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    LIBER CLVII

    TAO THE KING

    A New T ranslat ion byKO YUEN (Aleister Crowley)T he Equinox III, Number VIII

    Sub Figur CLVII

    A. . A. .

    Imprimatur:N. Fra. A. . A. .

    Sothis Publicaeswww.sothis.com.br

    2004 e.v.

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    TAO THE KING

    A New T ranslat ion byKO YUEN (Aleister Crowley)T he Equinox III, Number VIII

    Sub Figur CLVII

    I N T R OD UCT I ON

    I bound myself to devote my li fe to Magick at Easter 1 89 8, and received my fir s t

    initiation on November 18 of that year.

    My fr iend and climbing companion, Os car Eckenstein, gave me my f ir s t ins tr uctions

    in learning the control of the mind ear ly i n 19 01 in Mexico City. S hr i Parananda,

    S olicitor General of Ceylon and an eminent wr iter upon and teacher of Yoga fr om the

    orthodox S haivi te s tandpoint , and Bhik khu Ananda Metteya, the great Englis h

    Adept, who was one of my ear liest ins tr uctors in Magick and joined the S angha in

    Bur ma in 1902 , gave me my fi r s t groundings in mys tical theory and practice. I s pent

    some months of 19 01 in Kandy, Ceylon, with the latter unt il s uccess crowned mywork.

    I als o studied all varieties of Asiatic philosophy, especially with r egard to the

    practical ques tion of s piri tual development, the Sufi doctr ines , the Upanis hads, the

    S ankhya, Vedanta, the B agavad Gita and Pur ana, the Dhammapada, and many

    other class ics , together with numerous wri tings on the T antr a and Yoga of such men

    as Patanj ali, Vivekananda, etc. etc. Not a few of these teachings are as yet wholly

    unknown to s cholars . I made the scope of { 1} my s tudies as comprehens ive as

    pos s ible, omitting no school of thought however unimpor tant or r epugnant. I made

    a cr it ical examination of all these teachers in the light of my practical experi ences.

    T he phys iological and psychological uniformity of mankind guaranteed that the

    divers ity of express ion concealed a unity of s ignificance. T his discovery,

    fur thermore, was confirmed by r eference to Jewis h, Greek and Celt ic traditions . One

    quintess ential t ruth was common to all cults , fr om the Hebr ides to the Yellow S ea,

    and even the main branches proved es s entially identical. I t was only the foliage that

    exhibited incompatibility.

    When I walked across China in 190 5-6, I was full y armed and accoutred by the

    above quali fications to attack the ti ll - then- ins oluble problem of the Chinese

    conception of r eligious tr uth. Practical s tudies of the psychology of s uch Mongolians

    as I had met in my tr avels , had alr eady suggested to me that their acentri c

    conception of the univers e might represent the corr espondence in conscious ness of

    their actual psychological character is tics . I was therefore prepared to examine the

    doctr ines of their religious and { 2} philosophical Mas ters without prej udice such as

    had always rendered nugatory the effort s of mis s ionary s inologis ts and indeed all

    oriental scholars with the single exception of Rhys Davids. Until his time translators

    had invariably ass umed, with absurd naivi te, or more often ar rogant bigotr y, that aChinese wr iter mus t either be putting for th a more or less dis tor ted and degraded

    variation of some Christian conception, or utterly puerile absurdities. Even so great

    a man as Max Muller in hi s int roduction to the Upanis hads s eems only half inclined

    to admit that the apparent tr ivi ali ty and folly of many pas s ages in these so-called

    sacred wr it ings might owe their appearance to our ignorance of the his tor ical and

    religious cir cums tances, a knowledge of which would render them intelligible.

    Dur ing my s olitary wander ings among the mountainous was tes of Yun Nan, the

    spir itual atmosphere of China penetrated my conscious ness , thanks to the absence

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    of any intellectual impert inences fr om the organ of knowledge. T he TAO T EH KI NG

    revealed its simplicity and sublimity to my soul, little by little, as the conditions of

    my physi cal l ife, no les s than of my s piri tual, penetr ated the { 3} sanctuar ies of my

    spir it . T he philosophy of Lao T ze communicated it s elf to me, i n despite of the

    pers is tent efforts of my mi nd to compel it to conform with my preconceived notions

    of what the text mus t mean. T his process , having thus taken root in my innermost

    intuit ion dur ing those tr emendous months of wander ing across Yun Nan, grew

    continually throughout s ucceeding years . Whenever I found mys elf able once moreto withdraw mys elf fr om the dis s ipations and dis tr actions which contact with

    civi li s ation forces upon one, no matter how vigorous ly he may s tr uggle agains t their

    ins olence, to the sacred s olitude of the des er t, whether among the s ier ras of Spain,

    or the sands of the Sahara, I found that the philosophy of Lao T ze resumed its s wayupon my s oul, s ubtler and s tr onger on each s uccess ive occas ion.

    But neither Europe nor Africa can s how s uch des olation as Amer ica. T he proudes t,

    s tubbornes t, bitteres t peas ant of des er ted S pain; the mos t pr imit ive and

    supers ti tious Arab of the remotest oases, these are a li tt le more than kin and never

    less than kind at their wors t; whereas in the United S tates one is almost always

    conscious of an ins tinctive lack of s ympathy and unders tanding with even the { 4}

    most charming and cultured people. I t was therefore dur ing my ex ile in America that

    the doctr ines of Lao T ze developed most rapidly in my s oul, even forcing their way

    outwards until I felt i t imper ious, nay inevitable, to expres s them in terms of

    conscious thought. No sooner had thi s resolve taken pos ses s ion of me than I

    realiz ed that the task approx imated to imposs ibility. His very s imples t ideas , the

    primit ive elements of his thought, had no true corr espondences in any European

    terminology. T he very fi r s t word " T ao" presented a completely i nsoluble problem. I t

    had been tr ans lated " Reas on," the "Way, " " T O ON." None of these covey the faintestconception of the T ao.

    T he T ao is " Reason" in thi s s ense, that the subs tance of things may be in part

    apprehended as being that necess ary r elation between the elements of thought

    which determines the laws of reas on. I n other words, the only realit y i s that which

    compels us to connect the var ious forms of i llus ion as we do. I t i s thus evidently

    unknowable, and express ible neither by speech nor by s ilence. All that we can know

    about it is that there is inherent in it a { 5} power (which, however, i s not it self) byvir tue whereof all beings appear in forms congruous with the natur e of necess ity.

    T he Tao is als o the Way - - in the following sense. Nothing ex is ts except as a relation

    with other s imi larl y pos tulated ideas . Nothing can be known in it self, but only as one

    of the participants in a series of events . Reali ty i s therefore in the motion, not in the

    thi ngs moved. We cannot apprehend anything except as one postul ated element of

    an obs erved impress ion of change. We may express this in other terms as follows.

    Our knowledge of anything is in reali ty the sum of our obs ervations of it s succes s ive

    movements , that is to say, of its path fr om event to event. I n this sense the Tao

    may be tr ans lated as the Way. I t i s not a thing in i ts elf in the sense of being an

    obj ect s us ceptible of apprehens ion by s ense or mind. I t is not the caus e of any

    thing, but the category under ly ing all exi s tence or event, and therefore true and real

    as they are il lus ory, being merely landmarks invented for convenience in descr ibing

    our exper iences. T he T ao poss ess es no power to caus e anything to ex is t or to take

    place. Yet our exper ience when analyzed tells { 6} us that the only reali ty of which

    we may be sur e is thi s path or Way which r esumes the whole of our knowledge.

