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The Cosmic Spirit. Dissertation 1. Pp. 2-30


   The nature and scope of the Cosmic Spirit. The transformations induced by the Cosmic Spirit are illimitable. Consider the experiences of some ancients Taoists. Purity, Stillness, Tranquillity and Unity are of the essence of the Cosmic Spirit. There are great disadvantages following any abuse of the principles of the Cosmic Spirit. Proofs are given of the foregoing statement. Naturalness is a fundamental condition to the approach of and getting near the Cosmic Spirit. There is much difference, on the one hand, between adopting and following artificial rules and ceremonies, and following, on the other hand, the natural and fundamental principles of the Cosmic Spirit. True achievements depend on non-action, or, in a more strictly correct expression, in action made under the guidance and influence of the Spirit. This is wu wei. It may be asked how may the Cosmic Spirit be got and won? The answer is by meekness and emptiness. Emptiness means freedom from the accretions of desire and the influence of the senses. The Cosmic Spirit is a unity and is invisible. To find the way, a reduction of desires and suppression of the passions are essential factors. Mastery over the mind is of primary importance. Spirit, material substances, volition and mind are elemental conditions. Splendid examples are given of those who are governed by the Cosmic Spirit and those who are under the domination of the Senses.

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Beginning and Reality. Dissertation 2. Pp. 32-58

(i) Epitome.

   Beginning and evolution of the Cosmos. Nothing is lost. All things undergo transformation. Persistence and continuity. Uniformity of birth and death. Freedom of Life. The Great Unity. Cultivation of the Spiritual and p. 272 natural. Consequence of leaving the natural and spiritual. Anarchy and Confusion. Power of the Inner Life. Tranquillity and anarchy. The secret of embodying the tao is in naturalness as fundamental and as adaptation in application. The achievements of the tao. Four attributes or influences of the tao: Meekness, tenderness, humility, and emptiness. Non-existence and Monism. True self-culture lies in the control of the desires and the restraining of feelings. Guarding of the heart. Its sentinels. Three values of the Tao. Physical (body), spiritual, vital.

(ii) Analysis.

   There are seven topics stated in the exordium. Following these, demonstrations are given proving the validity of the statements. These are:

 1.There was the beginning of time and space, (Creation).
2.There was time and space before the beginning of time and space.
3.There was time and space even anterior to 2.
4.There was the time and space of existence.
5.There was the time and space of non-existence.
6.There was the time and space before those of non-existence.
7.There was the time and space before that of 6.

   It will be noticed that in 4 there is a dividing line between the positive and the negative view,—in other words, between the visible and the invisible, or between the absolute spiritual period and the period of phenomena, between the form and the formless.

   Then, after the exordium, there follows a fuller description and explanation of 1-7, in more detail.

   As written on the bamboo boards, the leading topic is No. 4. There was the time and space of existence. The first 3 refer to the positive state of material existence. The last 3 refer to the negative view, the purely spiritual state. And this indicates that space and time, i.e., those things that are come from that which is not.

   The question is: What is existence? It is all created things put in the midst of time and space. This has been a point of contention and debate. The Confucianist and the Taoists are opposed in their ideas, and the difference between them is fundamental. The Confucianist holds by the p. 273 traditions of antiquity; whilst the Taoist looks more to the eternal source of things. Tradition becomes stale and unsuitable and tends to keep its adherents in bondage. The Taoist method ensures more freedom of spirit. The difference is more clearly seen in a later age and amongst another race. The Pharisees clung to their traditions; but Jesus engendered quite another spirit,—the spirit of freedom, by leading men to look to the ever-active Spirit, rather than to be tied by the letter of tradition. So the Taoists desired to liberate the mind from the bondage of letterism and tradition, and return to the naturalness of life. Naturalism is a major doctrine with the Taoists. It is asserted by some that the theory of Naturalism is prior to the Tao itself. But this may be a too refined exposition. It may be better to look upon the two as being identical, or in mutual relationship, just as we sometimes hear that even God must act in accordance with eternal law. In one sense, law may be looked on as outside God; but, in another way, God, Himself, is the law.

   This fundamental difference of view leads to other vital views of life. Confucianism led to artificial creations, in its view of rites and ceremonies. Even in its idea of virtue, it retained the inevitable sense of artificiality. Its righteousness and justice did not issue from the true source, viz: the Tao,—the spiritual origin of everything, but from secondary causes which were thoroughly artificial. The result was the increase of rites and ceremonies, which became a burden hard to be carried mechanically. The contrast may again be seen in the arguments of St. Paul, regarding Law and Life.

