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is soon coming.

31. Now, glory in warfare is an inauspicious engine,
and mankind are apt to show their hate of it (24) ; hence
those who really possess the principles of Providence



282 THE TAO-T^H KING

will have no truck with it (24). For this reason the
accomplished man in his civilian capacity takes an
Eastern life - giving seat or attitude ; whilst, when in
charge of troops, he prefers the Western, or life-taking ;
warfare being an inauspicious engine, and not the engine
of an accomplished man, who only makes uses of it in
cases of nilly-willy (29, 30). He makes a colourless calm-
ness (37) his chief aim, and hence has no good word for
war : if he had, he would be delighting in it, and such a
delight in it would be equivalent to delighting in human
butchery. Now, a person who should take delight in
human butchery could never make himself acceptable to
the empire at large (35). The left, or east side is specially
affected to auspicious matters ; and the right, or west to
the ill-starred. Thus it is that the general in charge
of a special column takes the left position, whilst the
commander-in-chief is always to the right ; meaning that,
as occupying the highest status, he must be particularly
associated with the insignia of death and destruction.
When the butchery of human beings is very heavy, we
should bewail the fact with weeping and mourning ; and
thus, when the victor emerges from the fight, he should be
associated with the insignia of death and destruction.

32. Providence is perpetual, and destitute of any name
(i, 37). Though the rough-hewn man (28) may be obscure,
not even the whole world is competent to subdue his
spirit. If our rulers could but abide by principle, all
creation (i, 25, 37) would flock to them. It is the union
of heaven and earth (25) that brings down the sweet dews ;
and in the same way the people can adjust themselves
without need for legal sanctions (37). Names were given
when the first statutory sanctions appeared (19), and
names thus coming into existence, it became possible to
know where to stop, for through knowing where to stop we
avoid a crisis (16, 25). The function of Providence in the
world may be compared with the functions of streams and
valleys in relation to the Great River and the Sea (28).
33. He who understands other men is sagacious, but



THE TAOIST CLASSIC 283

he who understands himself is clear-sighted (36). He who
can overcome other men is strong, but he who overcomes
himself is mighty. He who knows content is rich (22).
It is he that persists who owns the potency of will. It
is he that shows tact whose capacities endure (2, 10, 22).
It is those who die without being forgotten who enjoy
true old age.

34. The highest form of Providence is universal, and
always at hand. The innumerable objects of creation
(i, 25, 33) depend upon its unfailing action for their exist-
ence (2). It achieves results which yet cannot be named
(37) as concrete being (i, 2), and cherishes the innumer-
able objects without disclosing the directing power (10).
Hence it is ever without desire (37), nothing being too
minute for it. The innumerable objects revert to it
(14, 25) and yet are unconscious of its directing power,
nothing being too great for it. Hence the highest form
of man never magnifies himself, and is thus always great
in achievement (8, 10, 15).

35. The empire will go out to him who holds fast to
great symbols (10); will go out to him with a sense of
security ; all feeling easy in body and calm in mind, in
enjoyment of hospitable music and feasting, only limited
by the departure of welcome strangers (3). The savour
of Providence as thus manifested is destitute of distinct
taste ; it is incapable of forming an image to the eye (14),
and is equally imperceptible to the sense of hearing ; but
its effects are inexhaustible (6.)

36. If there is to be attraction, then the centrifugal idea
is connoted, just as the notion of weakening inevitably
involves that of strength (29), the act of deposing that
of setting up ; just as the intention to take possession
assumes that there is possessio. These may be termed
the abstract indications (14, 15, 27) of clear sight (33).
But the soft and weak may overcome the hard and strong
(28) ; hence the fish should not try to leave his tank, and
the effective weapons of state should not be paraded before
the public in whose interests they are used.



284 THE TAO-T^H KING

37. Providence is perpetually without active purpose
(2, 32), and yet leaves nothing undone. If our rulers
could but abide by principle, all creation (32) would
improve its own line of conduct. Should this improving
development show tendency to restless activity, I would
propose to check it with that unnameable rough-hewn-
ness (25, 28, 32, 34) ; and as this unnameable rough-
hewnness will have no desires (34), from this absence of
desire we reach calm (31); and thus the world will right
itself.



Division II.
{i.e. Teh, "Virtue," or "Grace.")

38. The highest Grace (41) makes no pose of Grace,
and for this reason really is Grace ; whilst the lower
quality of Grace may never divest itself of Grace, and
yet never feels like true Grace.

