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Oxford University Press Warehouse 
Amen Corner, E.C. 

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VOL. xxxix 


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I. Was Taoism older than LAo-jze? i 

Three Religions in China. Peculiarity of the Tao Teh ATing. 

II. The Texts of the Tao Teh Aing and A'wang-jze 

Shu, as regards their authenticity and genuine- 

i. The Tao Teh King. The evidence of Sze-ma AT^ien, the 
historian ; of Lieh-jze, Han Fei-jze, and other Taoist writers ; 
and of Pan Ku. The Catalogue of the Imperial Library of 
Han; and that of the Sui dynasty. The Commentaries of 
' the old man of the Ho-side,' and of Wang Pi. Division 
into Parts and Chapters, and number of Characters in the Text. 

ii. The Writings of Afwang-jze. Importance to Taoism of 
those Writings. The division of the Books into three Parts. 
Their general Title and its meaning. 

III. What is the meaning of the name TAo? and the 


Meaning of the name. Usageof the term Thien. Peculiar 
usage of it by ATwang-jze. Mr. Giles's view that the name 
' God ' is the equivalent of Thien. Relation of the Tao to the 
name Ti. No idea of Creation-proper in Taoism. Man is 
composed of body and spirit. That the cultivation of the 
T&o promotes longevity. Startling results of the T4o ; and 
how It proceeds by contraries. The paradisiacal state. The 
decay of Taoism before the growth of knowledge. The moral 
and practical teachings of L&o-gze. Humility ; his three Jewels ; 
that good is to be returned for evil. 

IV. Accounts of LAo-jze and A'wang-jze given by 

Sze-mA JCmw 33 

V. On the Tractate of Actions and their Retributions 38 

Peculiar style and nature of the Treatise. Its date. Meaning 
of the Title. Was the old Taoism a Religion? The A'ang 
family. Influence of Buddhism on T&oism. 

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Part I (Chapters i to xxxvii) 45 to 79 

Ch. 1. Embodying the Tao, p. 47. 2. The Nourishment of 
the Person, pp. 47, 48. 3. Keeping the People at Rest, p. 49. 
4. The Fountainless, pp. 49, 50. 5. The Use of Emptiness, 
p. 50. 6. The Completion of Material Forms, p. 51. 7. Sheath- 
ing the Light, p. 52. 8. The Placid and Contented Nature, 
pp. 52, 53. 9. Fulness and Complacency contrary to the Tao, 
p. 53. 10. Possibilities through the Tao, pp. 53, 54. 11. The 
Use of what has no Substantive Existence, pp. 54, 55. 12. The 
Repression of the Desires, p. 55. 13. Loathing Shame, p. 56. 
14. The Manifestation of the Mystery, p. 57. 15. The Ex- 
hibition of the Qualities of the Tio, pp. 58, 59. 16. Returning 
to the Root, pp. 59, 60. 17. The Unadulterated Influence, 
pp. 60, 61. 18. The Decay of Manners, p. 61. 19. Returning to 
the Unadulterated Influence, p. 62. 20. Being Different from 
Ordinary Men, pp. 62, 63. 21. The Empty Heart, or the Tao 
in its Operation, p. 64. 22. The Increase granted to Humility, 
p. 65. 23. Absolute Vacancy, pp. 65, 66. 24. Painful Gracious- 
ness, p. 67. 25. Representations of the Mystery, pp. 67, 68. 
26. The Quality of Gravity, p. 69. 27. Dexterity in Using the 
Tao, p. 70. 28. Returning to Simplicity, p. 71. 29. Taking no 
Action, pp. 71, 72. 30. A Caveat against War, pp. 72, 73. 31. 
Stilling War, pp. 73, 74. 32. The Tao with no Name, pp. 74, 
75. 33. Discriminating between Attributes, p. 75. 34. The 
Task of Achievement, pp. 76, 77. 35. The Attribute of Bene- 
volence, p. 77. 36. Minimising the Light, p. 78. 37. The 
Exercise of Government, p. 79. 

Part II (Chapters xxxviii to Ixxxi) 80 to 124 

Ch. 38. About the Attributes of the Tao, pp. 80, 81. 39. 
The Origin of the Law, pp. 82, 83. 40. Dispensing with the 
Use (of Means), pp. 83, 84. 41. Sameness and Difference, 
pp. 84, 85. 42. The Transformations of the Tao, p. 85. 43. The 
Universal Use (of the Action in Weakness of the Tao), p. 87. 
44. Cautions, pp. 87, 88. 45. Great or Overflowing Virtue, p. 88. 
46. The Moderating of Desire or Ambition, pp. 88, 89. 47. 
Surveying what is Far-off, p. 89. 48. Forgetting Knowledge, 
p. 90. 49. The Quality of Indulgence, p. 91. 50. The Value 
set on Life, pp. 92, 93. 51. The Operation (of the Tao) in 
Nourishing Things, pp. 93, 94. 52. Returning to the Source, 
PP. 94> 95- 53. Increase of Evidence, pp. 96, 97. 54. The Culti- 
vation (of the T&o), and the Observation (of its Effects), pp. 97, 
98. 55. The Mysterious Charm, p. 99. 56. The Mysterious 

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Excellence, p. ioo. 57. The Genuine Influence, pp. ioo, 101. 

58. Transformation according to Circumstances, pp. 101, 102. 

59. Guarding the Tao, pp. 102, 103. 60. Occupying the Throne, 
pp. 103, 104. 61. The Attribute of Humility, pp. 104, 105. 62. 
Practising the Tao, pp. 105, 106. 63. Thinking in the Begin- 
ning, pp. 106, 107. 64. Guarding the Minute, pp. 107, 108. 65. 
Pure, unmixed Excellence, pp. 108, 109. 66. Putting One's Self 
Last, p. 109. 67. Three Precious Things, p. no. 68. Matching 
Heaven, pp. in, 112. 69. The Use of the Mysterious (Tao), 
p. 112. 70. The Difficulty of being (rightly) Known, pp. 112, 
113. 71. The Disease of Knowing, p. 113. 72. Loving One's 
Self, p. 114. 73. Allowing Men to take their Course, p. 116. 
74. Restraining Delusion, p. 117. 75. How Greediness In- 
jures, pp. 117, 118. 76. A Warning against (Trusting in) 
Strength, pp. 118, 1 19. 77. The Way of Heaven, p. 119. 78. 
Things to be Believed, p. 120. 79. Adherence to Bond or 
Covenant, p. 121. 80. Standing Alone, p. 122. 81. The Mani- 
festation of Simplicity, p. 123. 




Brief Notices of the different Books . . . .127 



I. i. Hsiao-yao Yu, or Enjoyment in Untroubled Ease . 164 

II. ii. Kh\ Wu Lun, or the Adjustment of Controversies . 176 

III. iii. Yang Shang Ku, or Nourishing the Lord of Life . . 198 

IV. iv. Zan A'ien Shih, or Man in the World, Associated with 

other Men 203 

V. v. Teh Khxmg Fu, or the Seal of Virtue Complete . . 223 
VI. vi. Ta 3ung Shih, or the Great and Most Honoured 

Master 236 

VII. vii. Ying Ti Wang, or the Normal Course for Rulers and 

Kings 259 


VIII. i. Phien Mau, or Webbed Toes 268 

IX. ii. Ma Thi, or Horses's Hoofs 276 

X. iii. K/iiX KAith, or Cutting Open Satchels . . .281 

XI. iv. 3ai Yu, or Letting Be, and Exercising Forbearance . 291 

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XII. v. Thien Ti, or Heaven and Earth . 

XIII. vi. Thien Tao, or the Way of Heaven 

XIV. vii. Thien Yiin, or the Revolution of Heaven 
XV. viii. Kho i, or Ingrained Ideas . 

XVI. ix. Shan Hsing, or Correcting the Nature . 

XVII. x. #^iu Shui, or the Floods of Autumn . 




Transliteration of Oriental Alphabets adopted for the Transla- 
tions of the Sacred Books of the East 393 

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In the Preface to the third volume of these 'Sacred 
Books of the East' (1879), I stated that I proposed giving 
in due course, in order to exhibit the System of Taoism, 
translations of the Tao Teh iHng by Lao-jze (sixth 
century B.C.), the Writings of ifwang-jze (between the 
middle of the fourth and third centuries B.C.), and the 
Treatise of 'Actions and their Retributions' (of our 
eleventh century) ; and perhaps also of one or more of the 
other characteristic Productions of the System. 

The two volumes now submitted to the reader are a 
fulfilment of the promise made so long ago. They contain 
versions of the Three Works which were specified, and, in 
addition, as Appendixes, four other shorter Treatises of 
Taoism ; Analyses of several of the Books of ATwang-jze by 
Lin Hsi-^ung ; a list of the stories which form so important 
a part of those Books ; two Essays by two of the greatest 
Scholars of China, written the one in A.D. 586 and illus- 
trating the Taoistic beliefs of that age, and the other in 
A. D. 1078 and dealing with the four Books of -ffwang-jze, 
whose genuineness is frequently called in question. The 
concluding Index is confined very much to Proper Names. 
For Subjects the reader is referred to the Tables of 
Contents, the Introduction to the Books of isfwang-jze 
(vol. xxxix, pp. 127-163), and the Introductory Notes to 
the various Appendixes. 

The Treatise of Actions and their Retributions 
exhibits to us the Taoism of the eleventh century in 
its moral or ethical aspects ; in the two earlier Works 
we see it rather as a philosophical speculation than as a 
religion in the ordinary sense of that term. It was not 
till after the introduction of Buddhism into China in our 
first century that Taoism began to organise itself as a 

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Religion, having its monasteries and nunneries, its images 
and rituals. While it did so, it maintained the super- 
stitions peculiar to itself: — some, like the cultivation of the 
Tao as a rule of life favourable to longevity, come down 
from the earliest times, and others which grew up 
during the decay of the Khx dynasty, and subsequently 
blossomed; — now in Mystical Speculation; now in the 
pursuits of Alchemy; now in the search for the pills of 
Immortality and the Elixir vitae; now in Astrological 
fancies ; now in visions of Spirits and in Magical arts to 
control them ; and finally in the terrors of its Purgatory 
and everlasting Hell. Its phases have been continually 
changing, and at present it attracts our notice more as a 
degraded adjunct of Buddhism than as a development of 
the speculations of L&o-jze and iSTwang-jze. Up to its con- 
tact with Buddhism, it subsisted as an opposition to the 
Confucian system, which, while admitting the existence and 
rule of the Supreme Being, bases its teachings on the study 
of man's nature and the enforcement of the duties binding 
on all men from the moral and social principles of their 

It is only during the present century that the Texts 
of Taoism have begun to receive the attention which 
they deserve. Christianity was introduced into China 
by Nestorian missionaries in the seventh century; and 
from the Hsi-an monument, which was erected by 
their successors in 781, nearly 150 years after their first 
entrance, we perceive that they were as familiar with the 
books of Lao-jze and iTwang-jze as with the Confucian 
literature of the empire, but that monument is the only 
memorial of them that remains. In the thirteenth century 
the Roman Catholic Church sent its earliest missionaries 
to China, but we hardly know anything of their literary 

The great Romish missions which continue to the present 
day began towards the end of the sixteenth century ; and 
there exists now in the India Office a translation of the 
Tao Teh King in Latin, which was brought to England 

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by a Mr. Matthew Raper, and presented by him to the 
Royal Society, of which he was a Fellow, on January ioth, 
1788. The manuscript is in excellent preservation, but we 
do not know by whom the version was made. It was pre- 
sented, as stated in the Introduction, p. 12, to Mr. Raper 
by P. de Grammont, ' Missionarius Apostolicus, ex-Jesuita.' 
The chief object of the translator or translators was to 
show that 'the Mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity and 
of the Incarnate God were anciently known to the Chinese 
nation.' The version as a whole is of little value. The 
reader will find, on pp. 115, 116, its explanation of Lao's 
seventy-second chapter; — the first morsel of it that has 
appeared in print. 

Protestant missions to China commenced in 1807 ; but it 
was not till 1868 that the Rev. Dr. Chalmers, a member of 
one of them, published his ' Speculations on Metaphysics, 
Polity, and Morality of " The Old Philosopher," Lao-Tsze.' 
Meanwhile, Abel R^musat had aroused the curiosity of 
scholars throughout Europe, in 1823, by his 'Memoir on 
the Life and Opinions of Lao-Tseu, a Chinese Philosopher 
of the sixth century before our era, who professed the 
opinions commonly attributed to Pythagoras, to Plato, and 
to their disciples.' Remusat was followed by one who had 
received from him his first lessons in Chinese, and had be- 
come a truly great Chinese scholar, — the late Stanislas Julien. 
He published in 1 842 ' a complete translation for the first 
time of this memorable Work, which is regarded with 
reason as the most profound, the most abstract, and the 
most difficult of all Chinese Literature.' Dr. Chalmers's 
translation was also complete, but his comments, whether 
original or from Chinese sources, were much fewer than 
those supplied by Julien. Two years later, two German 
versions of the Treatise were published at Leipzig ; — by 
Reinhold von Planckner and Victor von Strauss, differing 
much from each other, but both marked by originality and 

I undertook myself, as stated above, in 1879 to translate 
for 'The Sacred Books of the East' the Texts of Taoism 

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which appear in these volumes ; and, as I could find time 
from my labours on ' The Texts of Confucianism,' I had 
written out more than one version of Lao's work by the end 
of 1880. Though not satisfied with, the result, I felt justified 
in exhibiting my general views of it in an article in the 
British Quarterly Review of July, 1883. 

In 1884 Mr. F. H. Balfour published at Shanghai a ver- 
sion of ' Taoist Texts, Ethical, Political, and Speculative.' 
His Texts were ten in all, the Tao Teh King being the 
first and longest of them. His version of this differed in 
many points from all previous versions; and Mr. H. A. 
Giles, of H. M.'s Consular Service in China, vehemently 
assailed it and also Dr. Chalmers's translation, in the 
China Review for March and April, 1886. Mr. Giles, 
indeed, occasionally launched a shaft also at Julien and 
myself; but his main object in his article was to discredit 
the genuineness and authenticity of the Tao Teh King 
itself. ' The work,' he says, ' is undoubtedly a forgery. It 
contains, indeed, much that Lao Tzu did say, but more 
that he did not.' I replied, so far as was necessary, to 
Mr. Giles in the same Review for January and February, 
1888 ; and a brief summary of my reply is given in the 
second chapter of the Introduction in this volume. My 
confidence has never been shaken for a moment in the 
Tao Teh King as a genuine relic of Lao-jze, one of the 
most original minds of the Chinese race. 

In preparing the version now published, I have used : — 
First, ' The Complete Works of the Ten Philosophers ; ' — 
a Su-£au reprint in 1804 of the best editions of the Philo- 
sophers, nearly all belonging more or less to the Taoist school, 
included in it. It is a fine specimen of Chinese printing, 
clear and accurate. The Treatise of Lao-jze of course 
occupies the first place, as edited by Kwei Yu-kwang 
(better known as Kwei A"an-shan) of the Ming dynasty. 
The Text and Commentary are those of Ho-shang Kung 
(Introd., p. 7), along with the division of the whole into 
Parts and eighty-one chapters, and the titles of the several 
chapters, all attributed to him. Along the top of the page, 

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there is a large collection of notes from celebrated com- 
mentators and writers down to the editor himself. 

Second, the Text and Commentary of Wang Pi (called 
also Fu-sze), who died A. D. 249, at the early age of twenty- 
four. See Introduction, p. 8. 