(iii) Elucidation.

   The exordium is extraordinarily difficult. In a way the sentences are quoted from Chuang Tzû. The ideas come from this most distinguished of all Taoists. The analysis of the passage (i) may help to elucidate the meaning. Compare with this those lines of Milton:

"They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixt,
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs"

"Paradise Lost". Bk. III. line 482, and note in Edition by W. C. Browne. Vol. 1. p., 343. There is some similarity between all ancient descriptions.

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   The textual commentator says: "The beginning and reality. The reality of the Tao has its beginning in (wu) nothing (non-physical, formless), or the visibly non-existent. By transformation, through birth, there came existence. This gives the name emergence of reality into creation."

   It is difficult to give a satisfactory analysis of the different phases described in the vast ideas brought before the mind. Naturally the object presented is vague and the description cannot be anything better. I offer a further analysis with some hesitation; but it may help to convey a meaning of the bythos of space and creation, which has commanded the thought of Valentinus and others to offer an explanation. See "Dictionary of Religion and Ethics" Hastings, Art. Aeons.

   The author proceeds, step by step, to outline his conception. I do so, in more ways than one, in the hope that these several divisions may suggest a correct and perfect idea.

   1. The Dawn of Creation. 2. Anterior to this dawn, there was a beginning. 3. There was a beginning even anterior to the beginning, before the dawn (2). In explanation of this it may be said that:

   A. 1. The dawn implies the germinal stage of created forms. 2. Anterior to the beginning which is before the dawn, there was nothing tangible, in the vast and profound, to which a name could not be given. 3. In the beginning anterior to the dawn, when there was, as yet, no sign of created matter, there was nothing,—not even embryonic symptoms.

   B. 1. What is meant by "the dawn" is that the germs had not, as yet, pullulated. (This is the pregerminal stage). The shoots had not taken any definite form: the nucleus, the embryos, the roots and the stumps were there. There was a heaving, panting movement as though there was a desire to arise into birth, but without becoming any definite species of matter.

   2. The "beginning anterior to the dawn" implies that the heavenly aura was beginning to descend, and the earthly aura was beginning to ascend. The Yin and Yang were mobile and mutually striving to get the spirit of harmony within the universe, prompting the inosculation of the elements. These forces wandered hither and thither, pursuing, competing, interpenetrating. Clothed with energy, they p. 275 sifted, separated, impregnated and moved about in the fluid ocean, desiring to ally one aura with another, even whilst, as yet, there was no appearance of any unusual forms.

   3. In the beginning anterior to the dawn, when there was, as yet, no sign of created forms, there was nothing, not even embryonic symptoms. This stage marked heaven drinking in harmony, but not descending: the earth embraced the aura, but had not yet ascended. It was a vast, vacuous space, still, desolate, vapoury, a drizzling humid state. In the chaos, the vitalising fluid floated about, layer on layer. There was no difference between that which was not and that which was; all was alike.

   The Visible Creation. The myriad things came into existence and the spiritual fluids assumed definite forms and were stabilised. The spiritual nuclei and embryos assumed generic forms, as roots, stems, tissues, twigs and leaves of variegated forms and hues. Beautiful were the different colours! Butterflies and insects flew hither and thither: insects crawled about. We now reach the stage of movement and the breathings of life, on every hand. It was possible to feel, grasp and see, and to follow outward phenomena. They could be distinguished and counted.

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Life and Soul. Dissertation 3. Pp. 58-78

(i) Elucidation.

   Concerning the sources and resources of life and soul (Spirit). Since the spirit derives its origin from naturalness, or Tao, it is best, therefore, for it to follow always the Tao and keep to the law of nature: in this way it will be kept from losing its root. The whole of creation is produced through the instrumentality of the positive and the negative, (Yin and Yang). Heaven and Earth are most thrifty in the use of the spirit and vital energy; and this should be a lesson to human beings not to waste their vitality on the vain and useless. The best way to attain this end is to reserve the vital forces by the reduction of desires and suppression of the passions.

