Edward Harper Parker.

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sometimes sweep through the drawing-rooms. Was
it a deplorable thing that a man who had been used


to uttering the name of the Almighty in profanity
should for the first time in his life call upon God
in penitence ? The success of a revival depended
on the man rather than the methods. A revival
was to be judged by its results. The moral effects
of the Welsh revival were universally recognised,
and he believed that the revival would result in
a great extension of missionary effort."

The bushi-do, or " military honour," which is
more or less involved in the new spirit of revival
in Japan, seems to be in no way historically con-
nected with the partly mythical and partly Chinese
shen-tao, or its Japanese imitation kami-no-michi.
It is certainly not a national Chinese feature,
though possibly the germs of it may be discerned
so far as mere theory goes in the wars which
ushered in the Han dynasty (b.c. 212-200), or in
the wars of the Three Empires (a.d, 168-265),
which last are responsible for the production of
the chief, if not the only, really chivalrous romance
in the Chinese language ; but, even so, that
romance was not written before the thirteenth
century under the Mongol dynasty, and the mere
inculcation of a chivalrous spirit never seems to
have resulted in the wholesale practice of it in
China. There is not a single instance in Chinese
history of a sustained, noble, generous, and brave
patriotic movement ; all emotional zeal is family or
parochial ; there is no fraternity. The chivalrous
spirit that animates the Japanese in such a marked
degree is in the first place probably inborn in the
race, which has always known how to preserve its

270 SHINTOISM [chap. xii.

freedom from foreign denomination ; but more
directly and immediately, probably, to the three
centuries of civil war which preceded the long
peace of the Tokugawa regime, i.e. which preceded
the period of isolation under the Tokugawa
"Tycoons," brought to an end with the restoration
of the direct Mikado rule in 1868. The two-
sworded samurai who used to slash the British
barbarians in the streets of Yedo forty years ago
did not, in our eyes, cut such a noble figure as
the thousands of plebeian soldiers so willing to
throw their lives away at Nan-shan or Port Arthur ;
but the proud spirit was the same, though the
labours, trials, and disappointments of half a
century may have chastened and broadened that
spirit into purer and less personal form. In their
search for a religion and for a principle of life,
the Japanese may have made historical mistakes ;
but the whirligig of Time has brought them
their ample vindication, and more than one great
European power would be proud to possess in
its people half the patriotic and spiritual qualities
that the Japanese in one mass are now showing.


The Tao-teh King, or " Way-virtue Scripture," of Lao-tsz, or (as
here translated), " Providential Grace Classic."

Division I.— PROVIDENCE.
{i.e. Tao, or " The (Correct) way.")

{N.B. — The numbers in brackets in the text refer to the
paragraphs which repeat the same words or ideas. Though
disagreeable to the artistic sense, they are necessary in order that
general readers may satisfy themselves what Lao-tsz really meant.)

1. The Providence which could be indicated by words
would not be an all-embracing Providence, nor would any
name by which we could name it be an ever-applicable
name (14, 21, 25, 32, 37).

" Non-existence " is a name for the beginning of heaven
and earth. " Existence " is a name for the genetrix of
the innumerable objects (4, 10, 25, 32, 37) of creation.

Hence, " absolute non-existence " suggests to us the
miraculous working (27) of what in " absolute exist-
ence" has become the resulting essence (21).

These two emanate from the same, though their namings
are dissimilar, and jointly they are termed " state of colour-
less dissolution" (10). Dissolution, again, within dis-
solution thus connects us with the various miraculous
workings (6, 27).

2. All the world knows what " agreeable " means, and
this necessarily connotes " disagreeable " ; it knows in
the same way what " good " is, which connotes " not good "
(29, 36).

272 THE TA0-T£:H king

Hence "existence" and "non-existence" (34) have
a common birth ; " difficult " and " easy " have a common
creation ; " long " and " short " have a common obvious-
ness ; " high " and " low " present a common contrast ;
" sound-waves " and " noise " have a common unison ;
"before" and "after" have a common sequence (10,


Thus the highest form of man performs his functions
without display of activity (37) and conveys his lessons
without display of words (5).

The innumerable objects do similarly function, and this
without fail (21, 34).