Third, 'Helps (lit. Wings) to Lao-jze;' by 3&o Hung 
(called also Zao-hau), and prefaced by him in 1587. This 
is what Julien calls ' the most extensive and most important 
contribution to the understanding of Lao-jze, which we yet 
possess.' Its contents are selected from the ablest writings 
on the Treatise from Han Fei (Introd., p. 5) downwards, 
closing in many chapters with the notes made by the com- 
piler himself in the course of his studies. Altogether the 

book sets before us the substance of the views of sixty-four 
writers on our short ATing. Julien took the trouble to 
analyse the list of them, and found it composed of three 
emperors, twenty professed Taoists, seven Buddhists, and 
thirty-four Confucianists or members of the Literati. He 
says, ' These last constantly explain Lao-jze according to 
the ideas peculiar to the School of Confucius, at the risk of 
misrepresenting him, and with the express intention of 
throttling his system ; ' then adding, ' The commentaries 
written in such a spirit have no interest for persons who 
wish to enter fully into the thought of Lao-jze, and obtain 
a just idea of his doctrine. I have thought it useless, 
therefore, to specify the names of such commentaries and 
their authors.' 
I have quoted these sentences of Julien, because of a 

charge brought by Mr. Balfour, in a prefatory note to his 
own version of the Tao Teh King, against him and other 
translators. ' One prime defect,' he says, though with some 
hesitation, ' lies at the root of every translation that has 
been published hitherto ; and this is, that not one seems 
to have been based solely and entirely on commentaries 
furnished by members of the Taoist school. The Con- 
fucian element enters largely into all ; and here, I think, an 
injustice has been done to Lao-jze. To a Confucianist the 
Taoist system is in every sense of the word a heresy, and 

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a commentator holding this opinion is surely not the best 
expositor. It is as a Grammarian rather than as a Philo- 
sopher that a member of the Ju Chia deals with the Tao 
Teh ^Ting ; he gives the sense of a passage according to 
the syntactical construction rather than according to the 
genius of the philosophy itself; and in attempting to ex- 
plain the text by his own canons, instead of by the canons of 
Taoism, he mistakes the superficial and apparently obvious 
meaning for the hidden and esoteric interpretation.' 

Mr. Balfour will hardly repeat his charge of imperfect or 
erroneous interpretation against Julien ; and I believe that it 
is equally undeserved by most, if not all, of the other trans- 
lators against whom it is directed. He himself adopted as 
his guide the ' Explanations of the Tao Teh King,' current 
as the work of Lii Yen (called also Lii 3u, Lii Tung-pin, and 
Lii .Oiun-yang), a Taoist of the eighth century. Through 
Mr. Balfour's kindness I have had an opportunity of ex- 
amining this edition of Lao's Treatise ; and I am com- 
pelled to agree with the very unfavourable judgment on it 
pronounced by Mr. Giles as both ' spurious ' and ' ridiculous.' 
All that we are told of Lii Yen is very suspicious ; much of 
it evidently false. The editions of our little book ascribed 
to him are many. I have for more than twenty years 
possessed one with the title of 'The Meaning of the Tao 
Teh ATing Explained by the TRUE Man of -Oun-yang,' 
being a reprint of 1690, and as different as possible from 
the work patronised by Mr. Balfour. 

Fourth, the Thai ShangHwun HsiianTao TehiTan 
King, — a work of the present dynasty, published at Shang- 
hai, but when produced I do not know. It is certainly of 
the Lii 3 U type, and is worth purchasing as one of the 
finest specimens of block-printing. It professes to be the 
production of ' The Immortals of the Eight Grottoes,' each 
of whom is styled ' a Divine Ruler (Tl Kxin).' The eighty- 
one chapters are equally divided for commentary among 
them.excepting that ' the Divine Ruler, the Universal Refiner,' 
has the last eleven assigned to him. The Text is every- 
where broken up into short clauses, which are explained in 

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a very few characters by ' God, the True Helper,' the same, 
I suppose, who is also styled, ' The Divine Ruler, the True 
Helper,' and comments at length on chapters 31 to 40. 
I mention these particulars as an illustration of how the 
ancient Taoism has become polytheistic and absurd. The 
name ' God, the True Helper,' is a title, I imagine, given to 
Lii 3u- With all this nonsense, the composite commentary is 
a good one, the work, evidently, of one hand. One of several 
recommendatory Prefaces is ascribed to Wan Kkang, the 
god of Literature ; and he specially praises the work, as 
' explaining the meaning by examination of the Text.' 

Fifth, a ' Collection of the Most Important Treatises of 
the T&oist Fathers (Tao 3u Kan ATwan K\ Yao).' This 
was reprinted in 1877 at Kh&ng-kau in ^Tiang-su ; begin- 
ning with the TaoTehATing, and ending with the Kan 
Ying Phi en. Between these there are fourteen other 
Treatises, mostly short, five of them being among Mr. Bal- 
four's ' Taoist Texts.' The Collection was edited by a Lu 
Yii ; and the Commentary selected by him, in all but the 
last Treatise, was by a Li Hsi-yiieh, who appears to have 
been a recluse in a monastery on a mountain in the depart- 
ment of Pao-ning, Sze-Mwan, if, indeed, what is said of 
him be not entirely fabulous. 

Sixth, the Commentary on the Tao Teh A'ing, by 
Wu .Oang (a.d. 1349-1333) of Lin AT^wan. This has 
been of the highest service to me. Wu .Oang was the 
greatest of the Yuan scholars. He is one of the Literati 
quoted from occasionally by 3iao Hung in his ' Wings ; ' 
but by no means so extensively as Julien supposes (Obser- 
vations D^tachees, p. xli). My own copy of his work is in 
the 1 ath Section of the large Collection of the ' Yiieh-ya 
Hall,' published in 1853. Writing of Wu KMng in 1865 
(Proleg. to the Shu, p. 36), I said that he was ' a bold 
thinker and a daring critic, handling his text with a freedom 
which I had not seen in any other Chinese scholar.' The 
subsequent study of his writings has confirmed me in this 
opinion of him. Perhaps he might be characterised as an 
independent, rather than as a bold, thinker, and the daring 
[39] b 

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of his criticism must not be supposed to be without caution. 
(See Introd., p. 9.) 

The Writings of iTwang-jze have been studied by 
foreigners still less than the Treatise of Lao-jze. When 
I undertook in 1879 to translate them, no version of them 
had been published. In 1881, however, there appeared at 
Shanghai Mr. Balfour's 'The Divine Classic of Nan-hua 
(Introd., pp. 11, 1 a), being the Works of Chuang Tsze, 
Taoist Philosopher.' It was a ' bold ' undertaking in 
Mr. Balfour thus to commence his translations of Chinese 
Books with one of the most difficult of them. I fancy that he 
was himself convinced of this, and that his undertaking had 
been 'too bold,' by the criticism to which his work was 
subjected in the China Review by Mr. Giles. Never- 
theless, it was no small achievement to be the first to 
endeavour to lift up the veil from ATwang-jze. Even a first 
translation, though imperfect, is not without benefit to 
others who come after, and are able to do better. In 
preparing the draft of my own version, which draft was 
finished in April, 1887, I made frequent reference to the 
volume of Mr. Balfour. 

Having exposed the errors of Mr. Balfour, Mr. Giles 
proceeded to make a version of his own, which was pub- 
lished last year in London, with the title of ' Chuang Tzu, 
Mystic, Moralist, and Social Reformer.' It was not, 
however, till I was well through with the revision of my 
draft version, that I supplied myself with a copy of his 
volume. I did not doubt that Mr. Giles's translation 
would be well and tersely done, and I preferred to do 
my own work independently and without the help which 
he would have afforded me. In carrying my sheets through 
the press, I have often paused over my rendering of a passage 
to compare it with his ; and I have pleasure in acknowledging 
the merits of his version. The careful and competent reader 
will see and form his own judgment on passages and points 
where we differ. 

Before describing the editions of ATwang-jze which I 

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have consulted, I must not omit to mention Professor 
Gabelentz's 'Treatise on the Speech or Style of iSTwang-jze,' 
as 'a Contribution to Chinese Grammar,' published at 
Leipzig in 1888. It has been a satisfaction to me to find 
myself on almost every point of usage in agreement with 
the views of so able a Chinese scholar. 

The works which I employed in preparing my version 
have been : — 

First, ' The True ^ing of Nan-hwa,' in ' The Complete 
Works of the Ten Philosophers,' which has been described 
above. The Commentary which it supplies is that of Kwo 
Hsiang (Introd., pp. 9, 10), with ' The Sounds and Meanings 
of the Characters' from Lu Teh Ming's 'Explanations of 
the Terms and Phrases of the Classics,' of our seventh 
century. As in the case of the Tao Teh .fifing, the Ming 
editor has introduced at the top of his pages a selection of 
comments and notes from a great variety of scholars down 
to his own time. 

Second, ' Helps (Wings) to ATwang-jze by 3&o Hung,' — 
a kindred work to the one with a similar title on Lao-jze ; 
by the same author, and prefaced by him in 1588. The 
two works are constructed on the same lines. 3iao draws 
his materials from forty-eight authorities, from Kwo Hsiang 
to himself. He divides the several Books also into para- 
graphs, more or fewer according to their length, and the 
variety of subjects in them ; and my version follows him 
in this lead with little or no change. He has two con- 
cluding Books ; the one containing a collation of various 
readings, and the other a collection of articles on the 
history and genius of ATwang-jze, and different passages 
of his Text. 

Third, the ^Twang-jze Hsiieh or 'ATwang-jze made 
like Snow,' equivalent to our 'ATwang-jze Elucidated;' by 
a Lu Shu-^ih of Canton province, written in 1796. The 
different Books are preceded by a short summary of their 
subject-matter. The work goes far to fulfil the promise of 
its title. 

Fourth, ATwang-jze Yin, meaning 'The Train of 

b 2 

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Thought in Awang-jze Traced in its Phraseology.' My 
copy is a reprint, in 1880, of the Commentary of Lin 
Hsi-^ung, who lived from the Ming into the present 
dynasty, under the editorship of a Lu /fM-wang of iTiang- 
su province. The style is clear and elegant, but rather 
more concise than that of the preceding work. It leaves 
out the four disputed Books (XXVIII to XXXI) ; but all 
the others are followed by an elaborate discussion of their 
scope and plan. 

Fifth, ' The Nan-hwa Classic of iifwang-jze Explained,' 
published in 1631, by a Hsiian Ying or 3 un g ( *$t. 7J5K, 
*j|f jj^H ; the name is printed throughout the book, now 
in one of these ways, now in the other), called also 
Mau-kung. The commentary is carefully executed and 
ingenious ; but my copy of the book is so incorrectly 
printed that it can only be used with caution. Mr. Balfour 
appears to have made his version mainly from the same 
edition of the work ; and some of his grossest errors 
pointed out by Mr. Giles arose from his accepting without 
question the misprints of his authority. 

Sixth, ' Independent Views of iifwang-jze (^£ «¥■ Jjj§j 
J^) ; ' — by Hu Wan-ying, published in 1 75 1 . Occasionally, 
the writer pauses over a passage, which, he thinks, has defied 
all preceding students, and suggests the right explanation 
of it, or leaves it as inexplicable. 

It only remains for me to refer to the Repertories of 
' Elegant Extracts,' called by the Chinese Ku Wan, which 
abound in their literature, and where the masterpieces of 
composition are elucidated with more or less of critical 
detail and paraphrase. I have consulted nearly a dozen of 
these collections, and would mention my indebtedness 
especially to that called Mei .KV/wan, which discusses 
passages from twelve of -ffwang-jze's books. 

When consulting the editions of Lin Hsl-^ung and Lu 
Shu-^ih, the reader is surprised by the frequency with 
which they refer to the ' old explanations ' as ' incomplete 
and unsatisfactory,' often as ' absurd,' or ' ridiculous,' and he 

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finds on examination that they do not so express themselves 
without reason. He is soon convinced that the transla- 
tion of ifwang-^ze calls for the exercise of one's individual 
judgment, and the employment of every method akin to 
the critical processes by which the meaning in the books of 
other languages is determined. It was the perception of 
this which made me prepare in the first place a draft 
version to familiarise myself with the peculiar style and 
eccentric thought of the author. 

From iTwang-jze to the Tractate of ' Actions and their 
Retributions' the transition is great. Translation in the 
latter case is as easy as it is difficult in the former. It 
was Rdmusat who in 1816 called attention to the Kan 
Ying Phien in Europe, as he did to the Tao Teh /Hng 
seven years later, and he translated the Text of it with 
a few Notes and Illustrative Anecdotes. In 1838 Klaproth 
published a translation of it from the Man-chau version ; 
and in 1830 a translation in English appeared in the 
Canton Register, a newspaper published at Macao. In 
1828 Julien published what has since been the standard 
version of it ; with an immense amount of additional 
matter under the title — 'Le Livre Des Recompenses 
et Des Peines, en Chinois et en Francais; Ac- 
compagne de quatre cent L6gendes, Anecdotes 
et Histoires, qui font connaitre les Doctrines, les 
Croyances et les Mceurs de la Secte des Tao-sseV 

In writing out my own version I have had before me : — 

First, 'The Thai Shang Kan Ying Phien, with 
Plates and the Description of them;' a popular 
edition, as profusely furnished with anecdotes and stories 
as Julien's original, and all pictorially illustrated. The 
notes, comments, and corresponding sentences from the 
Confucian Classics are also abundant. 

Second, 'The Thai Shang Kan Ying Phien, with 
explanations collected from the Classics and Histories ; ' — 
a Cantonese reprint of an edition prepared in the .Oien- 
lung reign by a Hsia ATiu-hsia. 

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Third, the edition in the Collection of Taoist Texts 
described above on p. xvii; by Hsu Hsiu-teh. It is 
decidedly Taoistic ; but without stories or pictures. 

Fourth, 'The Thai Shang Kan Ying Phien Kb ;' by 
Hui Tung, of the present dynasty. The Work follows the 
Commentary of Wu KMag on the Tao Teh ATing in the 
Collection of the Yueh-ya Hall. The preface of the author 
is dated in 1 749. The Commentary, he tells us, was written 
in consequence of a vow, when his mother was ill, and he 
was praying for her recovery. It contains many extracts 
from Ko Hung (Introduction, p. 5, note), to whom he 
always refers by his nom de plume of Pao-phoh 3 z e, 
or ' Maintainer of Simplicity.' He considers indeed this 
Tractate to have originated from him. 

I have thus set forth all that is necessary to be said here by 
way of preface. For various information about the Treatises 
comprised in the Appendixes, the reader is referred to the 
preliminary notes, which precede the translation of most of 
them. I have often sorely missed the presence of a competent 
native scholar who would have assisted me in the quest of 
references, and in talking over difficult passages. Such a 
helper would have saved me much time ; but the result, 
I think, would scarcely have appeared in any great alteration 
of my versions. 


December 20, 1890. 

