The Tao (Gorn-Old)

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By conserving the natural and spiritual powers it is possible to escape dissolution. By restraining the passions and letting gentleness have its sway it is possible to continue as a child. By purging the mind of impurities it is possible to remain untainted. By governing the people with love it is possible to remain unknown. By continual use of the Gates of Heaven it is possible to preserve them from rust. By transparency on all sides it is possible to remain unrecognized. o bring forth and preserve, to produce without possessing, to act without hope of reward, and to expand without waste, this is the supreme virtue.


The thirty spokes of a carriage wheel uniting at the nave are made useful by the hole in the centre, where nothing exists. Vessels of moulded earth are useful by reason of their hollowness. Doors and windows are useful by being cut out. A house is useful because of its emptiness. Existence, therefore, is like unto gain, but Non-Existence to use.


Light will blind a man, sound will make him deaf, taste will ruin his palate, the chase will make him wild, and precious things will tempt him. Therefore soes the wise man provide for the soul and not for the senses. He ignores the one and takes the other with both hands.


Honour and shame are the same as fear. Fortune and disaster are the same as the person. What is said of honour and shame is this: shame is abasement, which is feared whether is be absent or present. So dignity and shame are inseparable from the fear which both occasion. What is said of fortune and disaster is this: fortune and disaster are things which befall the person. So without personality how should I suffer disaster or the reverse? Therefore by the accident of good fortune a man may rule the world for a time. But by virtue of love he may rule the world for ever.


Ie. Plainness is that which cannot be seen by looking at it. He. Stillness is that which cannot be heard by listening to it. We. Rareness is that which cannot be felt by handling it. These, being indiscernible, may be regarded as an unity - I H W, Tao. It is not bright above nor dark beneath. Infinite in operation, it is yet without name. Issuing forth it enters into Itself. This is the appearance of the Non-Apparent, the form of the Non-Existent. This is the unfathomable mystery. Going before, its face is not seen; following after, its back is not observed. Yet to regulate one's life by the ancient knowledge of Tao is to have found the path.


The ancient wise men were skilful in their mysterious acquaintance with profundities. They were fathomless in their depths; so profound, that I cannot bring them forth to my mind. They were cautious, like one who crosses a swollen river. They were reserved, like one who doubts his fellows. They were watchful, like one who travels abroad. They were retiring, like snow beneath the sun. They were simple, like newly felled timber. They were lowly, like the valley. They were obscure, like muddy water. May not a man take muddy water and make it clear by keeping still? May not a man take a dead thing and make it alive by continuous motion? Those who follow this Tao have no need of replenishing, and being devoid of all properties, they grow old without need of being filled.


Having emptied yourself of everything, remain where you are. All things spring forth into activity with one accord, and wither do we see them return? After blossoming for a while, everything dies down to its root. This going back to one's origin is called peace: it is the giving of oneself over to the inevitable. This giving of oneself over to the inevitable is called preservation. He who knows this preservation is called enlightened. He who knows it not continues in misery. He who knows this preservation is great of soul. He who is great of soul is prevailing. Prevailing, he is a king. Being a king, he is celestial. Being celestial, he is of Tao. Being of Tao, he endures for ever: for though his body perish, yet he suffers no hurt.

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