    As for T O ON, which super ficially might seem the best t rans lation of T ao as

    descr ibed in the text, it is the mos t mi s leading of the three. For T O ON posses ses an

    extens ive connotation imply ing a whole sys tem of Platonic concepts than which

    nothing can be more alien to the ess ential quali ty of the T ao. T ao is neither being

    nor not-being in any sens e which Eur ope could unders tand. I t i s neither exi s tence

    nor a condit ion or form of exis tence. At the s ame time, T O MH ON gives no idea of

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    T ao. T ao is altogether alien to all that class of thought. Fr om its connection with

    " that principle which necess ar ily under lies the fact that events occur " one might

    suppos e that the " Becoming" of Heraclitus might as s is t us to des cr ibe the Tao. But

    the T ao is not a principle at all of that kind. T o unders tand it requires an altogether

    different s tate of mind to any with which European thinkers in general are famil iar.

    I t is neces sary to purs ue unfli nchingly the path of spir itual development on the lines

    indicated by the S ufis , the Hindus and the Buddhis ts ; { 7} and having reached the

    T rance called Nerodha-S ammapati , in which are des tr oyed all forms s oever ofconscious ness , there appears in that abys s of annihi lation the germ of an enti rely

    new type of idea, whose pr incipal characteri s tic is thi s : that the enti re concatention

    of one's previous experiences and conceptions could not have happened at all , saveby v ir tue of this indes cr ibable neces s ity .

    I am only too painful ly aware that the above expos it ion is faulty in every r es pect. I n

    par ticular i t pres upposes in the reader considerable familiar ity with the substance,

    thus practically begging the ques tion. I t mus t also prove almos t wholly unintell igible

    to the average reader , hi m in fact whom I es pecially aim to interest . For his s ake I

    will tr y to elucidate the matter by an analogy. Consider electr icity. I t would be

    absurd to say that electr icity is any of the phenomena by which we know it . We take

    refuge in the peti tio pr incipii of s aying that electr icity is that form of energy which is

    the principle caus e of s uch and s uch phenomena. S uppose now that we eliminate

    this idea as evidently ill ogical. What r emains ? We must not has til y answer, " Nothing

    { 8} remains ." T here is s ome thing inherent in the nature of consciousness , reason,

    perception, s ensation, and of the univers e of which they inform us , which is

    res pons ible for the fact that we obs erve these phenomena and not others ; that we

    reflect upon them as we do, and not otherwis e. B ut even deeper than this , par t of

    the reali ty of the ins crutable energy which determines the form of our exper ience,

    consi s ts in determining that exper ience should take place at all . I t should be clear

    that this has nothing to do with any of the Platonic conceptions of the natur e ofthings.

    T he leas t abject ass et in the intellectual bankr uptcy of European thought i s the

    Hebrew Qabalah. Proper ly unders tood it i s a sy s tem of symbolis m infinitely elastic,

    as s uming no axioms , pos tulating no principles, as sert ing no theorems, and therefore

    adaptable, if managed adroit ly , to descr ibe any conceivable doctr ine. I t has been mycontinual s tudy s ince 18 98 , and I have found it of infinite value in the s tudy of the

    T ao Teh King. B y it s aid I was able to att r ibute the ideas of Lao T ze to an order with

    which I was exceedingly familiar, and whose practical worth I had repeatedly proved

    by us ing { 9} it as the bas is of the analys is and class ification of all Aryan and S emitic

    religions and philosophies . Despite the ess ential diff iculty of corr elating the ideas of

    Lao Tze with any others , the per s is tent application of the Qabalis tic keys eventually

    unlocked his tr eas ure-house. I was able to explain to myself his teachings in termsof familiar systems.

    T his achievement broke the back of my S phinx. Having once reduce Lao T ze to

    Qabalis tic form, it was eas y to tr ans late the result into the language of philosophy. I

    had already done much to create a new language based on Engli sh with the

    ass is tance of a few technical terms borrowed from Asia, and above all by the us e of

    a novel conception of the idea of Number and algebraic and ari thmetical

    proceedings, to convey the resul ts of spir itual exper ience to intell igent s tudents .

    I t is therefore not altogether without confidence that I present this tr ans lation of the

    T ao Teh K ing to the public. I hope and believe that careful s tudy of the text, as

    elucidated by my commentary, will enable ser ious aspirants to the hidden wisdom to

    unders tand with fair accuracy what L ao T ze taught. I t mus t however be laid to { 10 }

    heart that the es sence of his sys tem will inevitably elude intellectual apprehens ion

    unless it be il luminated from above by actual l iving exper ience of the tr uth. S uch

    experience is only to be attained by unswerving application to the practices which he

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    advocates . Nor mus t the aspirant content hims elf with the mere attainment ofspir itual enlightenment, however s ublime. All such achievements are bar ren unlessthey be regarded as the means rather than the end of s pir itual progress , andallowed to infi lt rate every detail of the li fe, not only of the s pir it, but of the senses .T he Tao can never be known until it interpret the most tr ivial actions of everydayroutine. I t i s a fatal mi s take to discr iminate between the spir itual impor tance ofmeditation and playing golf. T o do s o is to create an internal conflict. " Let there be

    no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; forthereby there cometh hur t. " He who knows the T ao knows it to be the source of allthings soever; the mos t exalted spir itual ecs tas y and the most t r ivial internalimpression are from our point of view equally illusions, worthless masks, which hide,with grotesque painted pas teboard fals e and li feles s , { 11} the living face of truth.Yet, f rom another point of view, they are equally express ions of the ecs tatic geniusof truth - - natur al images of the reaction between the es sence of onesself and one'spar ticular envi ronment at the moment of their occur rence. T hey are equally tokensof the T ao, by whom, in whom, and of whom, they are. T o value them forthemselves is deny the Tao and to be los t in delus ion. T o despis e them is to denythe omnipresence of the T ao, and to suffer the illus ion of s or row. T o dis cr imi natebetween them is to set up the accur sd dyad, to permit the ins anit y of intellect, tooverwhelm the intuiti on of truth, and to create civi l war in the conscious nes s .

    Fr om 1908 to 1918 , the T ao T eh King was my continual s tudy. I cons tantlyrecommended it to my fr iends as the supreme masterpiece of ini tiated wis dom, andI was as cons tantly dis appointed when they declared that i t did not i mpress them,especially as my prelimi nary descr iptions of the book had arous ed their keenestinterest . I thus came to s ee that the fault lay with L egge's t rans lation, and I feltmys elf impelled to undertake the { 12 } task of presenting Lao T ze in languageinformed by the sympathetic understanding which initiation and spiritual experiencehad conferr ed on me. Dur ing my Great Magical Retir ement on Aesopus I s land in theHuds on River duri ng the s ummer of 1918 , I s et mys elf to this work, but I dis coveredimmediately that I was totally incompetent. I therefore appealed to an Adept namedAmalantrah, with whom I was at that t ime in almos t daily communion. He camereadily to my aid and exhibited to me a codex of the original, which conveyed to mewith absolute cert itude the exact s ignif icance of the text . I was able to divine

    without hesi tation or doubt the precis e manner in which Legge had been deceived.He had tr ans lated the Chinese with s ingular fideli ty, yet in almos t every vers e theinterpretation was altogether mis leading. T here was no need to refer to the textfrom the point of view of scholars hip. I had merely to paraphrase his tr ans lation inthe l ight of actual knowledge of the tr ue s ignificance of the terms employed. Anyonewho cares to take the tr ouble to compare the two vers ions wil l be as tounded to seehow s light a remodeling of a paragraph is s ufficient to dis perse the obst inate { 13 }obs cur ity of prejudice, and let loos e a fountain and a flood of living light, to kindlethe gnar led prose of s tolid s cholarship into the burgeoning bloss om of lyr ical flame.