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Was Taoism older than Lao-3ze? 

i. In writing the preface to the third volume of these 
Sacred Books of the East in 1879, I referred to Lao-jze as 
' the acknowledged founder ' of the system of Taoism. Pro- 
longed study and research, however, have brought me to 
the conclusion that there was a Taoism earlier than his ; 
and that before he wrote his Tao Teh King, the princi- 
ples taught in it had been promulgated, and the ordering 
of human conduct and government flowing from them 

For more than a thousand years 'the Three Religions' 
Three Religions has been a stereotyped phrase in China, 

in China. meaning what we call Confucianism, Taoism, 
and Buddhism. The phrase itself simply means ' the 
Three Teachings,' or systems of instruction, leaving the 
subject-matter of each 'Teaching' to be learned by inquiry. 
Of the three. Buddhism is of course the most recent, having 
been introduced into China only in the first century of our 
Christian era. Both the others were indigenous to the 
country, and are traceable to a much greater antiquity, so 
that it is a question to which the earlier origin should be 
assigned. The years of Confucius's life lay between B.C. 
551 and 478 ; but his own acknowledgment that he was 
' a transmitter and not a maker,' and the testimony of his 
grandson, that ' he handed down the doctrines of Yao and 
Shun (b.c. 2300), and elegantly displayed the regulations 

[39] B 

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of Win and Wu (B. C. 1 200), taking them as his model,' are 
well known. 

a. Lao-jze' s birth is said, in the most likely account of it, 
to have taken place in the third year of king Ting of the 
Kku dynasty, (b.C.) 604. He was thus rather more than 
fifty years older than Confucius. The two men seem to 
have met more than once, and I am inclined to think that 
the name of Lao-jze, as the designation of the other, arose 
from Confucius's styling him to his disciples 'The Old 
Philosopher.' They met as Heads of different schools or 
schemes of thought ; but did not touch, so far as we know, 
on the comparative antiquity of their views. It is a pecu- 
liarity of theTaoTeh^Ting that any historical element in 

„ ,. . , it is of the vaguest nature possible, and in all 
Peculiarity of ° r > 

the Tao Teh its chapters there is not a single proper name. 
ing ' Yet there are some references to earlier sages 
whose words the author was copying out, and to ' sentence- 
makers ' whose maxims he was introducing to illustrate his 
own sentiments 1 . In the most distant antiquity he saw a 
happy society in which his highest ideas of the Tao were 
realised, and in the seventeenth chapter he tells us that in 
the earliest times the people did not know that there were 
their rulers, and when those rulers were most successful in 
dealing with them, simply said, ' We are what we are of 
ourselves.' Evidently, men existed to Lao-jze at first in 
a condition of happy innocence,— in what we must call a 
paradisiacal state, according to his idea of what such a 
state was likely to be. 

When we turn from the treatise of Lao-jze to the 
writings of .ffwang-jze, the greatest of his followers, we are 

1 The sixth chapter of Lao's treatise, that about ' the Spirit of the Valley,' 
is referred to in Lieh-jze (I, i b ), as being from Hwang Ti, from which the 
commentator Tu Tao-^ien (about A. D. 1 300) takes occasion to say : ' From 
which we know that Lao-jze was accustomed to quote in his treatise passages 
from earlier records, — as when he refers to the remarks of " some sage," of 
" some ancient," of " the sentence-makers," and of " some writer on war." In 
all these cases he is clearly introducing the words of earlier wise men. The 
case is like that of Confucius when he said, " I am a transmitter and not a 
maker," &c* Found in 3iSo Hung, in loc. 

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not left in doubt as to his belief in an early state of 
paradisiacal Taoism. Hwang Tt, the first year of whose 
reign is placed in B.C. 2697, is often introduced as a seeker 
of the Tao, and is occasionally condemned as having been 
one of the first to disturb its rule in men's minds and break 
up 'the State of Perfect Unity.' He mentions several 
sovereigns of whom we can hardly find a trace in the 
records of history as having ruled in the primeval period, 
and gives us more than one description of the condition of 
the world during that happy time 1 . 

I do not think that Awang-jze had any historical 
evidence for the statements which he makes about those 
early days, the men who flourished in them, and their 
ways. His narratives are for the most part fictions, in 
which the names and incidents are of his own devising. 
They are no more true as matters of fact than the accounts 
of the characters in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress are 
true, with reference to any particular individuals ; but as 
these last are grandly true of myriads of minds in different 
ages, so may we read in ^Twang-jze's stories the thoughts 
of Taoistic men beyond the restrictions of place and time. 
He believed that those thoughts were as old as the men to 
whom he attributed them. I find in his belief a ground for 
believing myself that to Taoism, as well as to Confucianism, 
we ought to attribute a much earlier origin than the famous 
men whose names they bear. Perhaps they did not differ 
so much at first as they came afterwards to do in the hands 
of Confucius and Lao-jze, both great thinkers, the one 
more of a moralist, and the other more of a metaphysician. 
When and how, if they were ever more akin than they 
came to be, their divergence took place, are difficult ques- 
tions on which it may be well to make some remarks after 
we have tried to set forth the most important principles of 

Those principles have to be learned from the treatise of 
Lao-jze and the writings of ./sTwang-jze. We can hardly 

1 See in Books IX, X, and XI r. 
B 2 

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say that the Taoism taught in them is the Taoism now 
current in China, or that has been current in it for many 
centuries ; but in an inquiry into the nature and origin of 
religions these are the authorities that must be consulted 
for Taoism, and whose evidence must be accepted. The 
treatise, 'Actions and the Responses to them,' will show 
one of the phases of it at a much later period. 


The Texts of the TAo Teh ATing and a'wang- 
£ze shu, as regards their authenticity and 
genuineness, and the arrangement of them. 

I.i.I will now state briefly, first, the grounds on which I 
accept the Tao Teh A^ingas a genuine production of the 
age to which it has been assigned, and the truth of its 
authorship by L&o-jzc to whom it has been ascribed. It 
would not have been necessary a few years ago to write as 
if these points could be called in question, but in 1886 
Mr. Herbert A. Giles, of Her Majesty's Consular Service 
in China, and one of the ablest Chinese scholars living, 
vehemently called them in question in an article in the 
China Review for the months of March and April. His 
strictures have been replied to, and I am not going to 
revive here the controversy which they produced, but only 
to state a portion of the evidence which satisfies my own 
mind on the two points just mentioned. 

2. It has been said above that the year B. c. 604 was, 
probably, that of Lao-jze's birth. The year of his death is 
not recorded. Sze-ma Kki&n, the first great Chinese his- 

The evidence of toriaa > who died in about B - Cl 8 5> commences 
Sze-ma KBen, his ' Biographies ' with a short account of Lao- 
the historian. ^ Re teUs ^ ^ ^ philosopher had been & 

curator of the Royal Library of-ffau, and that, mourning over 
the decadence of the dynasty, he wished to withdraw from 
the world, and proceeded to the pass or defile of Hsien-ku \ 

1 In the present district of Ling-pao, Shan ^au, province of Ho-nan. 

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leading from China to the west. There he was recognised 
by the warden of the pass, Yin Hst (often called Kwan 
Yin), himself a well-known Taoist, who insisted on his 
leaving him a writing before he went into seclusion. 
Lao-jze then wrote his views on ' The Tao and its Charac- 
teristics,' in two parts or sections, containing more than 
5000 characters, gave the manuscript to the warden, and 
went his way 1 ; ' nor is it known where he died.' This 
account is strange enough, and we need not wonder that it 
was by and by embellished with many marvels. It con- 
tains, however, the definite statements that Lao-jze wrote 
the Tao Teh .fifing in two parts, and consisting of more 
than 5 000 characters. And that K/iien was himself well 
acquainted with the treatise is apparent from his quotations 
from it, with, in almost every case, the specification of the 
author. He thus adduces part of the first chapter, and 
a large portion of the last chapter but one. His brief 
references also to Lao-jze and his writings are numerous. 
3. But between Lao-jze and Sze-ma K/iien there were 
many Taoist writers whose works remain. I may specify 
of them Lieh-jze (assuming that his chapters, 

Lieh-jze, Han , , .... r , 

Fei-jze, and though not composed in their present form by 

other Taoist hj mj mav ve t b e accepted as fair specimens 
of his teaching) ; iTwang-jze (of the fourth 
century B.C. We find him refusing to accept high office 
from king Wei of KM, B.C. 339-399); Han Fei, a volumi- 
nous author, who died by his own hand in B.C. 230 ; and 
Liu An, a scion of the Imperial House of Han, king of 
Hwai-nan, and better known to us as Hwai-nan 3ze, who 
also died by his own hand in B.C. 12a. In the books of all 
these men we find quotations of many passages that are in 
our treatise. They are expressly said to be, many of them, 
quotations from Lao-jze ; Han Fei several times all but 

1 In an ordinary Student's Manual I find a note with reference to this incident 
to which it may be worth while to give a place here : — The warden, it is said, 
set before Lao-jze a dish of tea ; and this was the origin of the custom of tea- 
drinking between host and guest (see the fa] 1881 xp Eg, fa •yJH 
ch. 7, on Food and Drink). 

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shows the book beneath his eyes. To show how numerous 
the quotations by Han Fei and Liu An are, let it be borne 
in mind that the Tao Teh iHng has come down to us as 
divided into eighty-one short chapters ; and that the whole 
of it is shorter than the shortest of our Gospels. Of the 
eighty-one chapters, either the whole or portions of seventy- 
one are found in those two writers. There are other authors 
not so decidedly Taoistic, in whom we find quotations from 
the little book. These quotations are in general wonderfully 
correct. Various readings indeed there are ; but if we were 
sure that the writers did trust to memory, their differences 
would only prove that copies of the text had been multiplied 
from the very first. 

In passing on from quotations to the complete text, I will 
Evidence of Pan clinch the assertion that A^ien was well 
K "- acquainted with our treatise, by a passage 

from the History of the Former Han Dynasty (B.C. ao6- 
A.D. 34), which was begun to be compiled by Pan Ku, who 
died however in 92, and left a portion to be completed by his 
sister, the famous Pan Kko. The thirty-second chapter of 
his Biographies is devoted to Sze-ma Kh'izn, and towards 
the end it is said that 'on the subject of the Great Tao he 
preferred Hwang and Lao to the six King! ' Hwang and 
Lao ' must there be the writings of Hwang-Tt and Lao-jze. 
The association of the two names also illustrates the anti- 
quity claimed for Taoism, and the subject of note 1, p. a. 

4. We go on from quotations to complete texts, and turn, 
first, to the catalogue of the Imperial Library of Han, as 
compiled by Liu Hsin, not later than the commencement of 
our Christian era. There are entered in it Taoist works by 
Catalogue of the thirty-seven different authors, containing in all 
Imperial Library 993 chapters or sections (phien). 1 Yin, the 
premier of .Oang Thang (B.C. 1766), heads 
the list with fifty-one sections. There are in it four editions 
of Lao-jze's work with commentaries : — by a Mr. Lin, in 
four sections ; a Mr. Fu, in thirty-seven sections ; a Mr. 
Hsu, in six sections ; and by Liu Hsiang, Hsin's own 
father, in four sections. All these four works have since 
perished, but there they were in the Imperial Library before 

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our era began, ATwang-jze is in the same list in fifty-two 
books or sections, the greater part of which have happily- 
escaped the devouring tooth of time. 

We turn now to the twentieth chapter of K/iien's 
Biographies, in which he gives an account of Yo I, the 
scion of a distinguished family, and who himself played a 
famous part, both as a politician and military leader, and 
became prince of Wang-kb under the kingdom of A"ao in 
B.C. 279. Among his descendants was a Yo KMn, who 
learned in KM ' the words,' that is, the Taoistic writings ' of 
Hwang-Ti and Lao-jze from an old man who lived on the 
Ho-side.' The origin of this old man was not known, but 
Yo K/ian taught what he learned from him to a Mr. Ko, 
who again became preceptor to 3hao 3han, the chief 
minister of Kh\, and afterwards of the new dynasty of Han, 
dying in B.C. 190. 

5. Referring now to the catalogue of the Imperial 
Library of the dynasty of Sui (a.D. 589-618), we find that 
The catalogue it contained many editions of Lao's treatise 
of the Sui dynasty, -vvith commentaries. The first mentioned is 
'The Tao Teh Afing,' with the commentary of the old 
man of the Ho-side, in the time of the emperor Wan of Han 
(B.C. 179-143). It is added in a note that the dynasty of 
Liang (a.D. 502-556) had possessed the edition of ' the old 
man of the Ho-side, of the time of the Warring States ; 
but that with some other texts and commentaries it had 
disappeared.' I find it difficult to believe that there had 
been two old men of the Ho-side 1 , both teachers of Taoism 
and commentators on our Afing, but I am willing to con- 
tent myself with the more recent work, and accept the copy 
that has been current — say from B.C. 150, when Sze-ma 
.Oien could have been little more than a boy. Taoism was 
a favourite study with many of the Han emperors and 
their ladies. Hwai-nan 3ze, of whose many quotations from 

1 The earlier old man of the Ho-side is styled in Chinese SOT [~* y. y^J 

the other ^pl" J-* ^S> but the designations hare the same meaning. 

Some critical objections to the genuineness of the latter's commentary on the 
ground of the style are without foundation. 

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the text of Lao I have spoken, was an uncle of the 
emperor Wan. To the emperor iHng (B.C. 156-143), the 
son of Wan, there is attributed the designation of Lao's 
treatise as a K in g, a work of standard authority. At the 
beginning of his reign, we are told, some one was com- 
mending to him four works, among which were those of 
Lao-jze and A'wang-jze. Deeming that the work of 
Hwang-jze and Lao-jze was of a deeper character than the 
others, he ordered that it should be called a Afing, estab- 
lished a board for the study of Taoism, and issued an edict 
that the book should be learned and recited at court, and 
throughout the country 1 . Thenceforth it was so styled. 
We find Hwang-fu Mi (a. D. 215-282) referring to it as the 
Tao Teh King. 

The second place in the Sui catalogue is given to the 
text and commentary of Wang Pi or Wang Fu-sze, an 

The work of extraordinary scholar who died in A. D. 249, 
Wang pi. at the early age of twenty-four. This work 
has always been much prized. It was its text which Lu 
Teh-ming used in his ' Explanation of the Terms and 
Phrases of the Classics,' in the seventh century. Among 
the editions of it which I possess is that printed in 1 794 
with the imperial moveable metal types. 

I 'heed not speak of editions or commentaries subsequent 
to Wang Pi's. They soon begin to be many, and are only 
not so numerous as those of the Confucian Classics. 

6. All the editions of the book are divided into two 
Divisions into parts, the former called Tao, and the latter 
parts, chapters; Teh, meaning the Qualities or Characteristics 

and number of ° , . . 

characters in the of the Tao, but this distinction of subjects IS 
text by no means uniformly adhered to. 
I referred already to the division of the whole into eighty- 
one short chapters (37+44), which is by common tradition 
attributed to Ho-shang Kung, or 'The old man of the 
Ho-side.' Another very early commentator, called Yen 
3un or Yen Aun-phing, made a division into seventy-two 
chapters (40 + 32), under the influence, no doubt, of some 

1 See 3^0 Hung's Wings or Helps, ch. v, p. I i*. 

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mystical considerations. His predecessor, perhaps, had no 
better reason for his eighty-one; but the names of his 
chapters were, for the most part, happily chosen, and have 
been preserved. Wu K/iang arranged the two parts in 
sixty-seven chapters (31+36). It is a mistake, however, 
to suppose, as even Mr. Wylie with all his general accuracy 
did *, that Wu ' curtails the ordinary text to some extent.' 
He does not curtail, but only re-arranges according to his 
fashion, uniting some of Ho-shang Kung's chapters in one, 
and sometimes altering the order of their clauses. 

Sze-ma KMen tells us that, as the treatise came from 
Lao-jze, it contained more than 5000 characters ; that is, 
as one critic says, ' more than 5000 and fewer than 6000.' 
Ho-shang Kung's text has 5350, and one copy 5590 ; 
Wang Pi's, 5683, and one copy 5610. Two other early 
texts have been counted, giving 5720 and 5635 characters 
respectively. The brevity arises from the terse conciseness 
of the style, owing mainly to the absence of the embellish- 
ment of particles, which forms so striking a peculiarity in 
the composition of Mencius and Afwang-jze. 