The highest Grace, avoiding action, finds no necessity
to act; whilst the lower quality of Grace takes action,
yet still finds it necessary to act.

The highest benevolence (18, 19) takes action, and
then finds no necessity to act; the highest justice (19)
takes action, yet still finds it necessary to act.

The highest form of ceremoniousness takes action, yet
finds no response at all, so that one must bare the arms
and go on with action (69).

Thus it is that as Providence weakens, Grace takes its
place ; as Grace weakens, benevolence takes its place ; as
benevolence weakens, justice takes it place ; as justice
weakens, forms and ceremonies take its place. Now,
mere forms, being the degenerate pha.ses of loyalty (18)
and truth, are the first beginnings of anarchy (18, 64).
Forwardnesses and smartnesses are mere ornamental
excrescences of Providence, and are the commencement
of imbecihty (48).



THE TAOIST CLASSIC 285

For these reasons the manly fellow takes his stand on
what is honest or worthy, and will have no truck with the
superficial or degenerate ; he takes his stand on the real,
and will have no truck with the showy. Hence he ignores
the latter for the sake of the former (12, Ti).

39. Instances of concentration or unification of effort
in the past are clearness in the case of the heavens, repose
in the case of the earth, spirituality in the case of the gods,
fulness (45) in the case of space (6), life in the case of
created objects (34), purity in the face of the world in
the case of our rulers (32, 37, 42). The oneness of purpose
is identical in each instance. Unless the heavens can be
clear, there is a possibility of their being rent asunder ;
unless the earth can be in repose, there is the possibility
of its quaking ; unless the gods can be spiritual, there is
the possibility of their being inactive ; unless the valley of
space (6) can have fulness (4), there is a possibility of its
being exhausted (15); unless the innumerable objects of
creation can have life (21, 34), there is the possibility of
their annihilation ; unless our rulers can be pure and
esteem loftiness, they may come to grief (32, 42).

Hence the more distinguished take their root in the
mean, and the more exalted have their foundation in the

lowly {yy^

For which reason our rulers, in speaking of themselves,
have used the terms " bereaved one," " unworthy one,"
"ill-endowed one" (42). This is taking their root among
the mean, surely, is it not ?

Hence it comes that if we carefully count up separately
each piece that goes to form a cart (ii), we have no cart
at all. We must not go into nice questions or fine dis-
tinctions as to what is a rare gem and what a common
stone in the whole body of principle (23).

40. " Return " indicates the movements of Providence
(25, 65, 78), and "weakness" indicates the uses of
Providence (78). Heaven, Earth, and the innumerable
objects of creation derive their being from existence (i, 10,
34) ; and existence derives its being from non-existence.



286 THE TAO-T^H KING

41. The highest-minded candidates for office (15), after
undergoing instruction in Providence, put it zealously into
practice (53, 70); the mediocre ones, after listening to
Providence, are as much dead as alive about it ; the
inferior ones, after listening to Providence, make great fun
of it. Did they not ridicule it, it would scarcely deserve
to be considered Providence. Hence, as it is put by those
who expound these matters, the brilliancy of Providence
comprises a certain dulness (14); the [t or] unbroken
planeness of Providence comprises certain distinctive-
nesses (14); the advance of Providence (62) comprises a
certain retiringness (9).

The highest Grace is like a valley (15, 28) : very white,
and yet comprising disgrace.^ The broadest Grace is as
though insufficient, and in establishing Grace there is a
certain stealthy diffidence (15): an homogeneous body,
yet in a state of flux. A perfect square is without
angularities ; a great machine or utensil takes long to
finish ; great sound-waves make [At or] small noise (2, 14) ;
a great symbol (35) has no obvious form (2). Providence is
inscrutable and nameless (i, 25, 32, 34, 37). In short,
Providence rejoices in endowing man (8) with the
wherewithal to perfect himself

42. Providence produced unity ; unity produced duality ;
duality produced trinity ; and trinity produced the in-
numerable objects (i, 2, 4, 25); the innumerable objects,
carrying the feminine or shadow principle on the one side,
and the masculine or sun-light principle on the other,
creating a just harmony by their respective clashes of
primitive impulse or ether (6, 25, 55).