   There is a uniformity in all creation, both in that with life and that without life. I, myself, am apart of matter, and am, in no sense, superior to it. Birth and death are one. Accordingly, human beings should rest satisfied with p. 276 the order of nature and not worry about life or death and, in this way, avoid loss of spirit and vitality. People should avoid the over-stimulus of feeling and emotionalism.

   The way to get into touch with the Tao is to be in a state of tranquillity and emptiness (freedom from the government of the senses) which will keep the spirit from anarchy and confusion. Only the physical and the material come under the sphere of life and death. The spirit never dies. In the light of this, we should pay greater attention to the cultivation of the spirit than to matter. When the spirit is well cultivated, the whole creation is at the service of such a man; and death is just a natural transit.

   The perfect man is not enslaved in the physical. Guard the spirit so as to be fit to meet all circumstances. Keep away from, and don't be allured by, material attractions; then the real pleasure of nature will be found. Know the origin whence you came and be guided by correct principles without diminution or excess, and hit the central way. This will be the resting-place for the spirit. The best way to govern the mind is not to let it wander.

   Confucianism is reprehensible in that its idea of morality, of love and justice is based on the physical and not the spiritual. And, finally, the perfect man finds, in the protection of the spirit, the fulfilment of life's satisfaction.

(ii) Summary and Analysis.

   Spirit and consciousness are united to form a single whole, which will form the essential part of man; and in combination with the material part we have the whole person.

   The following summary is an attempt to give, in other words than in the cut-in-heads, the contents of the essay.

   The numerical divisions are only a general attempt to get at clews.

   1. Origin of spirit and consciousness, and of beings.

   2. The physical part is based on the spiritual, i.e., spirit and consciousness. The body, therefore, must rest on the root, the spiritual. In other words, man should submit to the law of Heaven and Earth.

   3. Creation proceeds through negativity and positivity, or male and female. There are correspondences in man to Heaven and Earth. Man is a small cosmos. Harmony is the coöperation of all correspondences.

   4. Matter must have hygenic environment to be healthy. p. 277 The cosmos has harmony which is its hygiene. The small cosmos must have it, too; and it comes through identity with tao. This hygiene is self-culture. But this is spiritual and moral. Have as few desires as possible and be fed with the spirit. Nourish the spirit; mortify the flesh.

   5. The four corruptions. The ego is a part of the universal cosmos. There is uniformity between the ego and all things. And this leads to the conclusion that birth and death are also uniform and are but different phases of the same thing. They are both natural movements. We should not worry about death; this would hurt the spirit.

   6. The pearl of the heart, the spirit, should not be injured by emotions, feelings and sentiments. The attitude of mind of the True Man and the effects of his work. His attitude is one of stillness or presence of mind and his movements are those of activity. By these the spirit will be nourished.

   7. The body undergoes dissolution on death; but there is no change of the spirit. Once the spirit is born, no change can ever happen to it. Thus matter is different from spirit in its constitution.

   8. The nourishment of the spirit is to let it alone. Do not seek for the comfort of the body alone. There is something higher.

   9. Once the spirit finds stability, it has great power to command all things. Death is nothing to it.

   10. The ancient men of the spirit looked out of the mind on the world wholly with the eye of the spirit. They moved under the direction of the spirit and refused to be governed by the senses. They judged all by spiritual values.

   11. Therefore, he has a pleasure of his own. He is not troubled at all by the material. He knows how to keep the spirit.

   12. Examples are given of the tao-men, and certain deductions made.

   13. The attitude of the supreme man. He never mistakes the Tao. He guards it by stillness, and hits the very centre of the Tao in all. There are men who walk after the manner of the cult of the branch, jen, i, benevolence and justice; and they have results; but fruitfulness is far inferior to that of the tao-man.

   14. In order to govern the mind, the consciousness must be guarded and it must not wander from the centre. This p. 278 will ensure the constant presence of the Spirit.

   15. A severe reproof is administered to the Confucian view of life. They do not know how to cultivate the spirit. They pursue after the physical pleasure and idea. This is far and away insufficient.

   19. Example of 4 sages who walked in the great way or word. Externalities should be eschewed. Internalities are valuable things to be cherished.

   20. Satisfaction comes from identity with the spirit. This is the real happiness and the true knowledge.

   21. The warning is—get at the root of things. Don't bother with etiquette and ceremonies. These cut the wrong way.

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Natural Law. Dissertation 4. Pp. 79-100

(i) Elucidation.