In passing on to speak, secondly and more briefly, of the 
far more voluminous writings of Afwang-jze, I may say that 
I do not know of any other book of so ancient a date as 
the Tao Teh King, of which the authenticity of the origin 
and genuineness of the text can claim to be so well sub- 

II. 7. In the catalogue of the Han Library we have the 
entry of '.Afwang-jze in fifty-two books or sections.' By 

The Books of the time of the Sui dynasty, the editions of 

Awang-jze. jjis wor jj amounted to nearly a score. The 
earliest commentary that has come down to us goes by the 
name of Kwo Hsiang's. He was an officer and scholar of 
the 3in dynasty, who died about the year 312. Another 
officer, also of 3i n > called Hsiang Hsiu, of rather an earlier 
date, had undertaken the same task, but left it incom- 
plete ; and his manuscripts coming (not, as it appears, by 

1 Notes on Chinese Literature, p. 173. 

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any fraud) into Kwo's hands, he altered and completed 
them as suited his own views, and then gave them to the 
public. In the short account of Kwo, given in the twentieth 
chapter of the Biographies of the 3 m history, it is said 
that several tens of commentators had laboured unsatis- 
factorily on Afwang's writings before Hsiang Hsiu took 
them in hand. As the joint result of the labours of the 
two men, however, we have only thirty-three of the fifty- 
two sections mentioned in the Han catalogue. It is in 
vain that I have tried to discover how and when the 
other nineteen sections were lost. In one of the earliest 
commentaries on the Tao Teh ^fing, that by Yen 3 un > we 
have several quotations from ^fwang-jze which bear evi- 
dently the stamp of his handiwork, and are not in the 
current Books ; but they would not altogether make up a 
single section. We have only to be thankful that so large 
a proportion of the original work has been preserved. Su 
Shih (3ze-£an, and Tung-pho), it is well known, called in 
question the genuineness of Books 28 to 31 1 . Books 15 and 
16 have also been challenged, and a paragraph here and 
there in one or other of the Books. The various readings, 
according to a collation given by 3&0 Hung, are few. 

8. There can be no doubt that the Books of ^Twang-jze 

were hailed by all the friends of Taoism. It has been 

mentioned above that the names ' Hwang-Ti ' 

Taoism of the an d 'Lao-jze' were associated together as 

Books of denoting the masters of Taoism, and the 
Awang-jze. ° 

phrase, ' the words of Hwang-Ti and Lao-jze, 

came to be no more than a name for the Tao Teh King. 
Gradually the two names were contracted into 'Hwang 
Lao/ as in the passage quoted on p. 6 from Pan Ku. 
After the Han dynasty, the name Hwang gave place to 
ATwang, and the names Lao ^Twang, and, sometimes in- 
verted, ./Twang Lao, were employed to denote the system 
or the texts of Taoism. In the account, for instance, of .£1 

1 A brother of Shih, Su Aeh (3ze-yu and Ying-pin), wrote a remarkable 
commentary on the T a o Te h K\ n g ; but it was Shih who first discredited those 
four Books, in his Inscription for the temple of Awang-jze, prepared in 1078. 

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Khang, in the nineteenth chapter of the Biographies of 3in, 
we have a typical Taoist brought before us. When grown 
up, ' he loved Lao and .Xwang ; ' and a visitor, to produce 
the most favourable impression on him, says, ' Lao-jze and 
ATwang A'au are my masters.' . 

9. The thirty-three Books of ^Twang-jze are divided 
into three Parts, called Nei, or 'the Inner ; ' Wai, or ' the 
Outer ;' and 3&, ' the Miscellaneous.' The first Part corn- 
Division of th prises seven Books ; the second, fifteen ; and 

Books into three the third, eleven. ' Inner ' may be under- 
stood as equivalent to esoteric or More Im- 
portant. The titles of the several Books are significant, 
and each expresses the subject or theme of its Book. 
They are believed to have been prefixed by ^Twang-jze 
himself, and that no alteration could be made in the com- 
position but for the worse. ' Outer ' is understood in the 
sense of supplementary or subsidiary. The fifteen Books 
so called are ' Wings ' to the previous seven. Their titles 
were not given by the author, and are not significant of 
the Taoistic truth which all the paragraphs unite, or should 
unite, in illustrating : they are merely some name or phrase 
taken from the commencement of the first paragraph in 
each Book, — like the names of the Books of the Confucian 
Analects, or of the Hebrew Pentateuch. The fixing them 
originally is generally supposed to have been the work of 
Kwo Hsiang. The eleven Miscellaneous Books are also 
supplementary to those of the first Part, and it is not easy 
to see why a difference was made between them and the 
fifteen that precede. 

10. A'wang-jze's writings have long been current under 
the name of Nan Hwa ATan King. He was a native of 
The general title the duch y of Sung, born in what was then 

of jfwang-jze's called the district of Mang, and belonged to 
the state or kingdom of Liang or Wei. As 
he grew up, he filled some official post in the city of Shi- 
yuan, — the site of which it is not easy to determine with 
certainty. In A.D. 742, the name of his birth-place was 
changed (but only for a time) to Nan-hwa, and an im- 
perial order was issued that ATwang-jze should thence- 

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forth be styled 'The True Man of Nan-hwa,' and his 
Book, 'The True Book of Nan-hwa 1 .' To be 'a True 
Man' is the highest Taoistic achievement of a man, and 
our author thus canonised communicates his glory to his 


What is the meaning of the name TAo? And 


i. The first translation of the Tao Teh King into a 

Western language was executed in Latin by some of the 

Meaning of the Roman Catholic missionaries, and a copy of 

name Tao. it was brought to England by a Mr. Matthew 
Raper, F. R. S., and presented by him to the Society at a 
meeting on the ioth January, 1788, — being the gift to him of 
P. Jos. de Grammont, ' Missionarius Apostolicus, ex-Jesuita.' 
In this version Tao is taken in the sense of Ratio, or the 
Supreme Reason of the Divine Being, the Creator and 

M. Abel Remusat, the first Professor of Chinese in Paris, 
does not seem to have been aware of the existence of the 
above version in London, but his attention was attracted to 
Lao's treatise about 1820, and, in 1823, he wrote of the 
character Tao, ' Ce mot me semble ne pas pouvoir etre 
bien traduit, si ce n'est par le mot Adyos dans le triple sens 
de souverain Etre, de raison, et de parole.' 

Remusat's successor in the chair of Chinese, the late 
Stanislas Julien, published in 184a a translation of the 
whole treatise. Having concluded from an examination of 
it, and the earliest Taoist writers, such as A'wang-jze, Ho- 
kwan 3ze, and Ho-shang Kung, that the Tao was devoid 
of action, of thought, of judgment, and of intelli- 
gence, he concluded that it was impossible to understand 
by it 'the Primordial Reason, or the Sublime Intelli- 
gence which created, and which governs the world,' and to 

1 See the Khang-hs! Thesaurus (^ ^fc {|f| JjfsJ'), under |j§ 

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this he subjoined the following note: — 'Quelque etrange 
que puisse paraltre cette idee de Lao-jze, elle n'est pas sans 
exemple dans l'histoire de la philosophic Le mot nature 
n'a-t-il pas eti employe par certains philosophes, que 
la religion et la raison condamnent, pour designer une 
cause premiere, egalement depourvue de pensee et d'in- 
telligence?' Julien himself did not doubt that Lao's idea 
of the character was that it primarily and properly meant 
'a way,' and hence he translated the title Tao Teh 
K\ng by 'Le Livre de la Voie et de la Vertu,' 
transferring at the same time the name Tao to the text 
of his version. 

The first English writer who endeavoured to give a dis- 
tinct account of Taoism was the late Archdeacon Hardwick, 
while he held the office of Christian Advocate in the Uni- 
versity of Cambridge. In his ' Christ and other Masters ' 
(vol. ii, p. 67), when treating of the religions of China, he 
says, ' I feel disposed to argue that the centre of the system 
founded by Lao-Jze had been awarded to some energy or 
power resembling the "Nature" of modern speculators. 
The indefinite expression Tao was adopted to denominate 
an abstract cause, or the initial principle of life and order, 
to which worshippers were able to assign the attributes of 
immateriality, eternity, immensity, invisibility.' 

It was, probably, Julien's reference in his note to the use 
of the term nature, which suggested to Hardwick his 
analogy between Lao-jze's Tao, and 'the Nature of modern 
speculation.' Canon Farrar has said, 'We have long per- 
sonified under the name of Nature the sum total of God's 
laws as observed in the physical world ; and now the notion 
of Nature as a distinct, living, independent entity seems to 
be ineradicable alike from our literature and our systems of 
philosophy 1 .' But it seems to me that this metaphorical 
or mythological use of the word nature for the Cause and 
Ruler of it, implies the previous notion of Him, that is, of 
God, in the mind. Does not this clearly appear in the 
words of Seneca? — 'Vis ilium (h.e. Jovem Deum) naturam 

1 Language and Languages, pp. 184, 185. 




vocare, non peccabis : — hie est ex quo nata sunt omnia, 
cujus spiritu vivimus V 

In his translation of the Works of -ATwang-jze in i88t, 
Mr. Balfour adopted Nature as the ordinary rendering of 
the Chinese Tao. He says, 'When the word is translated 
Way, it means the Way of Nature, — her processes, her 
methods, and her laws ; when translated Reason, it is the 
same as li, — the power that works in all created things, 
producing, preserving, and life-giving, — the intelligent prin- 
ciple of the world ; when translated Doctrine, it refers to 
the True doctrine respecting the laws and mysteries of 
Nature.' He calls attention also to the point that 'he uses 
Nature in the sense of Natura naturans, while the 
Chinese expression wan wu (= all things) denotes Natura 
naturata.' But this really comes to the metaphorical use 
of nature which has been touched upon above. It can 
claim as its patrons great names like those of Aquinas, 
Giordano Bruno, and Spinoza, but I have never been able 
to see that its barbarous phraseology makes it more than 
a figure of speech 2 . 

The term Nature, however, is so handy, and often fits 
so appropriately into a version, that if Tao had ever such 
a signification I should not hesitate to employ it as freely 
as Mr. Balfour has done ; but as it has not that signifi- 
cation, to try to put a non-natural meaning into it, only 
perplexes the mind, and obscures the idea of Lao-jze. 

Mr. Balfour himself says (p. xviii), ' The primary signifi- 
cation of Tao is simply "road."' Beyond question this 
meaning underlies the use of it by the great master of 
Taoism and by A'wang-jze 3 . Let the reader refer to the 
version of the twenty-fifth chapter of Lao's treatise, and to 

1 Natur. Quaest. lib. II, cap. xlv. 

2 Martineau's ' Types of Ethical Theory,' I, p. 286, and his whole ' Conjectural 
History of Spinoza's Thought.' 

3 >g is equivalent to the Greek 1} oS6s, the way. Where this name for the 
Christian system occurs in our Revised Version of the New Testament in the 
Acts of the Apostles, the literal rendering is adhered to, Way being printed with 
a capital W. See Acts ix. 2 ; xix. 9, 23 ; xxii. 4 ; xxiv. 14, 22. 

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the notes subjoined to it. There T do appears as the spon- 
taneously operating cause of all movement in the pheno- 
mena of the universe ; and the nearest the writer can come 
to a name for it is ' the Great Tao.' Having established this 
name, he subsequently uses it repeatedly; see chh. xxxiv 
and liii. In the third paragraph of his twentieth chapter, 
^Twang-jze uses a synonymous phrase instead of Lao's 
' Great Tao,' calling it the 'Great Thu,' about which there 
can be no dispute, as meaning ' the Great Path,' ' Way,' 
or ' Course V In the last paragraph of his twenty-fifth 
Book, A'wang-jze again sets forth the metaphorical origin 
of the name Tao. 'Tao,' he says, 'cannot be regarded as 
having a positive existence ; existences cannot be regarded 
as non-existent. The name Tao is a metaphor used for 
the purpose of description. To say that it exercises some 
causation, or that it does nothing, is speaking of it from the 
phase of a thing ; — how can such language serve as a de- 
signation of it in its greatness ? If words were sufficient 
for the purpose, we might in a day's time exhaust the sub- 
ject of the Tao. Words not being sufficient, we may talk 
about it the whole day, and the subject of discourse will 
only have been a thing. Tao is the extreme to which 
things conduct us. Neither speech nor silence is sufficient 
to convey the notion of it. When we neither speak nor 
refrain from speech, our speculations about it reach their 
highest point.' 

The Tao therefore is a phenomenon ; not a positive 
being, but a mode of being. Lao's idea of it may become 
plainer as we proceed to other points of his system. In 
the meantime, the best way of dealing with it in translating 
is to transfer it to the version, instead of trying to introduce 
an English equivalent for it. 

2. Next in importance to T a o is the name T h i e n, mean- 
ing at first the vaulted sky or the open firmament of heaven. 
In the Confucian Classics, and in the speech of the Chinese 

1 y'Z- ^P • ^ e Khang-hst dictionary defines thfi by lil, road or way. 
Medhurst gives ' road.' Unfortunately, both Morrison and Williams overlooked 
this definition of the character. Giles has also a note in 1 oc, showing how this 
synonym settles the original meaning of Tao in the sense of ' road.' 

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people, this name is used metaphorically as it is by our- 
Usageofthe selves for the Supreme Being, with reference 
termThien. especially to His will and rule. So it was 
that the idea of God arose among the Chinese fathers ; so 
it was that they proceeded to fashion a name for God, 
calling Him Ti, and Shang Ti, 'the Ruler,' and 'the 
Supreme Ruler.' The Taoist fathers found this among 
their people ; but in their idea of the Tao they had already 
a Supreme Concept which superseded the necessity of any 
other. The name Ti for God only occurs once in the Tao 
Teh ^Ting ; in the well-known passage of the fourth chapter, 
where, speaking of the Tao, Lao-jze says, ' I do not know 
whose Son it is ; it might seem to be before God.' 

Nor is the name Thien very common. We have the 
phrase, ' Heaven and Earth,' used for the two great con- 
stituents of the kosmos, owing their origin to the Tao, and 
also for a sort of binomial power, acting in harmony with 
the Tao, covering, protecting, nurturing, and maturing all 
things. Never once is Thien used in the sense of God, the 
Supreme Being. In its peculiarly Taoistic employment, 
it is more an adjective than a noun. ' The Tao of Heaven ' 
means the Tao that is Heavenly, the course that is quiet 
and undemonstrative, that is free from motive and effort, 
such as is seen in the processes of nature, grandly pro- 
ceeding and successful without any striving or crying. 
The Tao of man, not dominated by this Tao, is contrary 
to it, and shows will, purpose, and effort, till, submitting to 
it, it becomes ' the Tao or Way of the Sages,' which in all 
its action has no striving. 

The characteristics both of Heaven and man are dealt 
with more fully by A'wang than by Lao. In the conclusion 
of his eleventh Book, for instance, he says : — ' What do we 
mean by Tao ? There is the Tao (or Way) of Heaven, and 
there is the Tao of man. Acting without action, and yet 
attracting all honour, is the Way of Heaven. Doing and 
being embarrassed thereby is the Way of man. The Way 
of Heaven should play the part of lord ; the Way of man, 
the part of minister. The two are far apart, and should be 
distinguished from each other.' 

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In his next Book (par. 2), ^Twang-jze tells us what he 
intends by ' Heaven : ' — ' Acting without action, — this is 
what is called Heaven.' Heaven thus takes its law from 
the Tao. 'The oldest sages and sovereigns attained to do 
the same,' — it was for all men to aim at the same achieve- 
ment. As they were successful, 'vacancy, stillness, 
placidity, tastelessness, quietude, silence, and non-action' 
would be found to be their characteristics, and they would 
go on to the perfection of the Tao 1 . 

The employment of Thien by the Confucianists, as of 
Heaven by ourselves, must be distinguished therefore from 
the Taoistic use of the name to. denote the quiet but 
mighty influence of the impersonal Tao ; and to translate 
it by ' God ' only obscures the meaning of the Taoist 
writers. This has been done by Mr. Giles in his version of 
A"wang-jze, which is otherwise for the most part so good. 
Everywhere on his pages there appears the great name 
'God;' — a blot on his translation more painful to my eyes 
and ears than the use of ' Nature' for Tao by Mr. Balfour. 
I know that Mr. Giles's plan in translating is to use strictly 
English equivalents for all kinds of Chinese terms 2 . The 
plan is good where there are in the two languages such 
strict equivalents ; but in the case before us there is no 
ground for its application. The exact English equivalent 
for the Chinese thien is our heaven. The Confucianists 
often used thien metaphorically for the personal Being 
whom they denominated TI (God) and Shang Ti (the 
Supreme God), and a translator may occasionally, in 
working on books of Confucian literature, employ our name 
God for it. But neither Lao nor A!\vang ever attached 
anything like our idea of God to it ; and when one, in 
working on books of early Taoist literature, translates 
thien by God, such a rendering must fail to produce in 
an English reader a correct apprehension of the meaning. 