    I completed my t rans lation within three days , but during the last five year s I haveconstantly reconsidered every s entence. T he manus cr ipt has been lent to a numberof fr iends, scholars who have commended my work, and as pirants who haveappreciated it s adequacy to present the spir it of the Mas ter 's teaching. T hose whohad been dis appointed with Legge's vers ion were enthus iast ic about mine. T hiscir cums tance is in i ts elf s ufficient to as s ure me that Love's labour has not been lost ,and to fil l me with enthus iastic confidence that the present publication wil labundantly contr ibute to the fulfi llment of my T rue Will for which I came to earth,and wring labour and sorr ow to the utmost of which humanity i s capable, the Wil l toopen the portals of spiritual attainment to my fellow men, and bring them to theenj oyment of that realis ation of T ruth, beneath all veils of temporal fals ehood, whichhas enlightened mine eyes and filled my mouth with s ong.

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    CH AP T E R I

    T H E N AT U R E OF T H E T AO

    1. T he T ao-Path i s not the All- T ao. T he Name is not the T hing named.

    2. Unmanifes ted, i t is the Secret Father of__________ ____ ____

    Heaven __________ and Earth ____ ____

    __________ ____ ____;

    manifested, it is their Mother.

    3. T o unders tand this Mys tery, one must be fulfilling one' s will, and if one is not thus

    free, one will but gain a smattering of it .

    4. T he Tao is one, and the T eh but a phas e thereof. T he abyss of this Mys tery i s the

    Portal of S erpent-Wonder .

    [WEH NOT E: Footnote # 2 above, extended here. I n the original each of the elevenplaces i s enclosed in a cir cle for one of the ten S ephir oth and Da' at. T his chart

    presents problems . Crowley did not properl y draw the trigrams , but mos tly with

    unbroken lines. He also appears to have writ ten in the wrong names for s ome of the

    T r igrams . T hese difficult ies have been corr ected by reference to the diagram

    Crowley made on the blank page preceding the table of content in his copy of theLegge Yi King. S ee OT O NEWS LET T ER, V. I , No. 3 , p. 15. ]

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    The Tao

    .

    The Teh, The Tao,

    source of the Mother source of the

    Father

    ____ ____ __________

    Heaven

    __________

    __________

    __________

    Ch'ien

    Water Fire

    ____ ____ {had ____ ____

    {water____ ____ Li, this _________Tui

    usually_________ is Chen} __________

    is K'an}

    Sun

    __________ {had Chen,

    ____ ____ this is Li}

    __________

    Sun

    __________ __________

    Air __________ ____ ____ Earth

    ____ ____ ____ ____ Ken

    Moon

    ____ ____

    __________ K'an

    ____ ____

    Earth

    ____ ________ ____ K'un

    ____ ____

    {1}

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    CH AP T E R I I

    T HE ENER GY - SOURCE OF T HE S EL F

    1. All men know that beauty and ugliness are corr elatives, as are sk il l and

    clums iness ; one implies and sugges ts the other.

    2. S o als o exis tence and non-exis tence pose the one the other; s o als o is it with

    ease and difficulty , length and shortnes s ; height and lownes s . Als o Mus ick exi s tsthr ough harmony of oppos ites; time and space depend upon contr aposit ion.

    3. By the use of thi s method, the sage can fulfi l hi s will without action, and utter his

    word without speech.

    4. All thi ngs ar is e without diffidence; they grow, and none inter feres; they change

    according to their natur al order , without lus t of result . T he work is accompli shed;

    yet continueth in it s orbit, without goal. T his work is done unconscious ly; this is { 2}why i ts energy is indefatigable. { 3}

    CH AP T E R I I I

    QUI ET I NG FOLK

    1. T o reward mer it is to s tir up emulation; to pr ize rar ities is to encourage robbery;to dis play des ir able things is to excite the dis order of covetousness .

    2. T herefore, the s age governeth men by keeping their minds and their bodies at

    rest, contenting the one by emptiness, the other by fullness. He satisfieth their

    des ir es , thus fulfil ling their wil ls , and making them frictionles s ; and he maketh them

    strong in body, to a similar end.

    3. He delivereth them from the res tless ness of knowledge and the cravings of

    dis content. As to those who have knowledge already, he teacheth them the way of

    non-action. T his being as s ured, there is no dis order in the world. { 4}

    CHAPT ER I V

    T H E S P R I N G W I T H OU T S OU R CE

    1. T he Tao resembleth the emptiness of Space; to employ it, we mus t avoid creating

    ganglia. Oh T ao, how vas t art T hou, the Abyss of Abyss es , thou Holy and S ecretFather of all Fatherhoods of Things!

    2. Let us make our sharpnes s blunt; let us loos en our complexes; let us tone down

    our brightnes s to the general obs curi ty. Oh T ao, how s til l art thou, how pure,continuous One beyond Heaven!

    3. T his T ao hath no Father; it is beyond all other conceptions, higher than the

    highest. { 5}

    CHAPT ER V

    T HE FORMUL A OF T HE VACUUM

    1. Heaven and earth proceed without motive, but cas ually i n their order of natur e,

    dealing with all things careless ly, lik e used talis mans . S o als o the sages deal with

    their people, not exercis ing benevolence, but allowing the nature of all to movewithout fr iction.

    2. T he Space between heaven and earth is their breathing apparatus : Ex halation is

    not exhaust ion, but the complement of I nhalation, and this equally of that. S peech

    exhaus teth; guard thys elf, therefore, maintaining the per fect fr eedom of thy nature.{ 6 }

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    CH AP T E R V I

    T HE PE RF ECT I NG OF FORM

    1. T he T eh is the immortal enemy of the Tao, its feminine aspect. Heaven and Earth

    is s ued from her Gate; this Gate is the Root of their Wor ld-S ycamore. I ts operation isof pure Joy and Love, and faileth never. { 7}

    CH AP T E R V I I

    T HE CONCEALMENT OF T HE L I GHT

    1. Heaven and Earth are mighty in continuance, becaus e their work is delivered

    from the lust of result.

    2. T hus als o the sage, s eeking not any goal, attaineth all t hings ; he doth not

    interfere in the affairs of his body, and so that body acteth without fr iction. I t i s

    becaus e he meddleth not with personal aims that these come to pas s withsimplicity. { 8}

    CH AP T E R VI I I

    T HE NAT UR E OF PE ACE

    1. Admir e thou the High Way of Water! I s not Water the soul of the life of things ,whereby they change? Yet it s eeketh its level, and abideth content i n obs cur ity. S o

    als o it res embleth the Tao, in this Way thereof!

    2. T he vir tue of a house is to be well -placed; of the mind, to be at eas e in s ilence as

    of Space; of societies , to be well -disposed; of governments , to maintain quietude; of

    work, to be ski ll full y per formed; and of all motion, to be made at the right t ime.

    3. Also it i s the vir tue of a man to abide in his place without dis content; thus

    offendeth he no man. { 9}

    CH AP T E R I X

    T H E W AY OF R E T I CE N CE

    1. Fi ll not a vess el, lest it s pill in car rying. Meddle not with a sharpened point by

    feeling it cons tantly , or it will soon become blunted.

    2. Gold and jade endanger the house of their pos sess or. Wealth and honors lead to

    ar rogance and envy, and bring ruin. I s thy way famous and thy name becoming

    dis tinguished? Withdraw, thy work once done, into obscur ity ; this is the way ofHeaven. { 10}

    CHAPT ER X

    T H I N GS AT T AI N AB L E

    1. When s oul and body are in the bond of love, they can be kept together. By

    concentration on the breath i t i s brought to perfect elas ticity, and one becomes as ababe. B y pur ifying oneself fr om S amadhi one becomes whole.

    2. I n his dealing with individuals and with s ociety, let him move without lus t of

    res ult. I n the management of his breath, let him be lik e the mother -bir d. Let hisintelligence comprehend every quarter ; but let his knowledge cease.