   In ancient times, during the days of the three sages,—Fu Hsi, Shen Nung, Huang Ti,—the system of government in vogue was according to wu wei, which ensured the spirit of harmony in the universe: there being no violence done to this spirit, the result was peace and freedom from disturbance. However, in the course of time, with the growth of art and cunning inventions, the human mind, gradually, became divorced from the natural and tended to the artificial. Leading men and those in authority were the chief instigators in these artificial productions; and the more they followed the seductions of the senses, the more marked was the decadence in life and the inequalities in social conditions. There was growing luxury amongst those who had wealth, and the poverty of others greatly increased. Concurrently there arose moral corruption and the spirit of selfishness. There naturally followed the spirit of envy, dissatisfaction, struggle and contention. As the love of pleasure and luxury grew, the social contrast became more marked. The rich ceased to consider the poor; the misery of the people was bitter. The spirit of concord was lost, and turmoil, more and more, disturbed the land.

   Good men felt the dangers of the situation, and many uprose to stem the tide of evil and wickedness. The sages created a moral system which was chiefly composed of jen, i, benevolence, righteousness, rites and music, hoping, by the p. 279 inculcation of these ideas and corrective methods of culture, to help men to suppress the reign of the senses which threatened to drown the higher life. But these good intentions and noble practices failed. All was in vain. The reason is clear; they created an artificial system of culture, and so far from arresting the tendency to become the slaves of the senses, these new methods only added to the seductive charms that misled the world away from the real source of power.

(ii) Epitome and analysis.

   (a) The governing system adopted and in vogue during the age of the three sages,—the age of the T‛ai Ch‛ing.

   The system adopted was that of wu wei,—the governing force being the rule of the spirit and not that of the senses. The results were most felicitous. The whole of nature glowed with peace and harmony. When the leaders of men neglected this system, the harmony was marred, and peace was broken. Private pleasure took the place of public good, as the standard of life. The happiness of the people was not considered. The rapacity of the powerful disturbed nature. It became savage. Calamities failed to warn the transgressors. In order to counteract the mistakes and selfishness of the times, education and law, rewards and punishments were established, so as to correct the evils of the times; but this system of minor moralities failed to reach the end in view. The artificial methods used were a poor substitute for the true principle of action viz., wu wei. The thing that should have been done was to restore the principle of wu wei and thus follow the force that governs the harmony of Heaven and Earth. These were founded on the principle of harmony: yin and yang will play their part properly, when there is universal harmony. The method of governing the country used by the sages was wholly on the principle of naturalness. The people were simple and easy-going. But the world, later, deteriorated; and the disadvantages of benevolence, righteousness, rites and music were pointed out. Rites and music are inferior to jen, i, benevolence and righteousness; and jen, i, again, is inferior to tao te (this tao te, morality is the artificial form of Confucian morality).

   (b) As the age deteriorated and manners became worse, falsehood and hypocrisy grew more manifest, and the leaders adopted policies and diplomacies in governing the people.

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   Heaven, with all its constellations, and the Earth, with its varieties, exhibit the greatness of the Tao. The laws of the Tao should be followed implicitly. Benevolence, righteousness, rites and music are fascinating ideas; but they only lead into artificiality, more and more. Compare these artificial methods with the method of the Perfect Man with the systems of Yao and Shun, of T‛ang and Wu Wang. The better results of these at once become evident.

   The Chih jen, the Perfect Man of the Taoist system, always acts in the spirit of wu wei, of apparently doing nothing. He withdraws from the active arena of affairs and retires into seclusion and does not interfere in public agitations and turmoil; but, as we have already seen, their influence is very effective. The silence they observe carries out the Tao of wu wei, which is of priceless value. But merely learned persons do not appreciate this method nor understand the value of the wu wei method: and they engage in purposeless discussions and the vanity of words.

   (c) Here follows an account of the policies of emperors, kings and dukes in governing the empire. They followed naturalness generally. There are several systems; the system of T‛ai i, the primum mobile; of yin and yang, harmony; of time and seasons; of the six laws. The last borders on the artificial, being human creation. Then follows an account of the results of these different methods. It should be observed that these methods, again, were adapted to the rule of each. The emperor stood for the primum mobile: kings used the method of harmony: the autocrat used the regime of seasons, and the duke that of the six laws. (These ideas are obscure, and it is not clear what was really intended by the description.) It is enjoined that each of the four grades should strictly act within the sphere of each.