There is also in iTwang-jze a peculiar usage of the name 
Thien. He applies it to the Beings whom he introduces as 

1 The Tao Teh A'ing, ch. 25, and Awang-jze, XIII, par. I. 

* See ' Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio,' vol. i, p. 1, note 2. 

[39] C 

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Masters of the Tao, generally with mystical 

Peculiar usage ... . , r . i 1 • 

ofThienin appellations in order to set forth his own 
Awang-jze. views Two instances from Book XI will 
suffice in illustration of this. In par. 4, Hwang-Ti does 
reverence to his instructor Kwang KMng-$ze \ saying, ' In 
Kwang AT/^ang-jze we have an example of what is called 
Heaven,' which Mr. Giles renders ' Kwang KMng 3 ze 1S 
surely God.' In par. 5, again, the mystical Yun-£iang is 
made to say to the equally fabulous and mystical Hung- 
mung, 'O Heaven, have you forgotten me?' and, farther 
on, ' O Heaven, you have conferred on me (the knowledge 
of) your operation, and revealed to me the mystery of it ;' 
in both which passages Mr. Giles renders thien by 'your 

But Mr. Giles seems to agree with me that the old 
Taoists had no idea of a personal God, when they wrote of 

., .... , Thien or Heaven. On his sixty- eighth page, 

Mr. Giles s own ' ° , 

idea of the near the beginning of Book VI, we meet with 
name'"God' h as tne following sentence, having every appear- 
the equivalent of ance of being translated from the Chinese 
text : — ' God is a principle which exists by 
virtue of its own intrinsicality, and operates without self- 
manifestation.' By an inadvertence he has introduced his 
own definition of ' God ' as if it were ATwang-jze's ; and 
though I can find no characters in the text of which I 
can suppose that he intends it to be the translation, it is 
valuable as helping us to understand the meaning to be 
attached to the Great Name in his volume. 

I have referred above (p. 16) to the only passage in Lao's 

treatise, where he uses the name Ti or God in its highest 

The relation of sense, saying that ' the Tao might seem to 

the Tao to Ti. have been b e f ore Him.' He might well say 

so, for in his first chapter he describes the Tao, ' (conceived 
of as) having no name, as the Originator of heaven and 

1 Kwang A^ang-jze heads the list of characters in Ko Hung's ' History of 
Spirit-like Immortals (lljffl 1|J| tS).' written in our fourth century. ' He 
was,' it is said, ' an Immortal of old, who lives on the hill of M'ung-thung 
in a grotto of rocks.' 

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earth, and (conceived of as) having a name, as the Mother 
of all things.' The reader will also find the same predicates 
of the Tao at greater length in his fifty-first chapter. 

The character T i is also of rare occurrence in ATwang-jze, 
excepting as applied to the five ancient Tis. In Bk. Ill, 
par. 4, and in one other place, we find it indicating the 
Supreme Being, but the usage is ascribed to the ancients. 
In Bk. XV, par. 3, in a description of the human SPIRIT, 
its name is said to be ' Thung Ti,' which Mr. Giles renders 
1 Of God ; ' Mr. Balfour, ' One with God ; ' while my own 
version is ' The Divinity in Man.' In Bk. XII, par. 6, we 
have the expression ' the place of God ; ' in Mr. Giles, ' the 
kingdom of God ;' in Mr. Balfour, ' the home of God.' In 
this and the former instance, the character seems to be used 
with the ancient meaning which had entered into the folk- 
lore of the people. But in Bk. VI, par. 7, there is a passage 
which shows clearly the relative position of Tao and Ti in 
the Taoistic system ; and having called attention to it, I will 
go on to other points. Let the reader mark well the follow- 
ing predicates of the Tao : — ' Before there were heaven and 
earth, from of old, there It was, securely existing. From It 
came the mysterious existence of spirits ; from It the 
mysterious existence of Ti (God). It produced heaven, 
It produced earth 1 .' This says more than the utterance of 
Lao, — that 'the Tao seemed to be before God;'— does it 
not say that Tao was before God, and that He was what 
He is by virtue of Its operation ? 

3. Among the various personal names given to the Tao 

NoideaofCrea- are those of 3ao Hwa, 'Maker and Trans- 

tion proper in former,' and 3 £0 Wu K&, ' Maker of things.' 

aoism. Instances of both these names are found in Bk. 

VI, parr. 9,10. ' Creator ' and ' God ' have both been employed 

for them ; but there is no idea of Creation in Taoism. 

Again and again .Afwang-jze entertains the question of 

1 For this sentence we find in Mr. Balfour :— ' Spirits of the dead, receiving 
It, become divine ; the very gods themselves owe their divinity to its influence ; 
and by it both Heaven and Earth were produced.' The version of it by 
Mr. Giles is too condensed : — ' Spiritual beings drew their spirituality there- 
from, while the universe became what we see it now.' 

C 2 

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how it was at the first beginning of things. Different views 
are stated. In Bk. II, par. 4, he says : — ' Among the men 
of old their knowledge reached the extreme point. What 
was that extreme point ? 

' Some held that at first there was not anything. This 
is the extreme point, — the utmost limit to which nothing 
can be added. 

'A second class held that there was something, but with- 
out any responsive recognition of it (on the part of man). 

'A third class held that there was such recognition, but 
there had not begun to be any expression of different 
opinions about it. It was through the definite expression 
of different opinions about it that there ensued injury to 
the (doctrine of the) Tao 1 . 1 

The first of these three views was that which ^Twang-jze 
himself preferred. The most condensed expression of it is 
given in Bk. XII, par. 8 : — ' In the Grand Beginning of all 
things there was nothing in all the vacancy of space ; there 
was nothing that could be named 2 . It was in this state 
that there arose the first existence ; the first existence, but 
still without bodily shape. From this things could be pro- 
duced, (receiving) what we call their several characters. 
That which had no bodily shape was divided, and then 
without intermission there was what we call the process of 
conferring. (The two processes) continued to operate, and 
things were produced. As they were completed, there 
appeared the distinguishing lines of each, which we call the 
bodily shape. That shape was the body preserving in it 
the spirit, and each had its peculiar manifestation which 
we call its nature.' 

Such was the genesis of things ; the formation of heaven 

1 Compare also Bk. XXII, parr. 7, 8, and XXIII, par. 10. 

1 Mr. Balfour had given for this sentence : — ' In the beginning of all things 
there was not even nothing. There were no names; these arose afterwards.' 
In his critique on Mr. Balfour's version in 1882, Mr. Giles proposed : — ' At the 
beginning of all things there was nothing ; but this nothing had no name.' He 
now in his own version gives for it, ' At the beginning of the beginning, even 
nothing did not exist. Then came the period of the nameless ; ' — an improve- 
ment, certainly, on the other ; but which can hardly be accepted as the correct 
version of the text. 

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and earth and all that in them is, under the guidance of 
the Tclo. It was an evolution and not a creation. How 
the Tao itself came, — I do not say into existence, but 
into operation, — neither Lao nor ./Twang ever thought of 
saying anything about. We have seen that it is nothing 
material 1 . It acted spontaneously of itself. Its sudden 
appearance in the field of non-existence, Producer, Trans- 
former, Beautifier, surpasses my comprehension. To Lao 
it seemed to be before God. I am compelled to accept 
the existence of God, as the ultimate Fact, bowing before 
it with reverence, and not attempting to explain it, the 
one mystery, the sole mystery of the universe. 

4. ' The bodily shape was the body preserving in it the 
spirit, and each had its peculiar manifestation which we 
call its nature.' So it is said in the passage quoted above 
from ./Twang-jze's twelfth Book, and the language shows 
., . , how Taoism, in a loose and indefinite way, 

Man is composed «• 1 

of body and considered man to be composed of body and 
spmt ' spirit, associated together, yet not necessarily 

dependent on each other. Little is found bearing on this 
tenet in the Tao Teh King. The concluding sentence 
of ch. 33, ' He who dies and yet does not perish, has lon- 
gevity,' is of doubtful acceptation. More pertinent is the 
description of life as ' a coming forth,' and of death as ' an 
entering 2 ;' but A'wang-jze expounds more fully, though 
after all unsatisfactorily, the teaching of their system on 
the subject. 

At the conclusion of his third Book, writing of the death 
of Lao-jze, he says, ' When the master came, it was at the 
proper time; when he went away, it was the simple se- 
quence (of his coming). Quiet acquiescence in what happens 
at its proper time, and quietly submitting (to its sequence), 
afford no occasion for grief or for joy. The ancients de- 
scribed (death) as the loosening of the cord on which God 
suspended (the life). What we can point to are the faggots 
that have been consumed ; but the fire is transmitted else- 
where, and we know not that it is over and ended.' 

1 The Tao Teh -STing, ch. 14; et al. 2 Ch. 50. 

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It is, however, in connexion with the death of his own 
wife, as related in the eighteenth Book, that his views most 
fully — I do not say 'clearly' — appear. We are told that 
when that event took place, his friend Hui-jze went to con- 
dole with him, and found him squatted on the ground, 
drumming on the vessel (of ice), and singing. His friend 
said to him, 'When a wife has lived with her husband, 
brought up children, and then dies in her old age, not to 
wail for her is enough. When you go on to drum on the 
vessel and sing, is it not an excessive (and strange) demon- 
stration?' i^wang-jze replied, 'It is not so. When she 
first died, was it possible for me to be singular, and not 
affected by the event ? But I reflected on the commence- 
ment of her being, when she had not yet been born to life. 
Not only had she no life, but she had no bodily form. Not 
only had she no bodily form, but she had no breath. 
Suddenly in this chaotic condition there ensued a change, 
and there was breath ; another change, and there was the 
bodily form ; a further change, and she was born to life ; 
a change now again, and she is dead. The relation be- 
tween those changes is like the procession of the four 
seasons, — spring, autumn, winter, and summer. There she 
lies with her face up, sleeping in the Great Chamber 1 ; and 
if I were to fall sobbing and going on to wail for her, 
I should think I did not understand what was appointed 
for all. I therefore restrained myself.' 

The next paragraph of the same Book contains another 
story about two ancient men, both deformed, who, when 
looking at the graves on Kwan-lun, begin to feel in their 
own frames the symptoms of approaching dissolution. One 
says to the other, ' Do you dread it ? ' and gets the reply, 
' No. Why should I dread it ? Life is a borrowed thing. 
The living frame thus borrowed is but so much dust. Life 
and death are like day and night.' 

In every birth, it would thus appear, there is, somehow, 
a repetition of what it is said, as we have seen, took place 
at ' the Grand Beginning of all things,' when out of the 

1 That is, between heaven and earth. 

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primal nothingness, the Tao somehow appeared, and there 
was developed through its operation the world of things, — 
material things and the material body of man, which en- 
shrines or enshrouds an immaterial spirit. This returns 
to the Tao that gave it, and may be regarded indeed as 
that Tao operating in the body during the time of life, and 
in due time receives a new embodiment. 

In these notions of Taoism there was a preparation for 
the appreciation by its followers of the Buddhistic system 
when it came to be introduced into the country, and which 
forms a close connexion between the two at the present 
day, Taoism itself constantly becoming less definite and 
influential on the minds of the Chinese people. The Book 
which tells us of the death of ^Twang-jze's wife concludes 
with a narrative about Lieh-jze and an old bleached skull 1 , 
and to this is appended a passage about the metamorphoses 
of things, ending with the statement that ' the panther pro- 
duces the horse, and the horse the man, who then again 
enters into the great machinery (of evolution), from which 
all things come forth (at birth) and into which they re-enter 
(at death).' Such representations need not be charac- 

5. Ku Hsi, ' the prince of Literature,' described the main 

object of Taoism to be 'the preservation of the breath of 

„ s life ;' and Liu Mi, probably of our thirteenth 

promotive of century 2 , in his ' Dispassionate Comparison 
longevity. of the Three Rel j gionS) ' declares that ' its 

chief achievement is the prolongation of longevity.' Such 
is the account of Taoism ordinarily given by Confucian and 
Buddhist writers, but our authorities, Lao and ./Twang, 
hardly bear out this representation of it as true of their 
time. There are chapters of the Tao Teh King which 

1 Quoted in the Amplification of the Sixteen Precepts or Maxims of the 
second emperor of the present dynasty by his son. The words are from 
Dr. Milne's version of ' the Sacred Edict,' p. 137. 

2 In his Index to the Tripi/aka, Mr. Bunyio Nanjio (p. 359) assigns Liu Mi 
and his work to the Yuan dynasty. In a copy of the work in my possession 
they are assigned to that of Sung. The author, no doubt, lived under both 
dynasties, — from the Sung into the Yuan. 

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presuppose a peculiar management of the breath, but the 
treatise is singularly free from anything to justify what Mr. 
Balfour well calls 'the antics of the Kung-fu, or system of 
mystic and recondite calisthenics V Lao insists, however, 
on the Tao as conducive to long life, and in .ffwang-jze we 
have references to it as a discipline of longevity, though 
even he mentions rather with disapproval ' those who kept 
blowing and breathing with open mouth, inhaling and 
exhaling the breath, expelling the old and taking in new ; 
passing their time like the (dormant) bear, and stretching 
and twisting (their necks) like birds.' He says that 'all 
this simply shows their desire for longevity, and is what 
the scholars who manage the breath, and men who nourish 
the body and wish to live as long as Phang-ju, are fond of 
doing 2 .' My own opinion is that the methods of the Tao 
were first cultivated for the sake of the longevity which 
they were thought to promote, and that Lao, discoun- 
tenancing such a use of them, endeavoured to give the 
doctrine a higher character ; and this view is favoured by 
passages in A'wang-jze. In the seventh paragraph, for 
instance, of his Book VI, speaking of parties who had ob- 
tained the Tao, he begins with a prehistoric sovereign, who 
' got it and by it adjusted heaven and earth.' Among his 
other instances is Phang-ju, who got it in the time of Shun, 
and lived on to the time of the five leading princes of Kslu, 
— a longevity of more than 1800 years, greater than that 
ascribed to Methuselah ! In the paragraph that follows 
there appears a Nil Yii, who is addressed by another famous 
Taoist in the words, 'You are old, Sir, while your com- 
plexion is like that of a child ; — how is it so ? ' and the 
reply is, ' I became acquainted with the Tao.' 

I will adduce only one more passage of isfwang. In his 
eleventh Book, and the fourth paragraph, he tells us of 
interviews between Hwang-Ti, in the nineteenth year of his 
reign, which would be B. c. 2679, and his instructor Kwang 
isTMng-jze. The Taoist sage is not readily prevailed on 

1 See note on p. 187 of his .ffwang-jze. 
1 See Bk. XV, par. I. 

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to unfold the treasures of his knowledge to the sovereign, 
but at last his reluctance is overcome, and he says to him, 
' Come, and I will tell you about the Perfect Tao. Its 
essence is surrounded with the deepest obscurity ; its 
highest reach is in darkness and silence. There is nothing 
to be seen, nothing to be heard. When it holds the spirit 
in its arms in stillness, then the bodily form will of itself 
become correct. You must be still, you must be pure ; 
not subjecting your body to toil, not agitating your vital 
force : — then you may live for long. When your eyes see 
nothing, your ears hear nothing, and your mind knows 
nothing, your spirit will keep your body, and the body will 
live long. Watch over what is within you ; shut up the 
avenues that connect you with what is external ; — much 
knowledge is pernicious. I will proceed with you to the 
summit of the Grand Brilliance, where we come to the 
bright and expanding (element) ; I will enter with you the 
gate of the dark and depressing element. There heaven 
and earth have their Controllers; there the Yin and 
Yang have their Repositories. Watch over and keep 
your body, and all things will of themselves give it vigour. 
I maintain the (original) unity (of these elements). In 
this way I have cultivated myself for iaoo years, and 
my bodily form knows no decay.' Add 1200 to 2679, 
and we obtain 3879 as the year B.C. of Kwang K/iang- 
jze's birth ! 