    3. Here is the Mys tery of Vir tue. I t createth all and nouri sheth all; yet it doth not

    adhere to them; it operateth all, but knoweth not of it , nor proclaimeth it; itdir ecteth all, but without conscious contr ol. { 11 }

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    CH AP T E R X I

    T H E V AL U E O F T H E U N E XP R E S S E D

    1. T he thirty s pokes j oin in their nave, that i s one; yet the wheel dependeth for us e

    upon the hollow place for the axle. Clay is shapen to make vess els ; but the

    contained space is what i s us eful. Matter is therefore of us e only to mark the limit s

    of the space which is the thing of r eal value. { 12 }

    CH AP T E R X I I

    T H E W I T H D R AW A L F R OM T H E E XT E R N AL

    1. T he five colors film over S ight; T he five sounds make Heari ng dull; T he five

    flavour s conceal T as te; occupation with motion and action bedevil Mind; even s o the

    es teem of rare things begetteth covetousness and dis order .

    2. T he wise man s eeketh therefore to content the actual needs of the people; not to

    excite them by the sight of luxur ies . He banneth these, and concentrateth on those.

    { 1 3 }

    CH AP T E R X I I I

    T HE CONT EMPT FOR CI R CUMST ANCE

    1. Favor and dis grace are equall y to be shunned; honour and calamity to be alike

    regarded as adher ing to the pers onali ty.

    2. What is thi s which is wri tten concerning favour and dis grace? Dis grace is the fall

    from favour. He then that hath favour hath fear , and it s los s begetteth fear yet

    greater of a further fall. What is thi s which is wri tten concerning honour and

    calamity? I t i s thi s attachment to the body which maketh calamity pos s ible; for wereone bodiles s , what evil could befall him?

    3. T herefore let him that r egardeth himself r ightly adminis ter als o a kingdom; and

    let him govern it who loveth it as another man loveth hims elf. { 14 }

    CH AP T E R X I V

    T H E S H E W I N G-F OR T H OF T H E MY S T E R Y

    1. We look at it , and see it not; though it is Omnipresent; and we name it the Root-

    Balance.

    We lis ten for it , and hear it not, though it i s Omnis cient; and we name it the S ilence.

    We feel for it , and touch it not, though it i s Omnipotent; and we name it the

    Concealed.

    T hese three Vir tues hath i t, yet we cannot describe it as consi s ting of them; but,mingling them aright, we apprehend the One.

    2. Above, it s hineth not; below, i t is not dark. I t moveth all continuousl y, without

    Ex press ion, returning into Naught. I t i s the Form of T hat which is beyond Form; it i sthe I mage of the I nvis ible; it is Change, and Without L imit .

    3. We confront it , and see not it s Face; { 15 } we purs ue it, and its Back is hiddenfrom us . Ah! but apply the T ao as in old T ime to the work of the pres ent; know it as

    it was known in the Beginning; follow fervently the Thread of the Tao. { 16 }

    CHAPT ER XV

    T H E AP P E A R A NCE OF T H E T R U E N AT U R E

    1. T he adepts of pas t ages were subtle and keen to apprehend thi s Mys tery , and

    their profundity was obscur ity unto men. S ince then they were not known, let me

    declare their natur e.

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    2. T o all s eeming, they were fear ful as men that cross a torr ent in winter flood; they

    were hes itating lik e a man in apprehens ion of them that are about him; they were

    full of awe li ke a guest in a great hous e; they were ready to disappear li ke ice in

    thaw; they were unas s uming li ke unworked wood; they were empty as a valley; anddull as the waters of a mars h.

    3. Who can clear muddy water? S ti llnes s will accomplis h thi s . Who can obtain res t?

    Let motion continue equably, and it wi ll it s elf be peace.

    4. T he adepts of the T ao, conserving it s way, s eek not to be actively s elf- conscious .

    By their emptiness of Self { 17 } they have no need to show their youth andperfection; to appear old and imperfect is their privilege. { 18 }

    CH AP T E R X VI

    T H E W I T H D R AW A L T O T H E R OOT

    1. Emptiness mus t be per fect, and S ilence made absolute with tir eless s tr ength. All

    things pass thr ough the period of action; then they return to repose. T hey grow,

    bud, blos s om and fruit; then they return to the root. T his retur n to the root is thiss tate which we name S ilence; and this S ilence is Witness of their Fulfi lment.

    2. T his cycle is the univers al law. T o know it i s the part of intelligence; to ignore itbringeth folly of action, whereof the end is madness . T o know it bringeth

    unders tanding and peace; and thes e lead to the identif ication of the S elf with the

    Not- S elf. T his identification maketh man a king; and this kinglines s groweth unto

    godhood. T hat godhood beareth fruit in the mastery of the T ao. T hen the man, the

    T ao permeating him, endureth; and his bodily principles are in harmony, { 19 } proof

    agains t decay, until the hour of his Change. { 20 }

    CH AP T E R X VI I

    T H E P U R I T Y OF T H E CU R R E N T

    1. I n the Age of Gold, the people were not cons cious of their rulers ; in the Age of

    S ilver, they loved them, with s ongs ; in the Age of B ras s , they feared them; in the

    Age of I ron, they despised them. As the rulers los t confidence, s o als o did the

    people lose confidence in them.

    2. How hesi tating did they s eem, the Lords of the Age of Gold, s peaking with

    deliberation, aware of the weight of their word! T hus they accomplis hed all things

    with s uccess ; and the people deemed their well -being to be the natural course ofevents. { 21}

    CH AP T E R X VI I I

    T HE DE CAY OF MANNER S

    1. When men abandoned the Way of the T ao, benevolence and jus ti ce became

    neces sary. T hen als o was need of wis dom and cunning, and all fell into ill us ion.

    When harmony ceas ed to prevail in the s ix spheres it was needful to govern them by

    manifes ting S ons.

    When the kingdoms and races became confus ed, loyal minis ter s had to appear .{ 2 2 }

    CH AP T E R X I X

    R E T U R N I N G T O T H E P U R I T Y OF T H E CU R R E N T

    1. I f we forgot our s tatesmans hip and our wis dom, i t would be an hundred times

    better for the people. I f we forgot our benevolence and our j us tice, they would

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    become again l ik e sons , folk of good wil l. I f we forget our machines and ourbusiness , there would be no knavery.

    2. T hese new methods des pised the olden Way, inventing fine names to dis guise

    their banenes s . But s implicity in the doing of the wil l of every man would put an endto vain ambitions and des ir es . { 23}

    CHAPT ER XX

    T HE W I T HDR AW AL F ROM T HE COMMON WAY

    1. T o forget learning is to end trouble. T he smallest difference in words, s uch as

    " yes" and "yea" , can make endles s controvers y for the s cholar . Fear ful indeed is

    death, s ince all men fear it ; but the abyss of quest ionings , s horeless and

    bottomless, is worse!

    2. Consider the profane man, how he preeneth, as if at feas t, or gaz ing upon S pring

    from a tower ! But as for me, I am as one who yawneth, without any tr ace of des ir e.