   (d) We now come to the system of the Chen jen, or True Man. It is he who is most economical of the spirit and energy. He takes care to close up the 4 Passes, or the Senses: and to stop the 5 Extravagances. These are the wrong and extravagant use made of the resources of nature. (Both these are fully explained in the text.) We may well enquire into the causes of unrest and anarchy. It will be found that these causes lie in giving rein to the senses and in the wasteful use made of the sources of wealth. When a country's resources are used to minister merely to p. 281 the love of pleasure and luxury, distress of the people will follow and anarchy will come. Luxury inflames the passions: heavy taxes lead to despair.

   The ancient sages were thrifty in the use they made of the five resources.

   (e) Closing remarks on the use of the military, on music and funerals.

   Joy, anger and mourning should be natural and not artificial. There is a difference between ancient and modern music and also in ceremonials connected with funerals and the rites of mourning. There is also a great dissimilarity of intention in the use of an army, between the ancient and the modern. The original purpose of all the above was constructive and not destructive, helpful and joyful to the community, rather than the contrary.

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Influence of the Cosmic Spirit. Dissertation 6. Pp. 143-180.

Epitome and Analysis.

   Before and during the time of the Three Sages, naturalness was the guiding principle for ruling. All creation, as a result, worked together in harmony. During the age of the Five Emperors, rites, ceremonies, music and other social accomodations came into vogue. These were established to meet the needs of the people and in response to the changing times. But these conveniences were not made with any idea that they should be used or altered by successors who were not under the inspiration of the Tao.

   All leaders of the people should, therefore, (a) follow the law of nature, (b) supply the needs of the people, and (c) adapt the method of government to suit the changing times. If any one of these three things is neglected, it is certain that disturbances and ruin will follow. It is clear that all sages followed the Tao in their administration of affairs and supplied the needs of the public according to the times.

   In the time of the 5 Rulers, 2953-2914 B.C., there were men who preferred to be farmers than Court officers and Ministers of State. The practices in war were humane: the weapons were sword and bow and arrow, only; in war they did not capture soldiers whose temples were getting gray, nor kill the young. There were no strict forms of p. 282 punishments and rewards. There was a general spirit of tolerance, which it was possible to practice, for the reason that the people were simple and guileless. These tolerant practices could not be used in later generations, on account of changes in habits and thoughts. So, later leaders had need to adopt the system of a mixture of sternness and meekness—one composed of the negative and positive principles. In a word, leaders could not blindly follow past practices but had to adapt rule to the times. Mere imitation is never possible.

   In the Confucian system, different sages had different ideas. Confucius stressed jen, i, benevolence and righteousness. Mei Tzû was the advocate of universal love and altruism. Yang Tzû stood out for Egoism or love of self. Mencius was the advocate of princely Sovereignty and righteousness, etc. Tradition must not be followed blindly. Morality is most important. Its neglect may lose a kingdom, and the observance of its rule may gain a kingdom. A survey of history will convince us of the truth of this. Emperor Yao began his kingdom with 100 families. Shun had no supporters and land. Chieh lost his sovereign power because he was morally bankrupt. Chou ruined the country because he neglected the welfare of the people in the search of illicit pleasures and selfish perversion.

   What is true of a kingdom is equally true of the individual. Success and failure depends on the character of the person. There are many examples given to prove the theory. And it is to be observed that men who have greatly succeeded may have been at some period of their lives guilty of some misbehaviour and minor faults. These, however, should not bar their way to advancement, should they show that the main purpose of their life is in accordance with the Tao. Men must be judged at their best and not at their worst. This should be a clear principle of action. And again, instances are given of men who won out in spite of past faults and of some wrong doing that weighted them down.

   It is easy to be good and to do good things: it is not easy to be bad and do bad things. Man's nature in its origin is good, and it requires some effort to bend it towards evil. Man's inability to control the passions is the chief cause of evil. The senses and desires govern the motions of life, when they are not under the Tao. Herein is the great difference between the sage and the worldly man. The p. 283 sages have an even mind and a strong will power; so they keep the senses from racing into the outward world: they guard the spirit within, and, thus, they are not tempted and attracted by outward things. They have curbed desire and suppressed the passions, or, in the words of the classic, "they have a scale for themselves."

   The conclusion is that nations and individuals, whether they belong to the nobility or the commons, must follow the Tao as the law of life.