6. Lao-jze describes some other and kindred results of 
cultivating the Tao in terms which are sufficiently startling, 
Startling results and which it is difficult to accept. In his 
of the Tao. fiftieth chapter he says, ' He who is skilful in 
managing his life travels on land without having to shun 
rhinoceros or tiger, and enters a host without having to 
avoid buff coat or sharp weapon. The rhinoceros finds no 
place in him into which to thrust its horn, nor the tiger a 
place in which to fix its claws, nor the weapon a place to 
admit its point. And for what reason ? Because there is 
in him no place of death.' To the same effect he says in 
his fifty-fifth chapter, ' He who has in himself abundantly 
the attributes (of the Tao) is like an infant. Poisonous 

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insects will not sting him ; fierce beasts will not seize him ; 
birds of prey will not strike him.' 

Such assertions startle us by their contrariety to our 
observation and experience, but so does most of the teaching 
of Taoism. What can seem more absurd than the declara- 
tion that 'the Tao does nothing, and so there is nothing 
that it does not do ? ' And yet this is one of the fundamental 
axioms of the system. The thirty-seventh chapter, which 
enunciates it, goes on to say, ' If princes and kings were 
able to maintain (the Tao), all things would of themselves 
be transformed by them.' This principle, if we can call it 
so, is generalised in the fortieth, one of the shortest chapters, 
and partly in rhyme : — 

'The movement of the Tao 
By contraries proceeds ; 
And weakness marks the course 
Of Tao's mighty deeds. 

All things under heaven sprang from it as existing (and 
named) ; that existence sprang from it as non-existent 
(and not named).' 

Ho-shang Kung, or whoever gave their names to the 
chapters of the Tao Teh King, styles this fortieth chapter 
' Dispensing with the use (of means).' If the wish to use 
means arise in the mind, the nature of the Tao as ' the 
Nameless Simplicity' has been vitiated; and this nature 
is celebrated in lines like those just quoted : — 

' Simplicity without a name 
Is free from all external aim. 
With no desire, at rest and still, 
All things go right, as of their will.' 

I do not cull any passages from AVang-jze to illustrate 
these points. In his eleventh Book his subject is Govern- 
ment by 'Let-a-be and the exercise of Forbearance.' 
7. This Tao ruled men at first, and then the world was 
in a paradisiacal state. Neither of our authorities tells us 
The paradisiacal how long this condition lasted, but as Lao 
state. observes in his eighteenth chapter, 'the Tao 

ceased to be observed.' ATwang-jze, however, gives us 

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more than one description of what he considered the para- 
disiacal state was. He calls it ' the age of Perfect Virtue.' 
In the thirteenth paragraph of his twelfth Book he says, 
' In this age, they attached no value to wisdom, nor employed 
men of ability. Superiors were (but) as the higher branches 
of a tree ; and the people were like the deer of the wild. 
They were upright and correct, without knowing that to 
be so was Righteousness ; they loved one another, without 
knowing that to do so was Benevolence ; they were honest 
and leal-hearted, without knowing that it was Loyalty ; 
they fulfilled their engagements, without knowing that to 
do so was Good Faith ; in their movements they employed 
the services of one another, without thinking that they were 
conferring or receiving any gift. Therefore their actions 
left no trace, and there was no record of their affairs.' 

Again, in the fourth paragraph of his tenth Book, address- 
ing an imaginary interlocutor, he says, 'Are you, Sir, un- 
acquainted with the age of Perfect Virtue ? ' He then gives 
the names of twelve sovereigns who ruled in it, of the 
greater number of whom we have no other means of know- 
ing anything, and goes on : — Tn their times the people used 
knotted cords in carrying on their business. They thought 
their (simple) food pleasant, and their (plain) clothing 
beautiful. They were happy in their (simple) manners, 
and felt at rest in their (poor) dwellings. (The people of) 
neighbouring states might be able to descry one another ; 
the voices of their cocks and dogs might be heard from 
one to the other ; they might not die till they were old ; 
and yet all their life they would have no communication 
together. In those times perfect good order prevailed.' 

One other description of the primeval state is still more 
interesting. It is in the second paragraph of Bk. IX : — 
' The people had their regular and constant nature : — they 
wove and made themselves clothes ; they tilled the ground 
and got food. This was their common faculty. They were 
all one in this, and did not form themselves into separate 
classes ; so were they constituted and left to their natural 
tendencies. Therefore in the age of Perfect Virtue men 
walked along with slow and grave step, and with their 

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looks steadily directed forwards. On the hills there were 
no footpaths nor excavated passages ; on the lakes there 
were no boats nor dams. All creatures lived in companies, 
and their places of settlement were made near to one 
another. Birds and beasts multiplied to flocks and herds ; 
the grass and trees grew luxuriant and long. The birds 
and beasts might be led about without feeling the con- 
straint ; the nest of the magpie might be climbed to, and 
peeped into. Yes, in the age of Perfect Virtue, men lived 
in common with birds and beasts, and were on terms of 
equality with all creatures, as forming one family; — how 
could they know among themselves the distinctions of 
superior men and small men ? Equally without knowledge, 
they did not leave the path of their natural virtue ; equally 
free from desires, they were in the state of pure simplicity. 
In that pure simplicity, their nature was what it ought 
to be.' 

Such were the earliest Chinese of whom ATwang-jze 
could venture to give any account. If ever their ancestors 
had been in a ruder or savage condition, it must have 
been at a much antecedent time. These had long passed 
out of such a state ; they were tillers of the ground, and 
acquainted with the use of the loom. They lived in happy 
relations with one another, and in kindly harmony with the 
tribes of inferior creatures. But there is not the slightest 
allusion to any sentiment of piety as animating them indi- 
vidually, or to any ceremony of religion as observed by 
them in common. This surely is a remarkable feature in 
their condition. I call attention to it, but I do not dwell 
upon it. 

8. But by the time of Lao and Kwang the cultivation of 
the Tao had fallen into disuse. The simplicity of life 
which it demanded, with its freedom from 
T Tfo d Sore f the e a11 disturbing speculation and action, was no 
growth of longer to be found in individuals or in govern- 
now e ge. ment j t was t jj e general decay of manners 

and of social order which unsettled the mind of Lao, made 
him resign his position as a curator of the Royal Library, 
and determine to withdraw from China and hide himself 

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among the rude peoples beyond it. The cause of the de- 
terioration of the Tao and of all the evils of the nation 
was attributed to the ever-growing pursuit of knowledge, 
and of what we call the arts of culture. It had commenced 
very long before; — in the time of Hwang-Ti, JTwang says 
in one place 1 ; and in another he carries it still higher to 
Sui-zan and Fu-hsi 2 . There had been indeed, all along 
the line of history, a groping for the rules of life, as indi- 
cated by the constitution of man's nature. The results 
were embodied in the ancient literature which was the life- 
long study of Confucius. He had gathered up that litera- 
ture ; he recognised the nature of man as the gift of Heaven 
or God. The monitions of God as given in the convictions 
of man's mind supplied him with a Tao or Path of duty 
very different from the Tao or Mysterious Way of Lao. 
All this was gall and wormwood to the dreaming librarian 
or brooding recluse, and made him say, ' If we could re- 
nounce our sageness and discard our wisdom, it would be 
better for the people a hundredfold. If we could renounce 
our benevolence and discard our righteousness, the people 
would again become filial and kindly. If we could re- 
nounce our artful contrivances and discard our (scheming 
for) gain, there would be no thieves nor robbers 3 .' 

We can laugh at this. Taoism was wrong in its opposi- 
tion to the increase of knowledge. Man exists under a law 
of progress. In pursuing it there are demanded discretion 
and justice. Moral ends must rule over material ends, and 
advance in virtue be ranked higher than advance in science. 
So have good and evil, truth and error, to fight out the 
battle on the field of the world, and in all the range of 
time ; but there is no standing still for the individual or 
for society. Even Confucius taught his countrymen to set 
too high a value on the examples of antiquity. The school 
of Lao-jze fixing themselves in an unknown region beyond 
antiquity, — a prehistoric time between ' the Grand Begin- 
ning of all things ' out of nothing, and the unknown com- 
mencement of societies of men, — has made no advance 

1 Bk. XI, par. 5. a Bk. XVI, par. 2. 

3 Tao Teh A'ing, ch. iy. 

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but rather retrograded, and is represented by the still more 
degenerate Taoism of the present day. 

There is a short parabolic story of ATwang-jze, intended 
to represent the antagonism between Taoism and know- 
ledge, which has always struck me as curious. The last 
paragraph of his seventh Book is this : — ' The Ruler (or 
god Ti)ofthe Southern Ocean was Shu (that is, Heedless); 
the Ruler of the Northern Ocean was H u (that is, Hasty) ; 
and the Ruler of the Centre was Hwun-tun (that is, 
Chaos). Shu and Hii were continually meeting in the land 
of Hwun-tun, who treated them very well. They con- 
sulted together how they might repay his kindness, and 
said, "Men have all seven orifices for the purposes of seeing, 
hearing, eating, and breathing, while this (poor) Ruler alone 
has not one. Let us try and make them for him." Ac- 
cordingly they dug one orifice in him every day ; and at 
the end of seven days Chaos died.' 

So it was that Chaos passed away before Light. So did 
the nameless Simplicity of the Tao disappear before Know- 
ledge. But it was better that the Chaos should give place 
to the Kosmos. ' Heedless ' and ' Hasty ' did a good deed. 

9. I have thus set forth eight characteristics of the Tao- 
istic system, having respect mostly to what is peculiar and 
mystical in it. I will now conclude my exhibition of it by 

The r tical bringing together under one head the prac- 

lessons of tical lessons of its author for men individually, 

a °-J ze - an( j f or the administration of government. 

The praise of whatever excellence these possess belongs to 

Lao himself: ^Twang-jze devotes himself mainly to the 

illustration of the abstruse and difficult points. 

First, it does not surprise us that in his rules for individual 

man, Lao should place Humility in the foremost place. A 

favourite illustration with him of the T a o is water. In his 

eighth chapter he says : — ' The highest excel- 
Humility. ,.,.,, ; ~, ,, 

lence is like that of water. The excellence 
of water appears in its benefiting all things, and in its 
occupying, without striving to the contrary, the low ground 
which all men dislike. Hence (its way) is near to that 
of the Tao.' To the same effect in the seventy-eighth 

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chapter: — 'There is nothing in the world more soft and 
weak than water, and yet for attacking things that are 
firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence 
of it. Every one in the world knows that the soft over- 
comes the hard, and the weak the strong ; but no one is 
able to carry it out in practice.' 

In his sixty-seventh chapter Lao associates with Humility 
two other virtues, and calls them his three Precious Things or 

Lao's three Jewels. They are Gentleness, Economy, and 

Jewels. Shrinking from taking precedence of others. 

' With that Gentleness,' he says, ' I can be bold ; with that 

Economy I can be liberal ; Shrinking from taking precedence 

of others, I can become a vessel of the highest honour.' 

And in his sixty-third chapter, he rises to a still loftier 
height of morality. He says, '(It is the way of the Tao) 
to act without (thinking of) acting, to conduct affairs with- 
out (feeling) the trouble of them ; to taste without discern- 
ing any flavour, to consider the small as great, 

Ren fo e revil S ° 0d and the few as man y> and to recompense 
injury with kindness.' 

Here is the grand Christian precept, ' Render to no man 
evil for evil. If thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, 
give him drink. Be not overcome with evil, but overcome 
evil with good.' We know that the maxim made some 
noise in its author's lifetime ; that the disciples of Confucius 
consulted him about it, and that he was unable to receive 
it 1 . It comes in with less important matters by virtue of 
the Taoistic 'rule of contraries.' I have been sur- 
prised to find what little reference to it I have met with in 
the course of my Chinese reading. I do not think that 
iTwang-jze takes notice of it to illustrate it after his fashion. 
There, however, it is in the Tao Teh King. The fruit of 
it has yet to be developed. 

Second, Lao laid down the same rule for the policy of 
the state as for the life of the individual. He says in his 
sixty-first chapter, 'What makes a state great is its being 
like a low-lying, down-flowing stream ; — it becomes the 

1 Confucian Analects, XIV, 36. 

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centre to which tend all (the small states) under heaven.' 
He then uses an illustration which will produce a smile : — 
'Take the case of all females. The female always over- 
comes the male by her stillness. Stillness may be con- 
sidered (a sort of) abasement.' Resuming his subject, he 
adds, ' Thus it is that a great state, by condescending to 
small states, gains them for itself; and that small states, 
by abasing themselves to a great state, win it over to them. 
In the one case the abasement tends to gaining adherents ; 
in the other case, to procuring favour. The great state 
only wishes to unite men together and nourish them ; a 
small state only wishes to be received by, and to serve, 
the other. Each gets what it desires, but the great state 
must learn to abase itself.' 

' All very well in theory,' some one will exclaim, ' but, 
the world has not seen it yet reduced to practice.' So it is. 
The fact is deplorable. No one saw the misery arising 
from it, and exposed its unreasonableness more unsparingly, 
than ATwang-jze. But it was all in vain in his time, as it 
has been in all the centuries that have since rolled their 
course. Philosophy, philanthropy, and religion have still 
to toil on, ' faint, yet pursuing,' believing that the time will 
yet come when humility and love shall secure the reign of 
peace and good will among the nations of men. 

While enjoining humility, Lao protested against war. 
In his thirty-first chapter he says, ' Arms, however beau- 
tiful, are instruments of evil omen ; hateful, it may be said, 
to all creatures. They who have the Tao do not like to 
employ them.' Perhaps in his sixty-ninth chapter he allows 
defensive war, but he adds, ' There is no calamity greater 
than that of lightly engaging in war. To do that is near 
losing the gentleness which is so precious. Thus it is that 
when weapons are (actually) crossed, he who deplores the 
(situation) conquers.' 

There are some other points in the practical lessons of 
Taoism to which I should like to call the attention of the 
reader, but I must refer him for them to the chapters of 
the Tao Teh isTing, and the Books of JsTwang-jze. Its 
salient features have been set forth somewhat fully. Not- 

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withstanding the scorn poured so freely on Confucius by 
Afwang-jze and other Taoist writers, he proved in the 
course of time too strong for Lao as the teacher of their 
people. The entrance of Buddhism, moreover, into the 
country in our first century, was very injurious to Taoism, 
which still exists, but is only the shadow of its former self. 
It is tolerated by the government, but not patronised as it 
was when emperors and empresses seemed to think more 
of it than of Confucianism. It is by the spread of know- 
ledge, which it has always opposed, that its overthrow and 
disappearance will be brought about ere long. 


Accounts of LAo-sze and -&Twang-3ze given 
by Sze-ma Kmw. 

It seems desirable, before passing from L&o and 
/Twang in this Introduction, to give a place in it to 
what is said about them by Sze-ma K/iien. I have 
said that not a single proper name occurs in the Tao 
Teh iHng. There is hardly an historical allusion in it. 
Only one chapter, the twentieth, has somewhat of an 
autobiographical character. It tells us, however, of no 
incidents of his life. He appears alone in the world through 
his cultivation of the Tao, melancholy and misunderstood, 
yet binding that Tao more closely to his bosom. 