    I am li ke a babe before its fir s t s mile. I appear sad and for lorn, l ike a man

    homeless . T he profane man hath his need filled, ay, and more als o. For me, I seem

    to have lost all I had. My mind is as it were s tupefied; it hath no definite s hape. T he

    profane man looketh li vely and keen-wit ted; I alone appear blank in my mind. T hey

    seem eager ly cr it ical; I appear careless and without perception. I s eem to be as oneadri ft upon the sea, with { 24 } no thought of an harbor . T he profane have each one

    his definite cours e of action; I alone appear us eless and uncomprehending, l ik e a

    man fr om the border. Yea, thus I differ fr om all other men: but my jewel i s the All-Mother! { 25}

    CH AP T E R X XI

    T H E I NF I N I T E W OMB

    1. T he s ole source of energy is the Tao. Who may declare its natur e? I t i s beyond

    S ense, yet all form i s hidden within i t. I t i s beyond S ens e, yet all Perceptibles are

    hidden within i t. I t i s beyond S ense, yet all Perceptibles are hidden within it . I t i s

    beyond S ens e, yet all B eing is hidden within it . T his Being excites Perception, and

    the Word thereof. As i t was in the beginning, is now, and ever s hall be, i ts Name

    operateth continuous ly, causing all to flow in the cycle of Change, which is Love andBeauty. How do I know this ? By my comprehens ion of the T ao. { 26 }

    CH AP T E R X XI I

    T HE GUE RDON OF MODES T Y

    1. T he part becometh the whole. T he cur ve becometh s tr aight; the void becometh

    full ; the old becometh new. He who des ir eth l it tle accompli sheth his Wil l with ease;who desi reth many things becometh dis tr acted.

    2. T herefore, the s age concentr ateth upon one Will , and it i s as a light to the whole

    wor ld. H iding himself, he shineth; withdrawing himself, he attr acteth notice;

    humbling hims elf, he is exalted; dis satis fied with hims elf, he gaineth force to

    achieve his Wil l. Because he s tr iveth not, no man may contend agains t him.

    3. T hat i s no idle saw of the men of old; " T he par t becometh the whole"; it is the

    Canon of Per fection. { 27 }

    CH AP T E R X XI I I

    T HE VOI D OF NAUGHT

    1. T o keep si lence is the mark of one who is acting in full accordance with his Wil l. A

    fierce wind soon falleth; a s torm-shower doth not las t all day. Yet Heaven and Ear th

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    2. T he adept is then mas ter to the zelator , and the zelator as s is teth and honoreth

    the adept. Yet unless these relations were manifes t, even the mos t intelligent

    obs erver might be perplexed as to which was which. T his is called the Crown of

    Mystery. { 32}

    CH AP T ER X X VI I I

    T H E R E T U R N T O S I MP L I CI T Y

    1. Balance thy male st rength with thy female weakness and thou shalt attract all

    things, as the ocean absorbeth all r ivers ; for thou shalt formulate the excellence of

    the Child eternal, s imple, and perfect.

    Knowing the light, remain in the Dark. Manifest not thy Glory, but thine obs curi ty.

    Clothed in this Child-excellence eternal, thou hast attained the Return of the First

    S tate. Knowing splendour of Fame, cling to Obloquy and Infamy; then shalt thou

    remain as in the Valley to which flow all waters , the lodestone to fascinate all men.Yea, they shall hail in thee this Excellence, eternal, simple and perfect, of the Child.

    2. T he raw material, wrought into form, produceth vess els . S o the s age King

    formulateth his Wholenes s in divers Offices ; and his Law is without violence or

    constraint. { 33}

    CHAPT ER XXI X

    RE FR AI NI NG FR OM ACT I ON

    1. He that, desiring a kingdom, exerteth himself to obtain it, will fail. A Kingdom is

    of the natur e of spir it , and yieldeth not to activit y. H e who graspeth it, des tr oyeth it ;

    he who gaineth it, loseth it.

    2. T he wheel of nature revolveth cons tantly ; the las t becometh fi r s t, and the fir s t

    last ; hot things grow cold, and cold things hot; weakness overcometh s tr ength;

    things gained are lost anon. Hence the wise man avoideth effort , des ir e and sl oth.

    { 3 4 }

    CHAPT ER XXX

    A W ARNI NG AGAI NST W AR

    1. I f a king s ummon to his aid a Mas ter of the T ao, let Him not advise recours e to

    arms . S uch action cer tainly bringeth the corr esponding reaction.

    2. Where armies are, are weeds . Bad harvests follow great host s .

    3. T he good general s tr iketh decis ively, once and for all. He does not ri s k by

    overboldnes s . He s tr iketh, but doth not vaunt his victory. He s tr iketh according to

    strict law of necessity, not from desire of victory.

    4. T hings become s tr ong and ripe, then age. T his is discord with the Tao; and what

    is not at one with the T ao soon cometh to an end. { 35 }

    CHAPT ER XXXI

    COMPOS I NG QUARR EL

    1. Arms , though they be beauti ful, are of i ll omen, abominable to all created beings .

    T hey who have the Tao love not their us e.

    2. T he place of honour is on the right in wartime; s o thinketh the man of dis tinction.

    S harp weapons are il l- omened, unworthy of such a man; he useth them only in

    neces s ity. He valueth peace and eas e, des ir eth not vi olence of victory. T o desi re

    victory i s to des ir e the death of men; and to des ir e that i s to fail to propit iate thepeople.

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    3. At feas ts , t he left hand is the high s eat; at funerals, the right. T he s econd in

    command of the army leadeth the left wing, the commander- in- chief, the r ight wing;

    it is as if the battle were a r ite of mourning! He that hath s lain mos t men should

    weep for them most bitter ly; so then the place of the victor is as s igned to him withphilosophical propriety. { 36 }

    CHAP T E R XXXI I

    T H E W I S D OM OF T E H

    1. T he All- T ao hath no name.

    2. I t i s T hat Minute Point yet the whole wor ld dare not contend agains t him that

    hath it. Did a lord or king gain it and guard it, all men would obey him of their own

    accord.

    3. Heaven and Earth combining under it s spell , s hed forth dew, extendingthroughout all things of its own accord, without man' s interference.

    4. T ao, in i ts phase of action, hath a name. T hen men can comprehend it; when

    they do this , there is no more r is k of wrong or ill - success .

    5. As the great r ivers and the oceans are to the valley s tr eams , s o is the T ao to thewhole univers e. { 37}

    CH AP T E R X XX I I I

    T HE D I S CR I MI N AT I ON (V I V E K A) OF T E H

    1. He who unders tandeth others unders tandeth T wo; but he who unders tandeth

    hims elf unders tandeth One. He who conquereth other s is s tr ong; but he who

    conquereth hims elf is s tr onger yet. Contentment is r iches; and continuous action is

    Will.

    2. He that adapteth hims elf perfectly to his environment, continueth for long; hewho dieth without dying, liveth for ever . { 38}

    CHAPT ER XXXI V

    T HE M E T H OD OF A T T AI N ME N T

    1. T he Tao is immanent; it extendeth to the r ight hand as to the left.

    2. All things deri ve from it their being; it createth them, and all comply with it . I ts

    work is done, and it proclaimeth it not. I t i s the ornament of all things, yet it

    claimeth not fief of them; there is nothing so s mall that it inhabiteth not, andinformeth it .

    All things retur n without k nowledge of the Cause thereof; there is nothing so great

    that i t i nhabiteth not, and informeth i t.

    3. I n this manner als o may the Sage perform his Works . I t is by not thrust ing

    himself forward that he winneth to his s uccess . { 39 }

    CHAPT ER XXXV

    T HE GOOD W I L L OF T HE T E H

    1. T he whole wor ld is drawn to him that hath the lik eness of the T ao. Men flock unto

    him, and suffer no il l, but gain r epose, f ind peace, enjoy all eas e.

    2. S weet s ounds and cates lur e the tr aveler from his way. But the Word of the T ao;

    though it appear har sh and ins ipid, unworthy to hearken or to behold; hath his useall inexhaustible. { 40}

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    CHAPT ER XXXVI

    T H E H I D I N G OF T H E L I GH T

    1. I n order to draw breath, fir s t empty the lungs; to weaken another, fir s t

    s tr engthen him; to over throw another, fir s t exalt him; to despoil another, fir s t loadhim with gift s ; thi s is called the Occult R egimen.