Birth without existence (10); doing, without showing
self-consciousness ; achieving results, without claiming
them (9, 22).

And it is precisely that no claim being made the
results do not vanish (10, 22, 33).

3. Do not show partiality for " high character " and then
you will make people refrain from competing for such
distinction. Place no special value upon rare possessions,
and thus you will remove folk's temptation to robbery
(12, 19). Do not let that which is covetable stand before
the eye, and in this way the mind will not be disturbed.

Hence the administration of the highest form of man is
directed to keeping the mind unpreoccupied, and to keeping
the belly full (35). He takes strength from the will,
and adds strength to the bones, in this way causing the
people to be always ignorant of what they thus never
covet ; or, at any rate, causing those possessing this know-
ledge to shrink from any action upon it. By this policy
of " not raising incidents," everything will conform to
order (10, 15, 24, 29, 35).

4. Providence used with restraint need not exhibit its
full force (9). It is profound ; and like, as it were, the
ancestral progenitor of the innumerable objects (i). It
checks undue impulse, solves entanglements, subdues
undue brightness, and equalises what is disagreeable.
Balmy, as though preserving life (27). I do not know


whose offspring it is, but indications suggest what is
anterior to any monarchs (25).

5. Heaven and earth entertain no benevolence, making
the innumerable objects serve their respective purposes,
just like we utilise the straw hounds in exorcising at
sacrifices. In the same way the highest form of man
entertains no over-tender feeling, utilising the people just
like we use the same straw hounds.

We might say the space between heaven and earth
will compare with a bellows ; being empty, and yet not
curved, needing only movement to put forth its power.
So it is that the more talk we employ (2) the sooner we
reach our wit's ends (23) ; whence it is better to hold a
medium course.

6. The spirit of the valley of space never dies (15),
and this is what is called the progenetrix of neutral dis-
solution (i), and the connection of this dissolution pro-
genetrix (25) may be termed the root of heaven and
earth. It extends into eternity like a preserver of life (4),
and is inexhaustible in its uses (35).

7. Heaven is enduring, and earth is lasting. The reason
why heaven and earth are capable of this is that, not
having created themselves from any thing, they are thus
able to go on existing for ever. Thus it is that the
highest form of man keeps his personality in the back-
ground, and yet it asserts itself (i, 22) ; treats his own
existence from an objective point of view, and yet
preserves that existence. It is not that he possesses no
individuality, but it is in this way that he is capable of
developing his individuality.

8. The highest beneficence resembles water, for water
is always ready to benefit the innumerable objects, yet
never contests place with them (34). It is content with
that low level which all men abhor, and in this respect
bears some analogy to Providence, which always places
itself to the best advantage, excogitates with the calmest
depth, dispenses benefits with the maximum benevolence,
speaks with the greatest truth, governs in the highest



spirit of order, utilises the best abilities, and moves on
the most suitable occasions. In a word, making no self-
assertive effort, it is never ill-advised (22).

9. It were better to drop a matter altogether than to
push it to the fullest extremes (4, 29). If a point be
ground down too fine, it will not wear so long. If your
treasures fill the whole house, you will not be able
to look after them all. A man who is supercilious about
his wealth and position breeds disaster for himself. To
retire your personality after your objects are gained and
your reputation made (2, 8) — such is the Providence of

10. Carry along your soul with singleness of purpose
(22, 35), and see if you can be constant. Concentrate
your efforts upon gentleness, and see how far you can be
like an infant (28). Take disinterested and dispassionate
views of things (16), and see how far you can be without
blemish. Love the people and order your state so far as
possible without making work (3, 35). The process of
evolution opens and closes, with a certain indispensable
female element (i, 20, 28). The process of intelligence
develops itself with a certain indispensable element of
formal science (27, 36). There is birth and there is
nurture (51). There maybe birth without concrete exist-
ence, just as there may be action without assertion of it,
and development without direction of it (34) ; and this is
what we may style the colourless dissolution of Grace (i).

