. Hence yieldingness and non-resistance or tenderness are the mainstay38 of life; but the firm and hard are the lackeys of death.

   Pioneers39 come to the end of their tether and die out early. Those who follow, clutching to their skirts, reach the goal. How can it be known that it is so? All who attain the good age of seventy, nevertheless have gained from the past as regarding their actions and feel dissatisfied with most of their work, as they look back on their mistakes. It is so even until they are dead. Hence men like Ch‛ü Pei Yü40 felt that 49 years out of the fifty had been ineffectual, the reason being that the pioneer has p. 15 the disadvantage of inexperience; whereas his successor finds it so much easier to achieve the purpose. The pioneer climbs high; his successor follows and gets help from him. The pioneer descends to the depths and falls into ruin; he who follows will step on the shoulder of the pioneer and take measures based on the experience of his predecessor. The pioneer falls into dangers; the man who comes after gains from experience. The pioneer is baffled in his plans, but his successor avoids the pitfalls.

   From this it is seen that the pioneer forms the sharp point of his successor's arrow. He is, as it were, the point of the lance.

   The point strikes the difficult obstacle, breaks its resistance and becomes a buffer; but the handle suffers no harm, for the reason that it occupies a secondary position and is cushioned by the buffer. This may be taken as the universal view. The worldly-wise and intelligent cannot avoid the consequences of this impulsion of the senses.

   What I mean by "successors" does not imply that they are immobile and without initiative, nor that they are petrified and incapabable of motion. But what these do is to pay attention to the harmonizing of every plan and act in concert with occasion and take account of times and seasons. By the power of the Tao one meets the need of every change, using the beginning to govern the end, and the end to govern the beginning.41 His principle is that he does not lose that whereby men are governed i.e. tao, for this reason that acting through the tao others cannot control him. A critical business42 does not permit of miscalculation: too early an act may miss fire; too late an act may fail to hit the occasion. Time is ever on the flux and waits for no man, and so the Sage43 does not value a foot of jade, but rather an inch of time. Time is that which it is difficult to get and easy to lose. Yü44 took time by the forelock and never went back for a lost shoe, nor would he delay business by getting a hat from the peg. Not that he strove for first place with another, p. 16 but that he strove to catch every opportunity.45 Hence the Sage46 guarded a freedom from passions, and preserved yielding complaisance.

   Acquiescent, men meet every crisis, always following and not leading. By yieldingness and tenderness they gain repose;47 by equanimity and peace they find stability. Great in achievement, they wear down every difficulty, and no one can compete with them.

   Nothing in the world is more yielding and softer than water; yet its greatness cannot be measured, nor its depths
Greatness of yieldingness illustrated by water.
sounded. Its distance48 is endless; its vast expanse is without horizon. Its rise and fall, its ebb and flow are immeasurable. Up in the skies it becomes the rain and dew; down below it forms the fattening moisture, so that the whole creation springs to birth and everything comes to fruition. Its greatness embraces all living things; there is no trace of partiality; its enrichment reaches even to the lowly worms, yet it asks no thanks: its abundance suffices for the whole world and is never exhausted. Its virtue is distributed over all nations, yet without self-expenditure. Its operations can never come to an end; they are inexhaustible. It is so fine that it is impossible to grasp a handful of it; strike it, yet it does not suffer hurt: grab it, and it is not wounded: sever it, and yet it is not divided: burn it, and it does not ignite. Lost in the slush, flowing into invisibility, disappearing as it gets mixed with earth, nevertheless, it is not possible to scatter it into nothingness. Its advantage is that it will penetrate into stone and metal; its strength consists in going to every shore bearing ships for mankind. Moving full and free in the immaterial regions, wheeling and revolving on high, as clouds, it returns again, falling into the rivers and valleys and courses in bounding floods over the wide plains! All creation, without partiality, receives its beneficent bounty.49 Whether enough and to spare, or given sparsely, it comes from and returns to Heaven and Earth, p. 17 and is bestowed on creation without favouring one or the other. It is copious on every hand. Its heaving movements are great and concurrent with all nature. It knows neither left nor right, curls round and encircles everything, and is commensurate and contemporary with creation. This is termed Supreme Excellency (Chih Te). Now the reason of water achieving this supreme excellency in the world lies in its virtue of penetrativeness, in its irrigating and effusive properties, so that Lao Tan was led to speak of it as the softest thing in the world galloping through the hardest: issuing from the non-material, it enters into the non-spatial, i.e. enters everything. "I know therefore," he said, "that Wu wei is most advantageous." Now the immaterial, the formless, is the great ancestor of wu, matter: the soundless, i.e. that which makes no sound, is the great founder of sound. Their son is light; their grandson is water.50 All these are begotten of the formless or immaterial.