    2. T he soft conquereth the hard; the weak pulleth down the s tr ong.

    3. T he fis h that leaveth ocean i s los t; the method of government mus t be concealed

    from the people. { 41}

    CH AP T E R X XX VI I

    T H E R I GH T U S E OF GOVE R N ME N T

    1. T he Tao proceedeth by i ts own natur e, doing nothing; therefore there is no doing

    which it comprehendeth not.

    2. I f kings and princes were to govern in this manner, all t hings would operate

    aright by their own motion.

    3. I f this tr ansmutation were my obj ect, I s hould call i t S implicity . S implicity hath no

    name nor purpose; s ilently and at eas e all things go well. { 42 }

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    PART II

    CH AP T E R X XX VI I I

    CONCER NI NG T HE T EH

    1. T hose who pos s es s ed perfectly the powers did not manifes t them, and so they

    preserved them. T hose who poss es sed them imperfectly feared to lose them, and so

    lost them.

    2. T he former did nothi ng, nor had need to do. T he latter did, and had need to do.

    3. T hose who poss ess ed benevolence exercis ed it , and had need it ; so als o was it

    with them who poss es s ed jus tice.

    4. T hose who poss es s ed the conventions dis played them; and when men would not

    agree, they made ready to fight them.

    5. T hus , when the Tao was los t, the Magick Powers appeared; then, by succes s ive

    degradations, came Benevolence, Jus tice, Convention. { 43 }

    6. Now convention is the s hadow of loyalty and good wil l, and s o the herald of

    disorder . Yea, even Unders tanding is but a B los som of the Tao, and foreshadowethS tupidity.

    7. S o then the T ao-Man holdeth to Mass , and avoideth Motion; he is attached to the

    Root, not to the flower. H e leaveth the one, and cleaveth to the other. { 44 }

    CHAPT ER XXXI X

    T H E LA W OF T H E B E GI N NI N G

    1. T hese things have poss es s ed the Tao from the beginning: Heaven, clear and

    shining; Earth, s teady and eas y; S pir its , mighty in Magick; Vehicles, overflowing

    with Joy; all that hath li fe; and the ruler s of men. All these derive their ess ence fromthe Tao.

    2. Without the T ao, Heaven would dis s olve Earth dis rupt, S pir its become impotent;Vehicles empty; living things would per is h and rulers lose their power .

    3. T he root of grandeur i s humili ty, and the str ength of exaltation in its base. T hus

    rulers speak of themselves as " Fatherles s ," " Virtueles s ,' " Unworthy," proclaiming by

    this that their Glory is in their s hame. S o als o the vir tue of a Char iot is not any of

    the parts of a Char iot, if they be numbered. T hey do not s eek to appear fine li kejade, but incons picuous li ke common s tone. { 45}

    CH AP T E R X L

    OMI T T I NG U T I L I T Y

    1. T he T ao proceeds by corr elative curves, and its might i s in weakness .

    2. All things arose from the Teh, and the T eh budded from the T ao. { 46}

    CH AP T E R X L I

    T H E I D E NT I T Y OF T H E D I F F E R E NT I AL

    1. T he bes t s tudents , learning of the Tao, set to work earnest ly to practice the Way.

    Mediocre students now cherish it, now let it go.

    T he wors t s tudents mock at i t. Were it not thus mocked, i t were unworthy to be Tao.

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    2. T hus spake the makers of S aws: the T ao at it s brightes t is obs cure. Who

    advanceth in that Way, retireth. I ts smooth Way is rough. I ts summit is a valley. I ts

    beauty is uglines s . I ts wealth is poverty. I ts vir tue, vice. I ts s tability is change. I ts

    form is without form. I ts fullnes s is vacancy. I ts utterance is s ilence. I ts reality i sillusion.

    3. Nameles s and imperceptible is the T ao; but it i nformeth and per fecteth all things.

    { 4 7 }

    CH AP T E R X L I I

    T H E VE I L S O F T H E T AO

    1. T he Tao formulated the One.

    T he One exhaled the T wo.

    T he Two were parents of the T hree.

    T he Thr ee were parents of all things .

    All things pas s from Obscur ity to Manifestation, inspired harmoniously by the Breathof the Void.

    2. Men do not l ike to be fatherless , vi r tueles s , unworthy: yet ruler s des cr ibe

    themselves by these names. T hus increas e br ingeth decreas e to some, and decrease

    bringeth increas e to others .

    3. Others have taught thus ; I consent to it . Violent men and s tr ong die not by

    natur al death. T his fact is the foundation of my law. { 48 }

    CH AP T E R X L I I I

    T HE COS MI C MET HOD

    1. T he softes t s ubstance hunteth down the hardes t; the unsubs tantial penetr ateth

    where there is no opening. Here is the Virtue of I ner tia.

    2. Few are they who attain: whos e speech is S ilence, whose Work i s I ner tia. { 49 }

    CH AP T E R X L I V

    MON I T OR I AL

    1. What shall it profit a man if he gain fame or wealth, and lose his li fe?

    2. I f a man cling to fame or wealth, he ris keth what i s worth more.

    3. Be content, not fear ing dis grace. Act not, and ris k not cr iticis m. T hus live thou

    long, without alarm. { 50}

    CHAPT ER XLV

    T H E OVE R F L OW I N G OF T E H

    1. Despise thy masterpieces ; thus renew the vigor of thy creation. Deem thy

    fullness emptiness ; thus s hall thy fullness never be empty. Let the s tr aight appearcrooked to thee, thy Craft clums iness ; thy Mus ick dis cord.

    2. Ex ercis e moderateth cold; s ti ll ness heat. T o be pure and to keep s ilence, is the

    T rue Law of all that are beneath Heaven. { 51}

    CH AP T E R X L V I

    T H E W I T H D R AW A L F R OM AMB I T I ON

    1. When the Tao beareth away on Ear th, men put s wift hors es to night-carts . When

    it is neglected, they breed chargers in the border marches.

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    CHAPT ER L V

    T H E S P E L L OF T H E MY S T E R Y

    1. He that hath the Magick powers of the T ao is li ke a young child. I ns ects will not

    s ting him or beas ts or birds of prey attack him.

    2. T he young child' s bones are tender and its s inews are elastic, but its grasp is

    fir m. I t knoweth nothing of the Union of Man and Woman, yet it s Organ may beexcited. T his is because of it s natur al per fection. I t wil l cry all day long withoutbecoming hoars e, because of the harmony of i ts being.

    3. He who unders tandeth this harmony knoweth the mys tery of the T ao, and

    becometh a T rue Sage. All devices for i nflaming li fe, and increas ing the vital B reath,

    by mental effort are evil and factitious.

    4. T hings become s tr ong, then age. T his is in dis cord with the Tao, and what i s notat one with the T ao soon cometh to an end. { 61 }

    CH AP T E R L V I

    T H E E X CE L LE N CE OF T H E M YS T E R Y

    1. Who knoweth the T ao keepeth S ilence; he who babbleth knoweth it not.

    2. Who knoweth it clos eth his mouth and controlleth the Gates of his Breath. He will

    make his sharpness blunt; he will loosen his complexes ; he will tone down hisbr ightnes s to the general obs curi ty. T his is called the Secret of Harmony.

    3. He cannot be ins ulted either by famil iari ty or avers ion; he is immune to ideas of

    gain or los s , of honour or disgrace; he is the tr ue man, unequalled under Heaven.

    { 6 2 }

    CH AP T E R L V I I

    T H E T R U E I N F L U E NCE

    1. One may govern a s tate by r estr iction; weapons may be used with s ki ll and

    cunning; but one acquir eth true command only by fr eedom, given and taken.