11. Just as thirty spokes united in one hub make up
the serviceability of a wheel by reason of the hollow
centre ; or as manipulated clay turned into a vessel
becomes serviceable as such by reason of the vacuum
within ; just as the spaces for windows and doors left
in building a house contribute to the serviceability of a
dwelling by reason of what is not there ; so in the same
way what concretely exists of our personalities is " value
received," which may be further realised by reason of any
intangible uses to which we may spiritually put those


12. The five primary colours are apt to find eyes blind
to them ; the five musical notes are apt to find ears deaf
to them ; the five flavours are each apt to be too sharp
to the taste ; the violent exercise of the chase on horse-
back is apt to produce a corresponding craziness of mind.
The possession of rare objects (3) is apt to be adversely
obtained. Hence the highest form of man pays more
attention to what is in him than to visible things, and
ignores the latter for the sake of the former.

13. Be apprehensive alike of favour and disapproval
(28). Regard great evils as though they affected your
own person. What do I mean by " favour and dis-
approval ? " The one connotes the other, and you should
accept favour with the apprehension that you may one
time lose it. What do I mean by " regarding great evils
as though they affected your own person ? " The reason
w^hy we experience great evils is because we have person-
ality. Had we no persons, what evils could we experience?
Hence he who values the empire in his own person may
be entrusted with the empire, and he who loves the empire
in his own person may be charged with the empire (26).

14. What does not form an image to the eye (35) is
characterised as [/, or] " unbroken planeness " ; what is
imperceptible to the sense of hearing is characterised as
[///, or] " rarification " ; what is not tangible to the grasp
is characterised as [wez, or] " abstractness " (36). As these
three qualities ^ do not permit of further exploration, they
may be lumped together as one whole, neither exception-
ally brilliant above, nor exceptionally dull below. Ever
continuous! Unsusceptible of a name (i), it resolves
itself once more into a nothingness or non-objectness (16) ;
what may be called shape without form, or aspect without
image; what may be called " fleeting and illusory " (21).
In advancing towards it we distinguish no head ; in
following after it, we distinguish no rear (2) ; thus do
we hold on to the ancient Providence, by way of con-

* This I-hi-ivei is the "Jehovah" spectre conjured up in the
imaginations of Remusat and others.

2/6 THE TA0-T£:H king

trolling modern actuality : thus can we know the
ancient beginnings, or what may be called the phases of

15. Those who filled offices (28) most creditably in
ancient times possessed an inspired understanding of the
[wet, or] abstract and the inscrutable, so profound as to
be unknowable. And precisely because it was unknow-
able were they fain to make all possible allowances. They
used the prudence of a man crossing rivers during winter,
the caution of one dreading to give offence to his
neighbours, They were deferential, as though dealing
with unfamiliar visitors ; and as compliant as ice, so to
speak, which is just on the thaw. They were sound,
and like as it were rough-hewn (28) ; broad-minded as
a valley (6, 27) ; mixing indiscriminately with common
men. It is only by leaving the muddy to settle that it
gradually becomes clear of itself; and it is only by a
permanent feeling of security or letting alone (3, 10, 35)
that results gradually respond to stimulus applied. Those
who abide by Providence of this sort have no wish to
assert its full force (4, 9). In a word, there being no
exercise of full force, it is possible to go on wearing it
down without needing any fresh renewal of it (22, 45).

16. Aim at extreme disinterestedness (10) and maintain
the utmost possible calm (26). The innumerable objects
display their activities in common, and all we have to do
is to watch into what they resolve themselves (14): for
each of these swarming objects reverts to its original root
(14, 28), and this reversion to the root signifies calm;
which is renewed life ; which, again, means perpetuity. To
understand this perpetuity is perspicuity (10, 27, 36): not
to understand perpetuity gives rise to mischief and hurt.
But to understand perpetuity means tolerance (15, 21);
and tolerance is public spirit. Public spirit is Rule, and
Rule is Heaven. Heaven is Providence, and Providence
endures, so that the disappearance of our persons does
not imply any crisis to them (25, 32).

17. As to the Final Clause, those below are conscious


of its existence, and the next steps are to love it and to
praise it ; the next to fear it ; the next to take liberties
with it. Hence faith, if insufficient, is apt to become no
faith at all (24). It is cautious (15) and weighs words;
so when results are achieved and things evolve (9), the
people all say : " We have become so of ourselves " (23, 25).