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Generalship. Dissertation 7. Pp. 182-218.


   In early times, during the years of the Three Sages and Five Worthies, the aim of all military action, by the governing power, was the welfare of the people. In no sense was the army raised on account of private disputes or in order to satisfy individual ambition or to serve aggressive purposes. The aim was similar to that of wise men, when they make use of weapons. They use them to pacify disturbances and rid the country of pests and dangers, just like fishermen who, in rearing fish, destroy all otters and seals from the preserves, so that the fish may grow in peace. Such a process is natural, and those who act thus follow the law of nature. On the contrary, if anyone should use the military for private purposes and to serve selfish ends, it would be against the law of nature, and the result would be fatal to success and right order. Such a proposition can be verified by innumerable historical instances.

   The law of nature, or in other words, Tao is of infinite variety in its operations. It meets the myriad affairs of existence not by any one rigid rule, but by multifarious methods, suiting each action to the needs of the case. The Tao is the only principle to follow. There is no other safe way. He who follows Tao is strong; but he who disobeys this law will certainly perish. It seems more right and more consonant with the Tao to have punishment inflicted, but without recourse to actual physical engagement in battle. To refer to the ancient method, a properly organised soldiery would never need to actually engage in battle: for if one's own army is properly organised on Tao principles and statesmen have carried on their part with truth and justice, there never need be any fighting. When it is time to act, p. 284 the people on both sides readily respond to statesmen who draw from the well of truth. Even before any movement has taken place, the enemy has already dissolved and ceased to be.

   There are three fundamental things to be observed by those who have armies. 1. Right government of the nation. 2. Administration, on the basis of benevolence and righteousness. 3. The exercise of justice in all affairs.

   But now-a-days leaders and people are ignorant of the fundamental idea of things, viz., the Tao. They think that victory lies with the sharpest arms. But this is disproved by history. It is plain that it is the nation with the best government, and not with the best army, which survives. The nation nearest to the Tao is the nation that continues.

   No military preparation can take place without form. This is quite evident. Just think of fortresses, ammunition factories, arsenals and armouries: these are material and are of visible form. This being so, the visible things can be overcome by means of tactics. The force which can operate without form is the only one sure of victory. Nothing can overcome formless force, which works through invisibility. But the Tao is without visible form. To possess the Tao assures victory.

   The method of sage rulers, when they are obliged to undertake military operations, is one consonant with right. They work on the principles of the Tao; all is done according to truth and justice. They do not want war: the mind is calm, whatever the conditions may be. They keep still, and this very stillness shatters the unrest of the enemy, who is tossed about by selfish ambitions and the pursuit of private ends. The enemy is not animated by any just aim in his counsels, so he is fatally weak. They maintain a unity of mind in all their work, which is in such contrast to the scattered-brain condition of those who act without the Tao. They maintain a vitality of spirit, whilst their enemies waste resources in uncertain and dubious plans. They act speedily in order to protect those under their charge,—so unlike their opponents, who hesitate and are tardy. Further, they preserve a fundamental quality in all good action; that is to say, they keep to the harmony of Heaven and Earth and give it place in all human affairs. Such, then, are the main-springs of action which seeks always to follow the Tao.

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   The nation that follows the Tao, though mild in spirit, will bend the toughest opponent: fewer in number, it will yet gain victory over the many: though small in size, it will vanquish the biggest enemy.

   A word should be said on the character and spirit of the Commander himself, as the essay contains not a little about this.

   As for leaders and generals of the army, there are a few important things that are essential. These may be summed up under two captions. The first exhibits the need of three fundamental points, and the second two superlative advantages, which should be gained over the enemy. To take the first point, first. (1) The existence of a courageous spirit. How may this be best got? There is one certain way, and that is that all action and thought must have its origin in the well of truth; and the aim of all action must be the righting of wrong and the adjustment of unfair conditions. Possessed with this sense of right, the spirit of the men will be fired with the greatest courage and make them mighty, so that when they swoop down on an enemy, it will be swept away, just as a strong gust of wind snips the leaves from off the tree; or it may be compared to the sharp peal of thunder breaking into the stillness of the quiet air. The spirit animated by a sense of truth and justice is an awe-inspiring power and one able to overpower the enemy. 2. The Commandant should occupy strategic positions, which will make the fortress impregnable, and at the same time, standing on high ground, be a fitting place for the arrows to be rained down on the enemy. 3. The third and last point is to find out the weak spots of the enemy and to utilise them for his certain defeat.