    2. How am I aware of thi s? By experi ence that to multiply r es tr ictive laws in the

    kingdom impoveri s heth the people; the use of machines causeth disorder in s tate

    and race alike. T he more men us e sk il l and cunning, the more machines there are;

    and the more laws there are, the more felons there are.

    3. A wis e man has s aid this : I will r efrain fr om doing, and the people will act r ightly

    of their own accord; I will love S ilence, and the people will ins tinctively turn to

    per fection; I will take no measures, and the people wil l enjoy true wealth; I willres tr ain ambition, and the people will attain s implicity . { 63}

    CH AP T E R L VI I I

    ADAPT AT I ON T O ENVI RONMENT

    1. T he government that exerciseth the leas t care serveth the people best ; that

    which meddleth with everybody' s bus iness worketh all manner of harm. S orrow andjoy are bedfellows; who can divine the final result of either?

    2. S hall we avoid restr iction? Yea; res tr iction distorteth natur e, so that even what

    seemeth good in i t i s evil. For how long have men suffered from mis under s tandingof this.

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    3. T he wis e man is foursquare, and avoideth aggres s ion; his corners do not inj ure

    others . He moveth in a s tr aight line and tur neth not as ide therefrom; he is bril liantbut doth not blind with his br ightnes s . { 64}

    CH AP T E R L I X

    W A R DI N G T H E T AO

    1. T o balance our ear thl y natur e and cultivate our heavenly nature, tr ead the MiddlePath.

    2. T his Middle Path alone leadeth to the T imely R eturn to the T rue Natur e. T his

    T imely Return resulteth from the constant gather ing of Magick Powers . Wi th that

    Gather ing cometh Contr ol. T his Control we know to be without L imi t and he who

    knoweth the Limitless may rule the state.

    3. He who poss es s eth the Tao continueth long. He is lik e a plant with well- s et r ootsand s tr ong s tems. T hus i t secureth long continuance of its life. { 65}

    CH AP T E R LX

    T HE DUT Y OF GOVERNMENT

    1. T he government of a kingdom is li ke the cooking of fis h.

    2. I f the kingdom be ruled according to the Tao, the spir its of our ancestors will not

    manifes t their T eh. T hes e s pir its have this T eh, but will not turn it agains t men. I t isable to hur t men; s o als o is the Wise K ing; but he doth not.

    3. When these powers are in accord, their Good Wil l produceth the Teh, endowing

    the people therewith. { 66}

    CH AP T E R L X I

    T H E MOD E S T Y OF T H E T E H

    1. A state becometh powerful when i t res embleth a great r iver , deep-s eated; to it

    tend all the small s tr eams under Heaven.

    2. I t i s as with the female, that conquereth the male by her S ilence. S ilence is aform of Gravity.

    3. T hus a great s tate attr acteth s mall s tates by meeting their v iews , and small

    s tates attr act the great s tate by rever ing its eminence. I n the fir s t case this S ilencegaineth s upporters ; in the second, favour.

    4. T he great s tate uniteth men and nur tur eth them; the small s tate wisheth the

    good wil l of the great, and offereth s ervice; thus each gaineth i ts advantage. B ut thegreat s tate mus t k eep Si lence. { 67}

    CH AP T E R L X I I

    T H E W OR K I N GS OF T H E T AO

    1. T he Tao is the mos t exalted of all things. I t i s the ornament of the good, and theprotection and pur if ication of the evil .

    2. I ts words are the fountain of honour , and its deeds the engine of achievement. I t

    is pres ent even in evil.

    3. T hough the S on of Heaven were enthr oned with his thr ee Dukes appointed to

    serve him, and he were offered a round s ymbol- of- rank as great as might fil l the

    hands, with a team of hors es to follow, this gift were not to be matched agains t theT ao, which might be offered by the humblest of men.

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    4. Why did they of old time set s uch s tore by the Tao? Becaus e he that s ought i t

    might fi nd it, and because it was the Puri fication from all evil. T herefore did all menunder Heaven es teem it the most exalted of all things. { 68 }

    CH AP T E R L X I I I

    F OR E T H OU GH T AT T H E OU T S E T

    1. Act without lus t of result; work without anxiety; taste without attachment toflavour; esteem small things great and few things many; repel violence withgentleness.

    2. Do great things while they are yet s mall, hard things while they are yet easy; for

    all things, how great or hard soever, have a beginning when they are lit tle and easy.

    S o thus the wise man accompli sheth the greatest tas ks without undertakinganything important.

    3. Who undertaketh thoughtless ly is cer tain to fail in attainment; who es timateth

    things easy findeth them hard. T he wis e man considereth even eas y things hard, sothat even hard things are easy to him. { 69}

    CH AP T E R L X IV

    AT T E N D I N G T O D E T AI L S

    1. I t is eas y to gras p what is not yet in motion, to withs tand what is not yet

    manifes t, to break what i s not yet compact, to disperse what i s not yet coherent. Actagains t things before they become vis ible; attend to order before disorder ar is eth.

    2. T he tree which fi lleth the embrace grew from a s mall s hoot; the tower nine-

    s tor ied rose from a low foundation; the ten-day j ourney began with a s ingle step.

    3. He who acteth worketh harm; he who graspeth findeth it a s lip. T he wis e man

    acteth not, s o work eth no harm; he doth not grasp, and so doth not let go. Men

    often r uin their affairs on the eve of s ucces s , becaus e they are not as prudent at the

    end as in the beginning.

    4. T he wis e man willeth what other s do not wil l, and valueth not things r are. Helearneth what others learn not, and gathered up what they despis e. T hus he is in

    accord with the natur al cours e of events , and is not overbold in action. { 70}

    CHAPT ER LXV

    T H E P U R I T Y OF T H E T E H

    1. T hey of old time that were ski lled in the T ao sought not to enlighten the people,

    but to keep them simple.

    2. T he diff iculty of government i s the vain knowledge of the people. T o use

    clevernes s in government i s to scourge the kingdom; to use simplicity is to anoint it.

    3. Know thes e things , and make them thy law and thine example. T o poss es s this

    Law is the S ecret Per fection of rule. Pr ofound and Extended is thi s Perfection; hethat poss ess eth it is indeed contrary to the res t, but he att racteth them to full

    accordance. { 71 }

    CH AP T E R L X VI

    P U T T I N G ON E 'S S E L F L A S T

    1. T he oceans and the r ivers attr act the st reams by their s ki ll in being lower than

    they; thus are they masters thereof. S o the Wis e Man, to be above men, s peaketh

    lowly; and to precede them acteth with humi li ty.

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    2. T hus , though he be above them, they feel no burden; nor, though he precedethem, do they feel insulted.

    3. S o then do all men delight to honour him, and grow not weary of him. He

    contendeth not agains t any man; therefore no man is able to contend agains t him.{ 7 2 }

    CH AP T E R L X VI I

    T H E T H R E E JE W E L S

    1. T hey s ay that while this T ao of mine is great, yet it is inferior. T his is the proof of

    its greatness . I f it were like anything els e, its smallness would have long beenknown.

    2. I have three j ewels of pr ice whereto I cleave; gentlenes s , economy, and humili ty.

    3. T hat gentleness maketh me courageous , that economy generous, that humi li ty

    honoured. Men of today abandon gentlenes s for violence, economy forextr avagance, humili ty for pr ide: this is death.