The Books of ifwang-jze are of a different nature, 
abounding in pictures of Taoist life, in anecdotes and 
narratives, graphic, argumentative, often satirical. But 
they are not historical. Confucius and many of his dis- 
ciples, Lao and members of his school, heroes and sages 
of antiquity, and men of his own day, move across his 
pages ; but the incidents in connexion with which they 
are introduced are probably fictitious, and devised by him 
' to point his moral or adorn his tale.' His names of 
individuals and places are often like those of Bunyan in 
his Pilgrim's Progress or his Holy War, emblematic 
of their characters and the doctrines which he employs 

[39] D 

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them to illustrate. He often comes on the stage himself, 
and there is an air of verisimilitude in his descriptions, 
possibly also a certain amount of fact about them ; but we 
cannot appeal to them as historical testimony. It is only 
to Sze-ma Kh'i&n that we can go for this ; he always writes 
in the spirit of an historian ; but what he has to tell us of 
the two men is not much. 

And first, as to his account of Lao-jze. When he 
wrote, about the beginning of the first century B.C., the 
Taoist master was already known as Lao-jze. Khizn, how- 
ever, tells us that his surname was Lf, and his name R, 
meaning 'Ear,' which gave place after his death to Tan, 
meaning ' Long-eared,' from which we may conclude that 
he was named from some peculiarity in the form of his 
ears. He was a native of the state of Kh\x, which had 
then extended far beyond its original limits, and his 
birth-place was in the present province of Ho-nan or of 
An-hui. He was a curator in the Royal Library ; and when 
Confucius visited the capital in the year B.C. 517, the two 
men met. KMea says that Confucius's visit to Lo-yang was 
that he might question Lao on the subject of ceremonies. 
He might have other objects in mind as well ; but however 
that was, the two met. LI said to Khung, ' The men about 
whom you talk are dead, and their bones are mouldered to 
dust ; only their words are left. Moreover, when the superior 
man gets his opportunity, he mounts aloft ; but when the 
time is against him, he is carried along by the force of 
circumstances *. I have heard that a good merchant, 
though he have rich treasures safely stored, appears as if 
he were poor; and that the superior man, though his 
virtue be complete, is yet to outward seeming stupid. 
Put away your proud air and many desires, your in- 
sinuating habit and wild will. They are of no advantage 
to you ; — this is all I have to tell you.' Confucius is made 
to say to his disciples after the interview : ' I know how 

1 Julien translates this by 'il erre a l'aventure.' In 1861 I rendered it, ' He 
moves as if his feet were entangled.' To one critic it suggests the idea of a 
bundle or wisp of brushwood rolled about over the ground by the wind. 

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birds can fly, fishes swim, and animals run. But the 
runner may be snared, the swimmer hooked, and the 
flyer shot by the arrow. But there is the dragon: — I 
cannot tell how he mounts on the wind through the clouds, 
and rises to heaven. To-day I have seen Lao-jze, and can 
only compare him to the dragon.' 

In this speech of Confucius we have, I believe, the origin 
of the name Lao-jze, as applied to the master of Taoism. 
Its meaning is ' The Old Philosopher,' or ' The Old Gen- 
tleman 1 .' Confucius might well so style Li R. At the 
time of this interview he was himself in his thirty-fifth 
year, and the other was in his eighty-eighth. Khiea. adds, 
'Lao-jze cultivated the Tao and its attributes, the chief 
aim of his studies being how to keep himself concealed 
and remain unknown. He continued to reside at (the 
capital of) K&u, but after a long time, seeing the decay 
of the dynasty, he left it and went away to the barrier- 
gate, leading out of the kingdom on the north-west. 
Yin Hsi, the warden of the gate, said to him, "You are 
about to withdraw yourself out of sight. Let me insist 
on your (first) composing for me a book." On this, Lao-jze 
wrote a book in two parts, setting forth his views on the 
Tao and its attributes, in more than 5000 characters. He 
then went away, and it is not known where he died. He 
was a superior man, who liked to keep himself unknown.' 

KMen finally traces Lao's descendants down to the first 
century B.C., and concludes by saying, ' Those who attach 
themselves to the doctrine of Lao-jze condemn that of 
the Literati, and the Literati on their part condemn Lao- 
jze, verifying the saying, " Parties whose principles are 
different cannot take counsel together." Lt R taught that 
by doing nothing others are as a matter of course trans- 

1 The characters may mean ' the old boy,' and so nnderstood have given rise 
to various fabulous legends ; that his mother had carried him in her womb for 
seventy-two years (some say, for eighty-one), and that when bom the child had 
the white hair of an old man. Julien has translated the fabulous legend of 
Ko Hung of our fourth century about him. By that time the legends of 
Buddhism about .Sakyamuni had become current in China, and were copied and 
applied to Lao-jze by h is followers. Looking at the meaning of the two names, 
I am surprised no one has characterized Lao-jze as the Chinese Seneca. 

D 2 

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formed, and that rectification in the same way ensues from 
being pure and still.' 

This morsel is all that we have of historical narrative 
about Lao-jze. The account of the writing of the Tao 
Teh A'ing at the request of the warden of the barrier-gate 
has a doubtful and legendary appearance. Otherwise, the 
record is free from anything to raise suspicion about it. 
It says nothing about previous existences of Lao, and 
nothing of his travelling to the west, and learning there 
the doctrines which are embodied in his work. He goes 
through the pass out of the domain of ATau, and died no 
one knowing where. 

It is difficult, however, to reconcile this last statement 
with a narrative in the end of ^Twang-jze's third Book. 
There we see Lao-jze dead, and a crowd of mourners 
wailing round the corpse, and giving extraordinary demon- 
strations of grief, which offend a disciple of a higher order, 
who has gone to the house to offer his condolences on the 
occasion. But for the peculiar nature of most of ^Twang's 
narratives, we should say, in opposition to K/iien, that the 
place and time of Lao's death were well known. Possibly, 
however, A'wang-jze may have invented the whole story, 
to give him the opportunity of setting forth what, according 
to his ideal of it, the life of a Taoist master should be, and 
how even Lao-jze himself fell short of it. 

Second, K/nen's account of .ATwang-jze is still more brief. 
He was a native, he tells us, of the territory of Mang, which 
belonged to the kingdom of Liang or Wei, and held an 
office, he does not say what, in the city of K/ii-yuan. 
./Twang was thus of the same part of China as Lao-jze, and 
probably grew up familiar with all his speculations and 
lessons. He lived during the reigns of the kings Hui of 
Liang, Hsiian of Kh\, and Wei of KM. We cannot be 
wrong therefore in assigning his period to the latter half of 
the third, and earlier part of the fourth century B. c. He 
was thus a contemporary of Mencius. They visited at the 
same courts, and yet neither ever mentions the other. They 
were the two ablest debaters of their day, and fond of 
exposing what they deemed heresy. But it would only be 

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a matter of useless speculation to try to account for their 
never having come into argumentative collision. 

Khien says : ' isTwang had made himself well acquainted 
with all the literature of his time, but preferred the views 
of Lao-jze, and ranked himself among his followers, so that 
of the more than ten myriads of characters contained in his 
published writings the greater part are occupied with meta- 
phorical illustrations of Lao's doctrines. He made " The 
Old Fisherman," " The Robber Kih," and " The Cutting 
open Satchels," to satirize and expose the disciples of Con- 
fucius, and clearly exhibit the sentiments of Lao. Such 
names and characters as " Wei-lei Hsu " and " Khang-sang 
3ze " are fictitious, and the pieces where they occur are 
not to be understood as narratives of real events x . 

' But ^Twang was an admirable writer and skilful com- 
poser, and by his instances and truthful descriptions hit 
and exposed the Mohists and Literati. The ablest scholars 
of his day could not escape his satire nor reply to it, while 
he allowed and enjoyed himself with his sparkling, dashing 
style ; and thus it was that the greatest men, even kings 
and princes, could not use him for their purposes. 

' King Wei of KMx, having heard of the ability of ./Twang 
Kka, sent messengers with large gifts to bring him to his 
court, and promising also that he would make him his chief 
minister. iTwang-jze, however, only laughed and said to 
them, " A thousand ounces of silver are a great gain to me, 
and to be a high noble and minister is a most honourable 
position. But have you not seen the victim-ox for the 
border sacrifice ? It is carefully fed for several years, and 
robed with rich embroidery that it may be fit to enter the 
Grand Temple. When the time comes for it to do so, it 
would prefer to be a little pig, but it cannot get to be so. 
Go away quickly, and do not soil me with your presence. 

1 Khang-sang 3ze is evidently the Kang-sang Kk& of Anyang's Book XXIII. 
Wei-16i Hsu is supposed by Sze-ma of the Thang dynasty, who called 
himself the Lesser Sze-ma, to be the name of a Book ; one, in that case, of the 
lost books of A'wang. But as we find the ' Hill of Wei-lei ' mentioned in 
Bk. XXIII as the scene of Kang-sang KkWs Taoistic labours and success; I 
suppose that Alien's reference is to that. The names are quoted by him from 
memory, or might be insisted on as instances of different readings. 

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I had rather amuse and enjoy myself in the midst of a 
filthy ditch than be subject to the rules and restrictions in 
the court of a sovereign. I have determined never to take 
office, but prefer the enjoyment of my own free will." ' 

Kk'ien concludes his account of ./Twang-jze with the above 
story, condensed by him, probably, from two of ./Twang's 
own narratives, in par. 11 of Bk. XVII, and 13 of XXXII, 
to the injury of them both. Paragraph 14 of XXXII brings 
before us one of the last scenes of .Afwang-jze's life, and we 
may doubt whether it should be received as from his own 
pencil. It is interesting in itself, however, and I introduce 
it here : ' When isTwang-jze was about to die, his disciples 
signified their wish to give him a grand burial. " I shall 
have heaven and earth," he said, " for my coffin and its 
shell ; the sun and moon for my two round symbols of jade ; 
the stars and constellations for my pearls and jewels ; — 
will not the provisions for my interment be complete ? 
What would you add to them ? " The disciples replied, 
" We are afraid that the crows and kites will eat our 
master." ^Twang-jze rejoined, "Above, the crows and kites 
will eat me ; below, the mole-crickets and ants will eat me ; 
to take from those and give to these would only show 
your partiality." ' 

Such were among the last words of /sTwang-jze. His 
end was not so impressive as that of Confucius ; but it 
was in keeping with the general magniloquence and strong 
assertion of independence that marked all his course. 


On the Tractate of Actions and their 

1. The contrast is great between the style of the Tao 

Teh iTing and the Books of TTwang-jze and that of the 

D .. . Kan Ying Phien, a translation of which is 
Peculiar style .° . 

and nature of now submitted as a specimen of the Texts of 

the PMen. ing TSoism. The works of Lao and ATwang stand 

alone in the literature of the system. What 

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it was before Lao cannot be ascertained, and in his chap- 
ters it comes before us not as a religion, but as a subject 
of philosophical speculation, together with some practical 
applications of it insisted on by Lao himself. The bril- 
liant pages of ^Twang-jze contain little more than his inge- 
nious defence of his master's speculations, and an aggregate 
of illustrative narratives sparkling with the charms of his 
composition, but in themselves for the most part unbe- 
lievable, often grotesque and absurd. This treatise, on 
the other hand, is more of what we understand by a sermon 
or popular tract. It eschews all difficult discussion, and 
sets forth a variety of traits of character and actions which 
are good, and a still greater variety of others which are bad, 
exhorting to the cultivation and performance of the former, 
and warning against the latter. It describes at the outset 
the machinery to secure the record of men's doings, and 
the infliction of the certain retribution, and concludes with 
insisting on the wisdom of repentance and reformation. 
At the same time it does not carry its idea of retribution 
beyond death, but declares that if the reward or punish- 
ment is not completed in the present life, the remainder 
will be received by the posterity of the good-doer and of 
the offender. 

A place is given to the treatise among the Texts of 
Taoism in ' The Sacred Books of the East,' because of its 
popularity in China. ' The various editions of it,' as ob- 
served by Mr. Wylie, ' are innumerable ; it has appeared 
from time to time in almost every conceivable size, shape, 
and style of execution. Many commentaries have been 
written upon it, and it is frequently published with a collec- 
tion of several hundred anecdotes, along with pictorial illus- 
trations, to illustrate every paragraph seriatim. It is deemed 
a great act of merit to aid by voluntary contribution to- 
wards the gratuitous distribution of this work 1 .' 

a. The author of the treatise is not known, but, as Mr. 

Wylie also observes, it appears to have been written during 

The origin of tne Sung dynasty. The earliest mention of 

the treatise, ft which I have met with is in the continua- 

1 Notes on Chinese Literature, p. 1 79. 

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tion of Ma-twan Lin's encyclopedic work by Wang KM, 
first published in 1586, the fourteenth year of the fourteenth 
emperor of the Ming dynasty. In Wang's supplement to 
his predecessor's account of Taoist works, the sixth notice 
is of 'a commentary on the Thai Shang Kan Ying 
Phien by a Li .Oang-ling,' and immediately before it is 
a commentary on the short but well-known Yin Fu King 
by a Lu Tien, who lived 1042-1102. Immediately after 
it other works of the eleventh century are mentioned. To 
that same century therefore we may reasonably refer the 
origin of the Kan Ying Phien. 

As to the meaning of the title, the only difficulty is with 
the two commencing characters Thai Shang. Julien left 
The meaning of them untranslated, with the note, however, 
the title. that they were ' l'abreviation de Thai Shang 
Lao Kiin, expression honorifique par laquelle les Tao-sze 
designent Lao-jze, le fondateur de leur secte 1 .' This is 
the interpretation commonly given of the phrase, and it 
is hardly worth while to indicate any doubt of its correct- 
ness ; but if the characters were taken, as I believe they 
were, from the beginning of the seventeenth chapter of the 
Tao Teh King, I should prefer to understand them of 
the highest and oldest form of the Taoistic teaching 2 . 

3. I quoted on page 13 the view of Hardwick, the Chris- 
tian Advocate of Cambridge, that ' the indefinite expression 

1 See ' Le Livre des Recompense et des Peines en Chinois et en Francois ' 
(London, 1835). 

2 The designation of LSo-jze as Thai Shang Lao .Afun originated probably 
in the Thang dynasty. It is on record that in 666 Kao 3 un g> the third em- 
peror, went to Lao-jze's temple at Po Aau (the place of Lao's birth, and still 
called by the same name, in the department of Fang-yang in An-hui), and con- 
ferred on him the title of Thai Shang Yuan Yuan Hwang Ti, 'The Great 
God, the Mysterious Originator, the Most High.' ' Then,' says Mayers, Manual, 
p. 113, ' for the first time he was ranked among the gods as " Great Supreme, 
the Emperor (or Imperial God) of the Dark First Cause." ' The whole entry is 

Later on, in 1014, we find A"an 3 un g> the fourth Sung emperor, also visiting 
Po Aau, and in Lao's temple, which has by this time become ' the Palace of 
Grand Purity,' enlarging his title to Thai Shang Lao A"iin Hwun Yiian 
Shang Teh Hwang T5, ' The Most High, the Ruler LSo, the Great God of 
Grand Virtue at the Chaotic Origin.' But such titles are not easily translated. 

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T4o was adopted to denominate an abstract Cause, or 

Was the old tne initial principle of life and order, to 
Taoism a religion? which worshippers were able to assign 
the attributes of immateriality, eternity, immensity, in- 
visibility.' His selection of the term worshippers in this 
passage was unfortunate. Neither Lao nor Kwang says 
anything about the worship of the Tao, about priests or 
monks, about temples or rituals. How could they do so, 
seeing that Tao was not to them the name of a personal 
Being, nor ' Heaven ' a metaphorical term equivalent to the 
Confucian Ti, 'Ruler,' or Shang Ti, 'Supreme Ruler.' 
With this agnosticism as to God, and their belief that by 
a certain management and discipline of the breath life 
might be prolonged indefinitely, I do not see how any- 
thing of an organised religion was possible for the old 

The Taoist proclivities of the founder of the Khm dyn- 
asty are well known. If his life had been prolonged, and 
the dynasty become consolidated, there might have arisen 
such a religion in connexion with Taoism, for we have a 
record that he, as head of the Empire, had eight spirits 1 
to which he offered sacrifices. ^T^in, however, soon passed 
away ; what remained in permanency from it was only the 
abolition of the feudal kingdom. 