   Light, indeed, can be seen but not grasped; water can be handled but not destroyed. Therefore, of those things that have shape nothing excels or is more honourable than water. In coming into life it enters into death i.e. into the shades of the carnal world: from non-existence, it treads the way of existence, i.e. in having form, it departs from its original: from existence it passes into non-existence, thus becoming a ruin.51 Hence this hidden purity, spiritual repose, is the supreme power (te chih chih yeh).52 And yieldingness and tenderness are essentials of the Tao: The immaterial53 in happy repose gives rise to all things for the use of man. Reverently responding to influences, it instantly reverts to its own root and then becomes merged in the formless.54 What is expressed by "formless" is Unity. What is termed the Unity55
Unity of Tao.
means something without compeer in the universe. Uniquely it stands alone. Being-like it is placed alone.56 Above, it fills the heavens,57 below it interpenetrates or connects together p. 18 the nine Points, the vastnesses, of the world.57 No circle can compass, no square can fit it.58 It is the Great Absolute and forms the Unity.56 This unity is the life of myriad generations, everlasting without beginning, and most mysterious. It embraces (enfolds) the Universe and opens the portal of the Tao59 (and is the Tao in operation). Profound and abstruse, invisible, unalloyed, it alone abides in pure virtue. It ever gives, but is never exhausted: it labours without effort. So, in looking for it, you behold not its form: listening for it, you hear not its sound: feeling for it, you get at no body. The formless (tao) begets the living form. The soundless (wu-sheng) begets the five tones.60 The non-flavour harmonizes, or gives substance to, the five flavours: the non-colour creates the five colours. Therefore all that is seen comes from that which is not seen (wu). The material springs from the immaterial. The Universe is its sphere. The nominal and the real exist together. The tones are limited to five: but the variations and combinations of the five tones are more than can be distinguished by the ear. The composition of flavours61 is only five; but the combinations that can be made of them are more than can be tasted. The colours are not more than five; but their transformations are more than eye can apprehend. Hence in the matter of tones, when Kung, the key, is set, the five tones are harmonized. In the matter of taste, with sweet as base, the five tastes are completed. As regards colour, with white as the ground, the five colours are blended. As to the Tao, when the Unity62 is established, creation comes to birth. Therefore the doctrine of the Unity covers the deep62 the pervasion of the Unity forms the mechanism of the world. How pure in its entirety, similar to the unadorned jade!63 When scattered, how turbid! It is opaque, but gradually becomes clear, ethereal, yet gradually it becomes substantial. How stable! still as a deep pool. How buoyant! It is like a floating cloud! It is as though it were not, and yet is: as though lost, yet abiding. Creation massed together p. 19 passes through the one portal:64 the root of all things emerges through one gate (the tao). Its movements have no form: its transformations are God-like; its actions leave no vestiges, constantly behind and yet moving in advance. Therefore the tao-man in governing hides his intelligence; he blots out his symbols of majesty. Depending on the Tao, he does away with cleverness: he acts in common with the people, and everything is done on public ground. All is law. His regulations are circumscribed; his demands are few; the lust for glory is eliminated; concupiscence is expelled; anxieties are renounced. Regulations, not being multifarious, can be superintended. Demands, being limited, are easily satisfied, and results are gained. He, on the other hand, who depends on the seeing of the eye, the hearing of the ear, going by what he hears and sees, is full of care, yet without clear vision. He who governs by knowledge and anxious thought, is full of labour, yet without definite results. Therefore the Sage-King uniformly follows law,65 he does not change the ought nor alter the constant of things. He follows the square; he is guided by the plumb line; he conforms to the varying order of things.