The things which all men abhor (8, 24, 31) are being
" bereaved," like orphans ; being " unworthy " or out in
the cold, like widows ; and being " ill-endowed," as with
the necessaries of life ; yet our princely and ducal readers

1 I am very unwilling to suggest alterations in the text ; but a
reference to Par. 28 certainly leads to the belief that the ancient
copyists must have omitted a phrase, and that the whole should run :
" white suggests [Hack, and glory suggests] disgrace."



THE TAOIST CLASSIC 287

(32, 37, 39) precisely adopt these terms to style themselves
withal (39). Hence living creatures may, whilst taking off
from, yet add to ; or, whilst adding to, take off from.
What men themselves teach, I will also teach to them.
The violent (55) do not find a happy death, and therefore
it is that I am taking them as the text of my homily.

43. The tenderest things in the world may over-ride
the toughest (22, 55, 78), just as a hard thing may take its
rise from nothing, and enter where there is no opening^
(10). Whence we may know how it is that inaction
(2, 3, 63, etc.) has its advantages. Lessons without display
of words (2, 56, 73), advantageous results without doing
anything — [^/ or] few men (14) in the world can attain to
this point.

44. The reputation or the person (7, 9), which of the
two is dearer to us ? Of which do we want most, of our
persons (9) or of wealth ? Which does the more harm
(22), acquisition or losing? For these reasons, deep
attachment to anything must involve heavy cost, and
great accumulations involve correspondingly enormous
losses. He who is content (33, 46) risks no humiliations
(13, 28, 41, and 41 note). He who knows when to stop
incurs no crisis (16, 25, 32, 52), and may therefore endure^
(7, 16, 44, 59)-

45. In the highest degree perfect, yet accepting an
air of imperfection (7), with capacity for use without
exhaustion (6, 15, 22). Possessing the highest degree of
fulness (39), yet used with restraint (4), such use being
never pushed to extremes (9). In the highest degree
straight, yet with an air of bending (22). In the highest

1 This mysterious sentence, which permits the imagination to run
riot in various fancies, would have been totally unintelligible to me
had I not discovered from the Concordance that Vainancius (2nd
cent. B.C.) quotes it, with the addition of the three words "hard
emanates from," as printed in italics.

2 The context here suggests that the allusion to "names" in Par.
32 perhaps refers rather to a man knowing when to stop, with a
" reputation made," without risking his person on further ambitions
or showy schemes.



288 THE TAO-TlfcH KING

degree artful (19, 57), yet with an air of clownishness (20).
With the highest capacity for argumentativeness (81), yet
with hesitation to speak (2, 5, 17, 22). Impetuousness (26)
overcomes cold, but calm (16, 57) overcomes heat. Clear
(15) and calm are needed to put one right or orthodox in
the eyes of the Empire (22, 28, 37, 39, 56).

46. When the Empire is possessed of the principle of
Providence, the pacing chargers are driven back to do
tillage work ; but when the Empire is destitute of such
Providence, then war-horses spring up outside all our
towns (31). There is no greater sin (46) than looking
upon the covetable (3) ; there is no greater evil (69) than
discontent (33, 44) ; there is no greater disaster (9) than
acquisitiveness. Hence the enough of contentment is
always enough.

47. One may know the world without ever crossing the
threshold ; one may discern the Providence of Heaven
(9, 16, 25, 79) without ever looking out of the window.
In fact, the farther abroad you go, the less you may
know. For which reason the highest form of man knows
without walking forth; gives names to (35) without
seeing; and accomplishes without seeming to do any-
thing (2, 3, 10, 34).

48. In learning, the object is to get on every day
(20, 64). In practising Providence, the aim should be to
do less and less every day (38), and to go on decreasing
what we do until we arrive at complete inaction
(10, 29, 47); in such wise that whilst not seeming to do
anything we leave nothing undone (37). Hence those
who secure Empire, generally manage it without much
ado (29, 35, 57, 63); and when much ado is made about
it, it will be found that those who try to secure it are
unequal to the task.

49. The highest form of man has no fixed mind ; he
makes the mind of the people his mind (3). With the
good we should show goodness ; with those who are not
good we should also show goodness (27), in order to grace
goodness. To the truthful we should show truth ; to



THE TAOIST CLASSIC 289

those who are not truthful we should also show truth, in
order to grace truth (8, 21, 38, 63, 81). The highest form
of man in his relation to the world (32) is apprehensive
(13, 15), and allows his whole soul to go out freely to the
world ; whilst the people, on the other hand, have their
eyes and ears incessantly hanging upon him ; and the
highest form of man thus regards them all as his children.