    4. Gentlenes s bringeth victory in fight; and holdeth it s ground with ass urance.

    Heaven wardeth the gentle man by that s ame vir tue. { 73 }

    CH AP T E R L X VI I I

    AS S I MI LA T I N G ON E ' S S E LF T O H E A VE N

    1. He that i s s ki lled in war maketh no fierce ges tures ; the mos t efficient fighter

    bewareth of anger. He who conquereth refraineth fr om engaging in battle; he whom

    men most willingly obey continueth s ilently with his Work . S o it is s aid: " He is

    mighty who fighteth not; he ruleth who uniteth with his subj ects ; he shineth whose

    will is that of Heaven." { 74}

    CH AP T E R L X IX

    T H E U S E OF T H E MY S T E R I OU S W AY

    1. A great s tr ategis t s aith: " I dare not take the offens ive. I prefer the defens ive. I

    dare not advance an inch; I prefer to retr eat a foot. " Place therefore the army where

    there is no army; prepare for action where there is no engagement; s tr ike wherethere is no conflict; advance agains t the enemy where the enemy is not.

    2. T here is no er ror s o great as to engage in batt le without s ufficient force. T o do s o

    is to r is k losing the gentlenes s which is beyond pr ice. T hus when the lines actuallyengage, he who regretteth the necess ity is the victor. { 75 }

    CHAPT ER LXX

    T H E D I F F I CU L T Y OF R I GH T AP P R E H E N S I ON

    1. My words are eas y to unders tand and to perform; but is there anyone in the

    world who can unders tand them and perform them?

    2. My words der ive fr om a creative and univer sal Pr inciple, in accord with the One

    Law. Men, not knowing these, unders tand me not.

    3. Few are they that unders tand me; therefore am I the more to be valued. T he

    Wis e Man weareth s ack- cloth, but guardeth his j ewel in hi s bosom. { 76 }

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    CH AP T E R L X XI

    T H E D I S T E M P E R OF K N OW LE DGE

    1. T o know, yet to know nothing, is the highes t; not to know, yet to pretend to

    knowledge, is a dis temper .

    2. Painful i s this dis temper ; therefore we shun it. T he wise man hath it not. Knowing

    it to be bound up with S orrow, he putteth it away fr om him. { 77 }

    CH AP T E R L X XI I

    CONCER NI NG L OVE OF S EL F

    1. When men fear not that which is to be feared, that which they fear cometh upon

    them.

    2. Let them not live, without thought, the superficial life. Let them not weary of the

    S pring of Li fe!

    3. By avoiding the super ficial li fe, thi s wear iness cometh not upon them.

    4. T hese things the wis e man knoweth, not s howeth: he loveth hims elf, withoutis olating his value. He accepteth the former and rejecteth the latter. { 78 }

    CH AP T E R L X XI I I

    E S T AB L I S H I N G T H E L AW OF F R E E D OM

    1. One man, dar ing, i s executed; another, not dar ing, l iveth. I t would s eem as if the

    one course were profitable and the other detr imental. Yet when Heaven smiteth a

    man, who shall as s ign the caus e thereof? T herefore the s age is diffident.

    2. T he Tao of Heaven contendeth not, yet i t overcometh; it is s ilent, yet its need is

    ans wered; it s ummoneth none, but all men come to it of their free will . I ts method

    is quietnes s , yet it s will is efficient. Large are the mes hes of Heaven' s Net; wide

    open, yet letting none es cape. { 79 }

    CH AP T E R LX X I V

    A R E S T R A I N T OF M I S U N D E R S T AN DI N G

    1. T he people have no fear of death; why then seek to awe them by the thr eat of

    death? I f the people feared death and I could put to death evil-doers , who would

    dare to offend?

    2. T here is one appointed to inflict death. He who would usurp that posi tion

    resembleth a hewer of wood doing the work of a carpenter. S uch an one,

    presumptuous, will be s ure to cut his own hands . { 80 }

    CHAPT ER L XXV

    T H E I N JU R Y OF GR E E D

    1. T he people suffer hunger becaus e of the weight of taxation imposed by their

    rulers . T his is the cause of famine.

    2. T he people are difficult to govern becaus e their rulers meddle with them. T his is

    the caus e of bad government.

    3. T he people welcome death becaus e the toil of liv ing is intolerable. T his is why

    they es teem death l ightly. I n s uch a state of i nsecur ity it is better to ignore theques tion of living than to set s tore by it. { 81 }

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    CH AP T E R LX X VI

    A W AR N I N G AGAI N S T R I GI D I T Y

    1. At the bir th of man, he is elastic and weak; at hi s death, r igid and unyielding.

    T his is the common law; tr ees als o, in their youth, are tender and supple; in theirdecay, hard and dry.

    2. S o then r igidity and hardnes s are the s tigmata of death; elas ticity andadaptability, of life.

    3. He then who putteth forth s tr ength is not victorious ; even as a s tr ong tree filleth

    the embrace.

    4. T hus the hard and rigid have the infer ior place, the soft and elas tic the super ior.

    { 8 2 }

    CH AP T E R LX X VI I

    T HE W AY OF HE AVEN

    1. T he Tao of Heaven is li kened to the bending of a bow, whereby the high par t i s

    brought down, and the low part r ais ed up. T he extr eme is dimini s hed, and the

    middle increas ed.

    2. T his is the Way of Heaven, to remove exces s , and to supplement ins ufficiency.

    Not so is the way of man, who taketh away from him that hath not to give to himthat hath alr eady exces s .

    3. Who can employ his own excess to the weal of all under Heaven? Only he that

    pos s es seth the T ao.

    4. S o the Wise Man acteth without lus t of resul t; achieveth and boas teth not; he

    willeth not to proclaim his greatnes s . { 83}

    CH AP T E R L X XV I I I

    A CR EE D

    1. Nothing in the wor ld is more elast ic and yielding than water; yet it i s preeminentto dis s olve things ri gid and resi s tant; there is nothing which can match it .

    2. All men know that the soft overcometh the hard, and the weak conquereth the

    s tr ong; but none are able to us e thi s law in action.

    3. A Wis e Man hath said: " He that taketh on the burden of the state is a demigod

    worthy of sacr ificial wor s hip; and the tr ue King of a people is he that undertaketh

    the weight of their sorrows."

    4. T ruth appeareth paradox. { 84}

    CH AP T E R LX X I X

    T R U T H I N COVE NAN T

    1. When enemies are reconciled, there is always an aftermath of illwill . H ow can thi s

    be us eful?

    2. T herefore, the Wis e Man, while he keepeth hi s par t of the record of a tr ansaction,

    doth not ins is t on its prompt execution. He who hath the T eh considereth thes ituation from all s ides , while he who hath it not seeketh only to benefit hims elf.

    3. I n the Tao of Heaven, there is no dist inction of persons in its love; but it is for the

    T rue Man to claim it. { 85}

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    CHAPT ER L XXX

    I S OL A T I ON

    1. I n a lit tle kingdom of few people it should be the order that though there were

    men able to do the work of ten men or f ive score, they should not be employed.

    T hough the people regarded death as s orr owful, yet they should not wis h to go

    elsewhere.

    2. T hey should have boats and wagons , yet no necess ity to travel; cors lets and

    weapons , yet no occas ion to fight.

    3. For communication they s hould use knotted cords.

    4. T hey s hould deem their food sweet, their clothes beautiful , their houses homes ,

    their customs delightful.

    5. T here should be another s tate within view, so that its fowls and dogs s hould be

    heard; yet to old age, even to death, the people should hold no tr affic with i t. { 86 }

    CH AP T E R LX X XI

    T H E S H E W I N G-F OR T H OF S I MP L I CI T Y

    1. T rue speech is not elegant; elaborate speech is not tr uth. T hose who know do not

    argue; the argumentative are without k nowledge. T hose who have as s imi lated arenot learned; those who are gross with learning have not ass imi lated.

    2. T he Wise Man doth not hoard. T he more he giveth, the more he hath; the more

    he watereth, the more is he watered hims elf.

    3. T he Tao of Heaven is li ke an Arr ow, yet i t woundeth not; and the Wis e Man, in all

    his Work s , maketh no contention. { 87}

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