   Now the movements of pleasure and anger are a corruption of the Tao;66 trouble and grief are abortions
Self Culture. Reduce desire restrain feeling.
of virtue; love and hate are the failures of the heart; concupiscence and lust are the embarrassments of nature. Great anger destroys the negative force (Yin) of man's nature, and great joy disorders the positive (Yang). Great anger brings dumbness; great fear leads to madness; sorrow and grief cause rage; sickness gathers strength; when likes and dislikes come in profusion, then follow adversities in their train. But a heart free from care and joy, supplies the perfection of virtue. To be permeated with the Tao and not subject to vacillation. gives the perfection of repose: not to be loaded with carnal desires gives perfection of hsü, purity. When there p. 20 is no love and hate, (likes and dislikes) there is the perfection of equanimity. When the mind is not distracted by things, there is the perfection of simplicity (or intrinsic truth). Ability to possess these five attributes ensures true fellowship and communion with God.67 Fellowship with God gives possession of the inner self.68 Hence he who controls the extraneous, i.e. carnal desires, by this inner self will fail in nothing. The mind having found itself, there will be full control of the senses. Possessing the self the five inward parts will be maintained in peace and anxieties tranquilised; the organs of the body will function correctly and one will not give way to unseemly joy and anger. One's nerves will be firm and strong. The sapient ear and eye will have a comprehensive penetration and not err. Being resolute and firm, one will never break down.
Autocrat of the World.
One will not overshoot the mark nor come short in one's actions. Such an one will not be unhappy in a lowly position: nor will he eschew great duties. His soul is not impetuous, his spirit is not unstable (perturbed). Profound and undefiled, serene and reposeful, he is the autocrat of the universe.69

   The Great Way (Tao) is broad and level, not far from the person. The seeker finds it in himself: going out for it, again and again, he returns within for it.70 Pressure on it will move it; touching it or feeling after it will bring a response.71 Its mutations are without substantial form and its visitations are generous and free; everything is done with deliberation and serenity; to every matter a suitable solution is found, as fittingly as an echo answering to the sound or as an image reflecting an object. Whether such an one mounts to a high station or descends to a low position, he never loses what he grasps (of the Tao): whether treading the way of danger or walking in the paths of peril, there is no forgetting the Tao. He who abides in this frame will lack not in virtue; he disposes successfully of the myriad affairs of every complexity that p. 21 crowd before him. In attending to the affairs of empire, he is expeditious, like (a boat) sailing with the wind.72 This is the meaning of Supreme ability,73 and with this supreme ability comes joy.

   There were men of old who lived in hermit caves without losing their high spirit. In later times there have been those exercising great power, but they had daily anxieties and were not free from sorrow.74 We may gather from this that the princely state75 does not lie in actual ruling so much as in getting the Tao: Joy does not lie in riches and honours, but consists in the possession of virtue and harmony. Knowing the greatness of the higher self, paying little value to possession of empire, is indeed to be near the Tao.

   What is termed as joy? How can it be necessary to be placed in palaces and towers, to serenade on lakes and in gardens,76 to hear the Chiu Shao and Liu Ying77 orchestras, to dine on seasoned meats, to gallop in broad avenues or shoot the turquoise kingfisher, in order to find it? Can these be said to compose joy? The joy I speak of is the finding of the true self.78 The possessor of this true life will not regard ostentatious expenditure as joy, nor will the simple life be looked on with regret. He will accept a lot lowly or bright,—just as the flower shuts and opens in response to the season. Wen Tzŭ expands the idea in these words:—"He cherishes the truth of Heaven, he embraces the heart of Heaven; he breathes in the spirit of Yin and Yang; he blows out the old (foul) and breathes in the new: he closes with the Yin and opens with the Yang: he contracts with the firm and expands with the tender: with the Yin and Yang, he looks up and down: he is of one mind with Heaven and of one body with the Tao: there are no joys and no sorrows: there are no pleasures and no angers." Thus Tsû Hsia was thin, so long as his mind was at war with itself, i.e. when governed by desire; but he became fat on getting the Tao.