50. Like as, waxing to the full and waning to the
eclipse, the waxing units numbering thirteen whole days,
and the waning units numbering thirteen (76) ; so with
man's birth until his busy career (40) ends in death, there
are also thirteen phases. And why so? On account of
his persistency in keeping up life (75). For I have heard
that persons possessing the secret of life never encounter^
a rhinoceros or a tiger when they walk abroad ; never
need to strap on sword or buckler (80) when they go to
the wars. The rhinoceros cannot find in them the where
to lodge his horn withal ; the tiger cannot find in them
the where to place his claws withal ; the weapon cannot
find in them the wherein to insert its point. And why so ?
Because for such an one there is no finding death (7).

51. Being born of Providence (25, 41), nurtured by
Grace (10), shaped by mortals, and completed by circum-
stances, the innumerable created objects, for this very
reason, without exception revere Providence and honour
Grace (62). Now this revering of Providence and
honouring of Grace was never a conferred distinction, but
always was so spontaneously (17, 25, 64). Hence
Providence bears all things, nurtures ^ them, develops
them (10), and rears them ; completes them, ripens
them, tends them, and protects them (34). Birth without
concrete existence (2, 10), action without self-conscious
assertion of it (2, 10, JJ^^ and development without

^ Other citations of this figure of speech suggest "never shirk
encounter with " as being the original idea intended.

^ One of my copies adds the word " Grace " before " nurtures," but
a majority of citations leads me to expunge it, in spite of the preceding
sentence.

T



290 THE TAO-T^H KING

direction of it (lo, 34) — this is what is called the colourless
dissolution of Grace (10, 62, 65).

52. When the world had its beginning (i, 14, 42), it
was as though the world had a mother (i, 20, 25, 59).
Having thus the creating genetrix, the created offspring
(4) became cognizable ; and this offspring being known,
reverts (16) to maintain the genetrix (28) ; the dis-
appearance of persons not involving any crisis (16, 25, 32,
44). If you keep your mouth closed (23, 43) and your
eyes and ears half shut (9, 15, 27), you will get through
life without being busy ; but if you open your mouth, and
further this or that interest, your life will not suffice to put
you right again. To detect small indications is per-
spicuity (16, 36, 55). To maintain the weaker or gentler
aspect means strength (10, 28, 36, 43, 76, 78). Utilise the
brightness of it (4, 58), and allow the brilliancy to revert
once more (14, 28), not leaving behind any injury to the
body (9) ; this is what is called persisting in (27) perpetuity
(16).

53. Let me possess knowledge in a detached frame of
mind, and exercise it in the service of the highest Providence
(18, 34) ; the sole anxiety being how to use it so : for the
highest form of Providence is exceedingly [z or] level and
undeviating (14, 41), though most men prefer short cuts.
Our royal courts are very spruce, while our fields are over-
grown with tares, and our granaries are very empty : we
wear rich raiment, carry sharp swords, gorge ourselves with
food and drink (24, 75, 77, 80), and have more wealth than
we know what to do with (9, yy) ; this is what may be
called " all dancing to the wicked piper " : it is most
assuredly no^ Providence.

54. Good builders do not pull up ; good holders do not
let go. Thus it is as with the ancestral sacrifices which for
ever have been offered by our posterity. Cultivated in
one's own person, such Grace is genuine (21, 41) ; cultivated
in the family, such Grace is abundant ; cultivated in the
village, such Grace is permanent ; cultivated in the State,
such Grace is fertilising ; cultivated in the Empire, such



THE TAOIST CLASSIC 291

Grace is universal. Therefore, as touches your person
regard it from the personal point of view ; as touches your
family, regard it from the family point of view ; as touches
your village, regard it from the village point of view ; as
touches the State, regard it from the State point of view ;
as touches the Empire, regard it from an imperial point of
view. And thus it is how I am able to know that the
Empire view is such (21, 57).