18. It is only when the highest form of Providence loses
its hold on the mind that we hear of benevolence and
justice ; and it is only when sagacity and cleverness have
begun to appear that we hear of great deceptions. It is
only when the six natural social ties begin to work
inharmoniously that we hear of filial piety and tenderness ;
and it is only when the State falls into incompetence and
confusion that we hear of loyal statesmen.

19. Could we put an end to the highest grade of men,
and get rid of sagacity, the people would be a hundredfold
the better for it. Could we put an end to benevolence and
get rid of justice, the people would revert to more primitive
filial piety and tenderness. Could we put an end to artful-
ness and get rid of gain, robbers and thieves would vanish
(3). In these three instances it is the inadequacy of our
means of literary expression (32) which causes us to
create ideals. We should show simplicity and abide by
the unartificial : we should have fewer interests and less

20. Could we put a stop to " learning," no great harm
would be done. Whether we say " Just so," or " Oh, dear ! "
what does it matter? Whether the point is good or is
bad, what great difference does it make? But what all
mankind dreads, we are each of us bound to dread. A
wilderness ! and with no end to it ! Every one comes
flocking in as though taking part in the great annual
fetes, or bent upon the satisfaction of desire. I only am
indifferent to all this, and feel no inducements : like an
infant before he has reached boyhood (10, 28), drifting
along in a purposeless manner ! Other people all seem
to have more than they need, and I only seem to be left
out. Indeed I have the mind of a simpleton, going stolidly


along. Whilst other men are clear enough, I alone seem
to be muddled ; whilst other men have their wits about
them, I alone am easy-going. Illusory, like the ocean ;
beating about, like as though without stopping. All other
people have something to do, and I only feel like a mean
dolt. I only am unlike other men, and I like to seek
sustenance from my mater creatrix (i, lo, 25).

21. The tolerance (15, 16) of the fullest Grace is
based solely upon Providence as a principle; but as to
the entity of Providence, it is as fleeting as it is illusory
(14). The images suggested by it are illusory in their
fleetingness, and the objects yielded by it are just
as fleeting in their illusoriness. In that dark vista of
space (i) there are vital essences: those essences are
unadulterated, and out of them comes truth; and its
name never leaves it (i) as it unfolds the panorama of
created things. And thus it is that we know of the
actual existence of the created things.

22. It is by bending that we survive, by giving way
that we assert. It is by lowliness that we exercise full
force (4, 9), by wear and tear (15) that we go on
renewing. It is by owning little that we possess much
(33); by owning much that bewilderment comes. For
which reasons the highest form of man is single in
purpose (10) as an example to the rest of the world
(28). He shines because he does not show himself off;
is convincing because he does not justify himself;
successful because he does not proclaim success ; enduring
because he does not assert himself (24). In a word,
making no self-assertive effort (2, 8), no one else in the
world can successfully assert against him. Thus we
cannot say that the ancients^ meant nothing by the
expression " Bend and Survive." Of a truth, it is survival
and reversion as well (14, 25).

23. Few words and spontaneity! (5, 25). Thus the
swishing wind lasts not out the morn, nor does the
pelting rain endure throughout the day. And who does

1 Lao-tsz' own allusion to more ancient philosophy.


this? Heaven and earth! So, even heaven and earth
cannot keep up long : how much more, then, is it so in
the case of man ! Hence those who occupy themselves
with Providence are equal in Providence so far as
Providence goes ; are equal in Grace so far as Grace
goes ; and are equal in lapses so far as lapses go. As
to those equal in Providence, Providence is only too
glad to have it so; as to those equal in Grace, Grace
is only too glad to have it so ; as to those equal in
lapses, lapses are only too glad to have it so. When
faith is insufficient, it is apt to become no faith at all (17)

24. Those who stand on tip - toe gain no footing :
those who sprawl out their legs make no advance. Those
who show themselves off do not shine (29) ; those who
justify themselves are not convincing ; those who proclaim
successes do not succeed ; those who assert themselves
do not endure (2, 8, 22). Their position as regards
Providence is like that of an over-feeder or a fussy-
doer (3), which is apt to provoke men's repulsion (31).
Hence those who really possess Providence do not
willingly consort with such persons.