   The Sage will not allow his person to be the instrument p. 22 of matter, nor permit his peace to be disturbed by
Spiritual joy lasts.
desire. Thus, when he rejoices, it is not with boisterous hilarity. When he sorrows, he will not suffer his nature to be wounded. Circumstances ever change and vary; there is nothing stable about life's conditions. The Tao-man, alone, lives triumphantly (or cherishes the magnanimous point), abandoning worthless things. He keeps step with the Tao. Therefore he has the wherewith to find his true nature. Whether his pilgrimage be under a stately tree, or his dwelling be in a secluded cave he finds enough to satisfy his nature. But the man who has not found his true self, though he possess the empire for home, and the myriad people for ministers and concubines, will not, on that account, find the satisfaction of life.79 He who reaches the state of spiritual joy80 will find everything minister joy to his person. And he who enjoys this joy has tasted the supremest joy.

   Suppose every imaginable pleasure were at command of a person. The bells and drums are prepared; pipes and
Carnal joy vanishes.
organs arranged; the richest carpets are spread and the ivory ornamented poles are gay with embroidered bunting; the ear hears the passion-moving music of Chao Ko and Pei Pi; the most lovely courtesans are present, the tables are laden with wines and delicacies, and the carousings are carried on from evening to dawn. In the daytime he goes hunting, shooting at the high-flying bird, or with the hounds stalking the wily hare. These are his pleasures, glowing with excited passions under sensual enticements. I grant they have attractions; but they are mixed with mortification, for when the carriage is unhitched, and the horses unharnessed, the wine has ceased to flow and the music is ended, then the heart is pulled up, as though the chill of death had passed over it: it is filled with vexation, as though it had lost something. And the reason? They have not taken the joy within to supply p. 23 the joy without, but rather used adventitious joys to create an inward pleasure. There is pleasure as long as the music lasts, but when the song is ended, sadness creeps on. Under such conditions, sorrow and joy change about and mutually beget each other. The spirit is disordered. Not a moment's rest can be found!

   If the reasons be examined how it is that one failed to get the substance of joy and thus continued to injure
The reason.
one's life daily? The cause is found in this that one has lost that, the doing of which would give the possession of virtue to the mind.81 Hence the mind within, not being at the centre (tao), one decorates oneself with those things which come from without. These are artificial and do not enter into the marrow and bone of life: they do not abide in the will nor remain in one's being. Therefore, those things that enter from without, finding no host within, do not abide: those things that issue from within, not being responsive to the outward, fail to operate. Hence even an uninstructed person may be pleased on hearing good words for guidance, and a worthless character may also esteem an account of noble deeds and perfect conduct. Many approve, but few are those who carry these good things out: the many approve, but few there are who act. The reason for this is, that they are unable to recover the lost mind: they fail to revert to the real nature. The inner and real nature fails to open out. What is learnt is by way of compulsion: when this is the case, what is heard by the ear is not impressed on the mind. The position is not unlike to the deaf man singing and not hearing his own sounds. It is made for (the gratification of) others, without any personal share in the enjoyment. The sound issues from his mouth and passes away without his hearing it.

   Now the heart is the govenor of life.82 It, therefore, controls all the members and the circulation of the fluids of sensation, referring everying, forthwith, to the moral p. 24
When the Tao governs the mind a monarchy is needless.
realm (of conscience): conscience, in turn, enters the avenues of every action. Therefore, when the mind lacks the inner control, any pride of authority in the art of governing men may be compared to a person who is deaf trying to ring the bell and beat the drum, or to a blind person trying to find pleasure in works of art. It is plain they are perfectly incompetent to do so. So it is clear that the king's instruments of government must not be artificial, (such as policy, schemes, opportunism). An artifical creation would ruin the country, and he who grasps power would lose it. In elucidation, the case of Hsü Yu might be given, who thought little of the pomp of empire and would not change places with Yao. His mind was not set on place and power. How may we account for such a view of life? Because of empire and for empire.83 The essentials of empire are not in pomp but in the individual, not in men but in myself: not in Yao the monarch, but in Hsü Yu the individual representative: not in others, but in each individual.84 To centre all in one is an artificial way. The natural way lies in each following the law of nature. When the individual has got the Tao he possesses everything. Thus clear on the principles of the mind, it will be found that carnal desires, love and hate, are extraneous things, and do not pertain to the mind.85 Hence there is no ground for pleasure, for joy, for pain. The whole creation is in identity with Heaven. There is no right or wrong.85a Everything is as it should be. All flux is under the light of Heaven: life is as death.