55 One who is deeply permeated by Grace may be com-
pared with newly-born infants (10, 20, 28). Venomous
creepers do not sting, fierce beasts do not seize, birds of
prey do not clutch them. Though their bones be soft (3)
and their sinews tender, they can grasp firmly. Though
they know nothing of sexual connection (61), they
experience erectile dilatation, this being the ultimate
determination of the essences (21) within them. They
howl all day without making their throats hoarse, the
result being a harmonious balance of forces (42). To
know this harmony is perpetuity (16) ; to understand this
perpetuity is perspicuity (16); to go increasing life is
auspicious (16, 31). The exercise of impulse by the mind
(10, 42) is potency (33). But when beings reach
maturity, they begin to fall off ; which means the reverse
of Providence ; and without Providence the end soon
comes (30, 80).

56. Those who know best speak least ; those who
speak most are apt to know least (2, 5, 17, 23, 43, 73, 81).
Keep your mouth closed, and your eyes and ears half shut
(52). Check undue impulse, solve entanglements, sub-
due undue brightness (58), and equalise what is
disagreeable (4), which is called the colourless dissolution
shared in common (i). There ought not to be any undue
affection (79) nor any undue repulsion. There ought not to
be any question of deriving advantage (73), nor any of
inflicting injury. There ought not to be any respecting of
persons, nor any contemning of persons (^39). And thus
you become esteemed in the eyes of the Empire {22, 23,
37, 39, 62).



292 THE TAO-TlfeH KING

57. We should use orthodox (45, 57) measures in
administering (3, 8, 59, 64) the Empire (10, 60, 65),
just as we may use exceptional or surprise measures in
manoeuvring troops (31, 69) ; and possession of Empire
should be obtained with as little ado as possible (29, 48).
Thus it is that I know (21, 54) that this is so. The more
artificial prohibitions there are in the Empire, the poorer
are the people. The more weapons of power (36) are
entrusted to the people, the more blundering is the govern-
ment likely to be (18). The more cunning arts the
people learn, the greater the flood of strange objects of
luxury (15). The more legal enactments there are, the
more thieves and robbers will abound (19). Hence the
highest form of man says (78) : So long as I am inactive
(2, 3, 10, 38, 43, 48), the people will improve their own
line of conduct (37); so long as I love calm (16), the
people will right themselves (37) ; so long as I 'make no
ado with them (48), the people will get rich by themselves
(33) I so long as I am without desire (34, 37), the people
will be simple of their own accord (15, 19, 28, 32, 37).

58. If the administration be easy-going (20), the people
will be unsophisticated ; if the administration exercise its
wits inquisitorially (20), the people will be lacking or
imperfect (45). Evil or disaster, forsooth, may be
promptly succeeded by attendant happiness ; just as
happiness, forsooth, may have evil lurking behind it. Who
can know when the turning point will come? Surely
but there is no stopping to it ! (20). The regular becomes
once more the exceptional (57). The good becomes once
more the hurtful (20). In fact, the people have been
going astray or wrong (27) for a very, very long time.
For this reason the highest form of man is like a square
which is not to be chipped (28, 41) ; pure without a flaw ;
straightforward (45) without abuse; bright but not
dazzling (4, 52, 56).

59. In managing men as in serving Heaven, there is
nothing like economising forces {6y). Now, this economy
is what may be termed early self-subjection, and early sub-



THE TAOIST CLASSIC 293

jection means a heavy accumulation of Grace ; with a
heavy accumulation of Grace, there is nothing but what
can be conquered ; and when there is nothing but what
can be conquered (63), then no one can know where the
end will be ; when no one knows where the end will be, it
is possible to possess the State power (29, 78) ; and there
being thus the genetrix of State power (52), there is a
likelihood of its enduring (7, 44). This is called deepening
the roots and strengthening the stem, being that Providence
which is enduring and everlasting (7, 44).

60. Administering a great state (57) is like cooking a
mess of fish. If you approach the empire armed with
Providence, the devils will no longer possess spiritual
powers ; not that the devils will not actually possess such
powers, but with them they will be unable to injure men ;
not, again, that they themselves will do no harm to men ;
but even the highest form of man will do no injury to men.
Now, as neither side does an injury to man, therefore
Grace falls in reversion to both the spiritual and human
aspect of man (52),

61. Great states should allow favour to flow down on
those below (8). The world's intercourse is practically
the world's female (6, 55). The female usually by
quiescence (15, 16, 26, 37) overcomes the male (78), and
quiescence or calmness represents the inferior or below
(43). Hence, when a great state is conciliatory or
deferential to a small state, it ends by taking the small
state ; whilst, on the other hand, when the small state is
humble and respectful to the great state, it " captures " the
great state. Hence whether by lowliness you are taken, or


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