25. Things existing in a chaotic state had been produced
before heaven and earth (i, 32). In solemn silence stood
the solitary subjectivity, without any changes taking
place ; revolving without any crisis (16). We may
consider this the "mother of the world" (6, 20). As
we cannot know its name, we may apply to it the term
" Providence," and make a shift to use the word " great-
ness " as its name. Now "great" suggests going on,
going on suggests distance, and distance suggests return
(22). Hence there are the greatness of Providence, the
greatness of Heaven, the greatness of Earth, and the
greatness of the Emperor (4). There are four majesties
in the concrete worldly organism, of which four the
Emperor is one. Man looks up to Earth for guidance,
Earth to Heaven, Heaven to Providence, and Providence
to Spontaneity (17, 23).

26. Just as what is weighty must be regarded as the


fundamental origin or root (6) of what is light, so is
calmness the master spirit of impetuousness. For which
reason the accomplished man travels throughout the day
without leaving his caravan ; and though there may be
fine things to see, he remains serenely above them all.
How, then, should an imperial autocrat "treat lightly"
the empire in his own person? (13). By levity he loses
his ministers' confidence ; by impetuousness he compromises
his princely dignity (16).

27. He who walks judiciously leaves no tell-tale foot-
steps behind. He who speaks judiciously leaves no taint
of censoriousness behind. He who calculates judiciously
needs no tallies to do it withal. He who closes judiciously
can, without the use of bolts, effectually prevent an open-
ing. He who knots judiciously, needs no strings to
prevent the untying of it. For which reason the highest
form of man always by preference rescues people, and
therefore never abandons people ; he always by preference
rescues creatures (4), and therefore never abandons
creatures. This is what is called persisting in clear-
sighted intelligence (36). Hence the good man is the
teaching model for the bad man, and the bad man is
the objective upon which the good man works. He who
does not value (13) his model or love (13) his material,
must go far wrong, no matter how knowing he be. This
is the real mysterious working of it (i).

28. Know the masculine or stronger aspect, but
maintain due regard for the feminine or weaker (10, 36),
in your capacity of vivifying stream irrigating the world
(32); in which capacity, permanent Grace never leaving
you, you will revert to infantine innocence (10). Know
the whiter or more aethereal aspect, but maintain con-
sideration for the darker or material, in your capacity
of pattern (22) to the world ; in which capacity, permanent
Grace never failing you, you will revert to the infinite
(14, 16). Know the favour or glory aspect, but maintain
a due estimate of the disapproval or disgrace (13) in
your capacity of broad-mind to the world (15, 32); in


which capacity, permanent Grace being sufficient, you
will revert to rough-hewn simplicity (15, 32). When
this simplicity has gone, the result is a manufactured
article, which, as utilised by the highest form of man,
takes the form of administrative officials (15). Hence
the grand standard is not tampered with or mutilated.

29. When it comes to taking possession of empire
and instituting active steps (3), it seems to me that
here we have a case of nilly-willy (31). Empire is a
spiritual engine, which does not admit of really orthodox
administration, and those who try their hands at it are
apt to come to grief; those who grasp at it only do so
to see it slip away. Hence men must either lead or
be led ; be, so to speak, the inhalers or exhalers (36) ;
either the powerful or the decrepit; the individual must
support his burden or collapse (36). Thus it is that
the highest form of man avoids extremes (9), avoids
showiness, avoids luxury (24).

30. Those who support and counsel the rulers of
mankind under the principles of Providence do not
make use of military force to compel the world. Such
a course is wont to bring retribution ; for brambles
spring out from the land which has been occupied by
an army, and years of dearth are certain to follow in
the wake of great battalions. Hence the beneficent man
(8, 27) is satisfied with attaining his end, not venturing
to proceed onwards therefrom in order to impose by
force ; attaining his end without self-assertion (2),
attaining it without proclaiming success (24), without
exhibiting arrogance ; attaining his end because it is
a case of nilly-willy (29) ; attaining it without over-
bearingness. For all creatures begin to age at maturity
(14, 16, 28), and such action would mean "lack of
Providence," lack of Providence indicating that an end

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Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerChina and religion → online text (page 19 of 23)