   Further the empire is possessed by the individual and the individual is possessed by the empire. There can be no alienation between the individual and empire. There is mutual identity. Thus, surely, there is no necessity for the person who possesses the empire to exercise authority or grasp at power or to have the prerogative of life and death, the promulgation of edicts and so on. What I p. 25 mean by "possessing the empire" is not such as this: I mean that the person has found himself. When self is found, the empire has also got a man. When there is this mutual possession, we each exist together without a break. How can it be that there is any alienation and that the empire cannot use me? The meaning of "finding self" is that life is perfected—or the culture of the person is perfect. When this is done, there is identity with the Tao.86

   Now if a person were able to enjoy himself by promenading on riverbanks and by the sea shore (i.e. the
Physical and spiritual joy compared.
emperor, who can go anywhere and do anything), by racing the great hunter Niao, and decorating his umbrella with the turquoise feathers (a great minister), by witnessing the great military dances and music (of Wu), by listening to the strains of the Yao Lang, Ch‛i Lu, Chi Chen: by the performance of the popular music of Cheng and Wei, by harmonizing the high and low sounds, by shooting the high flying birds on the banks of the Chao, by hunting wild beasts in the Imperial park of Yuan Yu, well and good. Why those are the very sports that the multitude delights in and gets intoxicated with. The Sage man, placed amongst these, does not find that they are any enticements to his spiritual life or allurements to seduce his will and purpose, moving his heart by sudden passion and leading him to lose his true nature. Rather he would prefer to live in a secluded and poor village or to crouch within the recess of some dark gully or in the retirement of some jungle, cribbed within a small hut, which has fresh grass for thatch, a grass-made postern and an old crock for window, the hinges of the gate formed of wisps of thc mulberry. The hut may leak above and be dank below, the north-facing booth may be filled with dampness. After snow and sleet have made slush of the ground, he plants his own melons and chiang (grain only eaten by the poorest); he takes his walks abroad through the wide p. 26 morass and tramps back and fore in the gorge of the mountain. Were the generality of people faced with this sort of life they would wrinkle their faces, blink their eyes and be full of distress at the disagreeable prospect. The sage placed in such a situation, would not feel sad, downcast, envious or misanthropic, nor would he, for the world, lose the grounds of his own inward joy by such hardship. And the reason? Because within he is in touch with the spiritual realm: he does not lose his will to virtue because of a high or lowly station,87 of wealth or poverty, of ease or labour of body. Just like the crow's "ya ya," and the
Outward change does not move the mind.
magpies "tsie, tsieh;"—these sounds do not change with every changed condition of the weather. The man of tao has his mind fixed, nor does he depend on compulsion of circumstances in the flux of things: his mind does not await any single chance of fortune to determine the ground of his self possession (tzû tê). So what I mean by "possession" is that the nature of his life is established in that which gives peace. Now the soul and body issue from the central source. When the body functions perfectly, (moral) then nature and life are completed. When these are completed, then the affections, such as love and hatred, are begotten (a point of danger). Thus scholars have fixed principle of morality in intercourse: and women have an unchanging rule of action as to marrying again. These can never be changed.88 The eternity of Heaven and earth, the height of Chiu mountain is not changed by one ascending a high hill or descending into a depth; nor is a low location counted near. Therefore, the man who has the Tao is not perturbed by poverty nor exhilarated by success. Being placed on a giddy height gives him no feeling of danger; though holding a full cup, it will not be upset. He is not polished at one time and rough at another time: he does not change colour with time, he is not burnished when new and tarnished when old. He can undergo trial89 without wear p. 27
The tao-man wears well.
and tear. He does not depend on power to be esteemed, nor on riches to be honoured, nor on force to be strong. Agreeably he moves forward in harmony with the fluctuating movements of the Cosmic Spirit. Thus he is naturally like the metal hidden in the hills or the pearl in the deep. He does not look on affluence as the source of joy nor lust for the symbols of power. Therefore he does not look on success as ease of mind, nor on ingloriousness as a thing to be dreaded. He does not consider a high position as peace nor a low position as danger. Body, soul, spirit and will are each in the Heaven-appointed place.