   The two superlative advantages are as follows: 1. Good scouting, in order to get knowledge of the enemy's condition. Through these investigations, plans for attack and ambuscading can be worked. 2. Perfect training and discipline of the soldiers, so that under the trying conditions of battle, there may arise no confusion, either with regard to order or disposition.

   Now, as to the generals themselves. There must be self-discipline. They should inure themselves to bear heat and cold; they must always be ahead of the soldier in attack; they must have great courage to rush the most difficult passes; they must eat after the soldier has had his food, and p. 286 drink after the thirst of the soldier has been quenched. They, thus, gain the affection and loyalty of the men. And this comradeship is of incalculable value in war. They should be well-educated and cultivate the habit of a healthy life, both physical and moral.

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Endeavour and Duty. Dissertation 8. Pp. 219-242.


   The purpose of this essay is to show that the ancient worthies strove to fulfil their duty of serving the people. In so doing, the ancient sages were adherents of wu wei, which literally means no action, but which really means action according to naturalness or the Tao. It is quite true that there are many who think that quietness and stillness mean motionless activities. But it is quite a mistake to think that the distinguished adherents of wu wei, and even the founders of the theory, were men who did nothing. They were, on the contrary, men of laborious toil, men who incessantly laboured for the good of the people. They were diligent workers in all fields of human activities and served the people in their difficulties. This may be proved historically by the example of Shen Nung, the great investigator of vegetation and the classifier of plants, and discoverer of their values, as drugs for human sickness: by Yao, the kindest and wisest of emperors who loved the people: by the emperor Shun, also, a person of great activity, who did immense good by designing houses for the people, thus removing them from the dangers of cave-dwelling and living in precarious nests in the trees; by Yü, the emperor, also, whose skin was tanned black in his toils to stem the waters and the flood. T‛ang may also be called as a witness. He was the founder of the Shang dynasty and delivered the oppressed subjects of the cruel monarch Chieh, the last emperor of the Hsia dynasty. Some of these five rulers are regarded as the founders of the spiritual elements in Taoism. And the conclusion to be drawn from their lives is that they were laborious workers and were governed by the principle of wu wei. So the term is not a doctrine of non-performance, but one of in-performance—to play on the words in and non. Their lives were truly sacrificial lives.

   Indeed, it may be said, that the creation of emperors, kings and the nobility was originally due to the election of p. 287 good men to guard the interests of the people and the oppressed. They maintained the cause of right and justice: they warded off danger of enemies and relieved the people, by humane measures of government and social benefits. And they were acting, in the doing of all this ameliorative work, by spiritual means,—naturalness of the Tao. In no sense were they of the cult of 'doing nothing', indolent and lazy, as some of the more modern disciples affirm. Anything opposed to wu wei, naturalness, is yu wei, action by effort as wu wei is action, in accordance with the spirit. But this implies hard training and heavy tasks and education. Improvement through education, except in certain cases, is possible. Some are born perfect; others are born wicked. In many cases education may prove to be a failure. But generally education is appreciated by all. All should be educated up to the standard of life, and there should be no curtailment because of the failures of some.

   Animals have instinct, and depend on it in order to avoid harm and gain advantage. If education is abandoned and people left to their natural instinct, they would soon become like birds and beasts. It lies in education to advance the progress of the world and to civilize people. It gives men an expert knowledge and an enlightenment of mind. Fame is won by hard study, and merit by hard work, as may be shown by numberless instances.

   Further, education is a factor in human evolution. Those who insist on sticking to old views, hinder progress and shut out inventions, to the detriment of their minds. This, in turn, will create loss of harmony and coöperation. Education gives knowledge and consequent mastery. Without education the power of management will suffer. Ignorance leads to unnecessary suffering.

   Real knowledge is got by profound study and kept by a retentive memory. Superficial knowledge is of little value, and to study merely to get a name, is worse than useless. The multitude is not led by real and true standards. Reality and not dilettantism is what is wanted. One must not be deceived by mere appearances. Nevertheless, one may have the accomplishments of the great leaders of old in learning; but without tê, virtue, it will be useless. Also, there must be a field for its exercise. Here follow illustrations of the powers of education. If progress is slow, there must be no discouragement. In the end, if there is no stopping half way in education, there will be results.

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