   Now the body is life's tenement, the breath (passion nature)90 is life's fulness: the soul is life's regulator. The three suffer by the aberration of anyone from its function. The Sage-King gives to each man his proper office where each will do his own work without interference of one with the other. Therefore, to place the body in that which does not bring contentment is to waste energies: to exercise the spirit in a sphere which is not suitable to it is to scatter power: to employ the soul in operations that are unfitting is to becloud clarity. It is essential that strict attention be paid to the proper exercise of each of these three factors—body, breath, soul.

   Now let us consider such insignificant creatures as creeping worms and zoophytes in their wriggling movements or crawling actions; they have their likes and dislikes; they know what is helpful or harmful by reason of the instincts they possess; these they follow. Should they suddenly lose these, flesh and bones would be of no value to them.

   Now what is that power in man which enables him to gaze clearly and hear distinctly, enables the body to stand erect and the limbs to bend and stretch at will; what are those faculties that help him to distinguish white and black, to appreciate the ugly and beautiful: what is that knowledge by which he differentiates similarities and dissimilarities p. 28 and which enlighten him in right and wrong? It is a fulness of spirit (ch‛i),90 the passion-nature that supplies the person with capacity; and the soul gives it direction. How may it be known that such is so? Men who have their wills bent on some object and their minds concentrated solely on that, become oblivious to all else, so that in walking they fall into a pit: the head may hit a post without their being conscious of it: call him, and he does not hear. It is not because he has given away eyes and ears that he is unable to respond. And the reason? The mind or soul has let go that which it holds, i.e., the body. And so when it is centred on the particular; it is dead to the general: centred in the inner, it is dead to the outer: centred on the high, it is dead to the low: centred on the right, it is dead to the left.91 When the soul is all-pervading, then it is omnipresent. Therefore, the tao-man prizes the pure spirit uncontaminated by desire, and his thoughts dwell in the spiritual.

   Now consider an imbecile. He does not know to avoid the hazards of fire or water; he goes all unheeding into deep waters that are dangerous. It is not that he, too, has not got a body, soul, spirit, will, but that he uses these differently from other men. He has lost the proper use of these faculties and fails in the correct exercise of them. For this reason his actions are erratic, his movements not being under control. He acts, through life, like a tottering person, staggering in passing through an uneven gate, falling into miry drains or into the midst of pits and holes. Though endowed as others with the motors of life, he cannot help being an object of merriment to men. And the reason? Body and spirit do not act in mutual harmony. Thus, we may deduce that where the soul is the dominant force, the body follows to purpose. But where the soul follows the motions of the body, disaster ensues.

   Men of a covetous and ambitious nature, and of many passions, are allured insatiably by power and ensnared by p. 29 the lust of position. They aspire to stand in the high places of the world, by reason of superior abilities which implies a daily expenditure of their spirit. The longer this goes on, the farther is the distance between spirit and body: steeped in these excesses, return to normality is less likely. The body being closed up by these desires, the heart opposes the entrance of higher influences. Thus the pure spirit of the natural endowment has no freedom of action. Thus it constantly happens in the world that disasters befall men who fail to see the right and who act contrary to justice and who have the lost mind. Such people are of the "tallow candle" class. This means that fire that burns quickly will die out all the sooner.

   The soul and spirit that are in repose are daily at the full and make for strength. The impetuous spirit wears itself out early, leading to senility (weakness). Therefore, the Sage-man nourishes his soul and moulds his spirit in yieldingness and keeps the body in repose (equanimity): up and down in the height and in the depth, he oscillates with the Tao. Serenely he yields to it: compelled to take office, he makes use of it. He yields to it as to the robe he puts on himself: he uses it as it were a swift arrow. Thus in all the fluxes of nature there is nothing he fails to respond to: in the changing affairs of life there is nothing he does not answer.