4. We cannot here attempt to relate in detail the rise 
and growth of the K&ng family in which the headship of 
Taoism has been hereditary since our first Christian cen- 
tury, with the exception of one not very long interruption. 

The family of One of the earliest members of it, A'ang 

■#ang- Liang, must have been born not long after 

the death of isfwang-jze, for he joined the party of Liu 

1 The eight spirits were : — 1. The Lord of Heaven ; 2. The Lord of Earth ; 
3. The Lord of War; 4. The Lord of the Yang operation ; 5. The Lord of the 
Yin operation; 6. The Lord of the Moon; 7. The Lord of f he Sun; and 
8. The Lord of the Four Seasons. See Mayers's C. R. Manual, pp. 327, 328. 
His authority is the sixth of Sze-mS Khiva's monographs. Khiea seems to say 
that the worship of these spirits could be traced to Thai Kung, one of the 
principal ministers of kings Wan and Wu at the rise of the A"au dynasty in the 
twelfth century B. C, and to whom in the list of Taoist writings in the Imperial 
Library of Han, no fewer than 237 phien are ascribed. 

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Pang, the founder of the dynasty of Han, in B. C. 208, and 
by his wisdom and bravery contributed greatly to his suc- 
cess over the adherents of Kh'm, and other contenders for 
the sovereignty of the empire. Abandoning then a political 
career, he spent the latter years of his life in a vain quest 
for the elixir of life. 

Among Liang's descendants in our first century was a 
isTang Tao-ling, who, eschewing a career in the service of 
the state, devoted himself to the pursuits of alchemy, and 
at last succeeded in compounding the grand elixir or pill, 
and at the age of 123 was released from the trammels of 
the mortal body, and entered on the enjoyment of immor- 
tality, leaving to his descendants his books, talismans and 
charms, his sword, mighty against spirits, and his seal. 
Tao-ling stands out, in Taoist accounts, as the first patri- 
arch of the system, with the title of Thien Shih, 'Master 
or Preceptor of Heaven.' Hsiian 3 u ng of the Thang dyn- 
asty in 748, confirmed the dignity and title in the family ; 
and in 1016 the Sung emperor Afan 3 un g invested its repre- 
sentative with large tracts of land near the Lung-hu moun- 
tain in /Hang-hst. The present patriarch — for I suppose 
the same man is still alive — made a journey from his resi- 
dence not many years ago, and was interviewed by several 
foreigners in Shanghai. The succession is said to be per- 
petuated by the transmigration of the soul of Tao- 
ling into some infant or youthful member of the family ; 
whose heirship is supernaturally revealed as soon as the 
miracle is effected 1 . 

This superstitious notion shows the influence of Buddhism 
on Taoism. It has been seen from the eighteenth of 
the Books of ATwang-jze what affinities there were between 

T „ , Taoism and the Indian system ; and there can 

Influence of ' 

Buddhism on be no doubt that the introduction of the latter 

aoism. into China did more than anything else to 

affect the development of the Taoistic system. As early 

as the time of Confucius there were recluses in the country, 

men who had withdrawn from the world, disgusted with its 

* See Mayers's C. R. Manual, Part I, article 35. 

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vanities and in despair from its disorders. Lao would 
appear to have himself contemplated this course. When 
their representatives of our early centuries saw the Bud- 
dhists among them with their images, monasteries, and 
nunneries, their ritual and discipline, they proceeded to 
organise themselves after a similar fashion. They built 
monasteries and nunneries, framed images, composed litur- 
gies, and adopted a peculiar mode of tying up their hair. 
The ' Three Precious Ones ' of Buddhism, emblematic to 
the initiated of Intelligence personified in Buddha, the Law, 
and the Community or Church, but to the mass of the 
worshippers merely three great idols, styled by them 
Buddha Past, Present, and To Come : these appeared in 
Taoism as the 'Three Pure Ones,' also represented by 
three great images, each of which receives the title of 
' His Celestial Eminence,' and is styled the ' Most High 
God (Shang Ti).' The first of them is a deification of 
Chaos, the second, of Lao-jze, and the third of I know not 
whom or what ; perhaps of the Tao. 

But those Three Pure Ones have been very much cast 
into the shade, as the objects of popular worship and vene- 
ration, by Yii Hwang Ti or Yii Hwang Shang Tt. 
This personage appears to have been a member of the 
i£Tang clan, held to be a magician and venerated from the 
time of the Thang dynasty, but deified in 1116 by the 
Sung emperor Hui 3 un g a t the instigation of a charlatan 
Lin Ling-su, a renegade Buddhist monk. He is the god 
in the court of heaven to whom the spirits of the body and 
of the hearth in our treatise proceed at stated times to 
report for approval or condemnation the conduct of men. 

Since the first publication of the Kan Ying Phien, 
the tenets of Buddhism have been still further adopted 
by the teachers of Taoism, and shaped to suit the na- 
ture of their own system. I have observed that the idea 
of retribution in our treatise does not go beyond the 
present life ; but the manifestoes of Taoism of more 
recent times are much occupied with descriptions of the 
courts of purgatory and threatenings of the everlasting 
misery of hell to those whom their sufferings in those courts 

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fail to wean from their wickedness. Those manifestoes are 
published by the mercy of Yii Hwang Shang Ti that 
men and women may be led to repent of their faults and 
make atonement for their crimes. They emanate from the 
temples of the tutelary deities 1 which are found throughout 
the empire, and especially in the walled cities, and are 
under the charge of Taoist monks. A visitor to one of the 
larger of these temples may not only see the pictures of 
the purgatorial courts and other forms of the modern 
superstitions, but he will find also astrologers, diviners, 
geomancers, physiognomists, et id genus omne, plying 
their trades or waiting to be asked to do so, and he will 
wonder how it has been possible to affiliate such things 
with the teachings of Lao-jze. 

Other manifestoes of a milder form, and more like our 
tractate, are also continually being issued as from one or 
other of what are called the state gods, whose temples are 
all in the charge of the same monks. In the approxima- 
tion which has thus been going on of Taoism to Buddhism, 
the requirement of celibacy was long resisted by the pro- 
fessors of the former ; but recent editions of the Penal 
Code 2 contain sundry regulations framed to enforce celi- 
bacy, to bind the monks and nuns of both systems to the 
observance of the Confucian maxims concerning filial piety, 
and the sacrificial worship of the dead ; and also to restrict 
the multiplication of monasteries and nunneries. Neither 
Lao nor A'wang was a celibate or recommended celibacy. 
The present patriarch, as a married man, would seem to be 
able still to resist the law. 

1 Called .ATAang Hwang Miao, 'Wall and Moat Temples,' Palladia of 
the city. 

2 See Dr. Eitel's third edition of his ' Three Lectures on Buddhism,' pp. 
36-45 (Hongkong: Lane, Crawford & Co., 1884). The edition of the Penal 
Code to which he refers is of 1879. 

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Brief Notices of the different Books. 
Book I. HsiAo-yao Yt>. 

The three characters which form the title of this Book 
have all of them the ideagram ^L (Ko), which- gives the 
idea, as the Shwo Wan explains it, of 'now walking, now 
halting.' We might render the title by ' Sauntering or 
Rambling at Ease ; ' but it is the untroubled enjoyment of 
the mind which the author has in view. And this enjoy- 
ment is secured by the Tao, though that character does 
not once occur in the Book. ^Twang-jze illustrates his 
thesis first by the cases of creatures, the largest and the 
smallest, showing that however different they may be in 
size, they should not pass judgment on one another, but 
may equally find their happiness in the Tao. From this 
he advances to men, and from the cases of Yung-jze and 
Lieh-jze proceeds to that of one who finds his enjoyment 
in himself, independent of every other being or instru- 
mentality; and we have the three important definitions 
of the accomplished Taoist, as 'the Perfect Man,' 'the 
Spirit-like Man,' and ' the Sagely Man.' Those definitions 
are then illustrated ; — the third in Yao and Hsu Yu, and the 
second in the conversation between A"ien Wu and Lien Shu. 
The description given in this conversation of the spirit- 
like man is very startling, and contains statements that are 
true only of Him who is a ' Spirit,' ' the Blessed and only 
Potentate,' ' Who covereth Himself with light as with 
a garment, Who stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, 

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Who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters, Who 
maketh the clouds His chariot, Who walketh on the wings 
of the wind,' ' Who rideth on a cherub,' ' Who inhabiteth 
eternity.' The most imaginative and metaphorical ex- 
pressions in the TaoTeh^Ting about the power of the 
possessor of the Tao are tame, compared with the language 
of our author. I call attention to it here, as he often uses 
the same extravagant style. There follows an illustration 
of 'the Perfect Man,' which is comparatively feeble, and 
part of it, so far as I can see, inappropriate, though Lin 
Hsi-^ung says that all other interpretations of the sen- 
tences are ridiculous. 

In the seventh and last paragraph we have two illus- 
trations that nothing is really useless, if only used Tao- 
istically.; 'to the same effect,' says 3&o Hung, 'as 
Confucius in the Analects, XVII, ii.' They hang loosely, 
however, from what precedes. 

An old view of the Book was that ATwang-jze intended 
himself by the great phang, 'which,' says Lfi Shti-/£ih, 
' is wide of the mark.' 

Book II. Kh\ Wfr Lun. 

Mr. Balfour has translated this title by ' Essay on the 
Uniformity of All Things ; ' and, the subject of the Book 
being thus misconceived, his translation of it could not 
fail to be very incorrect. The Chinese critics, I may say 
without exception, construe the title as I have done. The 
second and third characters, Wu Lun, are taken together, 
and mean 'Discussions about Things,' equivalent to our 
' Controversies.' They are under the government of the 
first character Kh\, used as a verb, with the signification 
of 'Harmonising,' or 'Adjusting.' Let me illustrate this 
by condensing a passage from the ' Supplementary Com- 
mentary of a Mr. -ATang, a sub-secretary of the Imperial 
Chancery,' of the Ming dynasty (ijrj| ^ -%- ^jj }|£). He 
says, ' What ATwang-jze calls " Discussions about Things " 
has reference to the various branches of the numerous 
schools, each of which has its own views, conflicting with 

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the views of the others.' He goes on to show that if they 
would only adopt the method pointed out by A'wang-jze, 
' their controversies would be adjusted (^ j^jj ^)>' now 
using the first Kh\ in the passive voice. 

This then was the theme of our author in this Book. It 
must be left for the reader to discover from the translation 
how he pursues it. I pointed out a peculiarity in the 
former Book, that though the idea of the Tao underlies 
it all, the term itself is never allowed to appear. Not only 
does the same idea underlie this Book, but the name is 
frequently employed. The Tao is the panacea for the 
evils of controversy, the solvent through the use of which 
the different views of men may be made to disappear. 

That the Tao is not a Personal name in the conception 
of ^Twang-jze is seen in several passages. We have not to 
go beyond the phenomena of nature to discover the reason 
of their being what they are ; nor have we to go beyond 
the bigoted egoism and vaingloriousness of controversialists 
to find the explanation of their discussions, various as these 
are, and confounding like the sounds of the wind among 
the trees of a forest. To man, neither in nature nor in the 
sphere of knowledge, is there any other ' Heaven ' but 
what belongs to his own mind. That is his only ' True 
Ruler.' If there be any other, we do not see His form, nor 
any traces of His acting. Things come about in their 
proper course. We cannot advance any proof of Creation. 
Whether we assume that there was something 'in the 
beginning' or nothing, we are equally landed in contra- 
diction and absurdity. Let us stop at the limit of what 
we know, and not try to advance a step beyond it. 

Towards the end of the Book our author's agnosticism 
seems to reach its farthest point. All human experience 
is spoken of as a dream or as 'illusion.' He who calls 
another a dreamer does not know that he is not dreaming 
himself. One and another commentator discover in such 
utterances something very like the Buddhist doctrine that 
all life is but so much illusion (^.). This notion has its 
consummation in the story with which the Book concludes. 
[39] K 

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1 30 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. hi. 

A'wang-jze had dreamt that he was a butterfly. When he 
awoke, and was himself again, he did not know whether he, 
Afwang Kau, had been dreaming that he was a butterfly, 
or was now a butterfly dreaming that it was -/Twang Kau. 
And yet he adds that there must be a difference between 
Kau and a butterfly, but he does not say what that 
difference is. But had he ever dreamt that he was a 
butterfly, so as to lose the consciousness of his personal 
identity as Afwang Kau ? I do not think so. One may, 
perhaps, lose that consciousness in the state of insanity ; 
but the language of Young is not sufficiently guarded when 
he writes of 

' Dreams, where thought, in fancy's maze, runs mad.' 

When dreaming, our thoughts are not conditioned by the 
categories of time and space ; but the conviction of our 
identity is never lost. 

Book III. Yang Shang Kti. 

' The Lord of Life ' is the Tao. It is to this that we are 
indebted for the origin of life and for the preservation of it. 
Though not a Personal Being, it is here spoken of as 
if it were, — 'the Lord of Life;' just as in the preceding 
Book it is made to appear as 'a True Governor,' and 
'a True Ruler.' But how can we nourish the TSo? The 
reply is, By avoiding all striving to do so ; by a passionless, 
unstraining performance of what we have to do in our 
position in life ; simply allowing the Tao to guide and 
nourish us, without doing anything to please ourselves 
or to counteract the tendency of our being to decay and 

Par. 1 exhibits the injury arising from not thus nourishing 
the life, and sets forth the rule we are to pursue. 

Par. a illustrates the observance of the rule by the perfect 
skill with which the cook of the ruler Wan-hui of Wei cut 
up the oxen for his employer without trouble to himself, or 
injury to his knife. 

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Par. 3 illustrates the result of a neglect of one of the 
cautions in par. 1 to a certain master of the Left, who had 
brought on himself dismemberment in the loss of one of 
his feet. 

Par. 4 shows how even Lao-jze had failed in nourishing 
'the Lord of Life' by neglecting the other caution, and 
allowing in his good-doing an admixture of human feeling, 
which produced in his disciples a regard for him that was 
inconsistent with the nature of the Tao, and made them 
wail for him excessively on his death. This is the most 
remarkable portion of the Book, and it is followed by 
a sentence which implies that the existence of man's 
spirit continues after death has taken place. His body 
is intended by the ' faggots ' that are consumed by the fire. 
That fire represents the spirit which may be transferred 

Some commentators dwell on the analogy between this 
and the Buddhistic transrotation of births; which latter 
teaching, however, they do not seem to understand. Others 
say that ' the nourishment of the Lord of Life ' is simply 
acting as Yii did when he conveyed away the flooded 
waters ' by doing that which gave him no trouble ; ' — see 
Mencius, IV, ii, 26. 

In Afwang-jze there are various other stories of the same 
character as that about king Wan-hui's cook, — e.g. XIX, 
3 and XXII, 9. They are instances of the dexterity 
acquired by habit, and should hardly be pressed into the 
service of the doctrine of the Tao. 

Book IV. ZAn ATien Shih. 

A man has his place among other men in the world ; he 
is a member, while he lives, of the body of humanity. 
And as he has his place in society, so also he has his 
special duties to discharge, according to his position, and 
his relation to others. Taoist writers refer to this Book 
as a proof of the practical character of the writings of 

K 2 

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They are right to a certain extent in doing so ; but the 
cases of relationship which are exhibited and prescribed for 
are of so peculiar a character, that the Book is of little 
value as a directory of human conduct and duty. In the 
first two paragraphs we have the case of Yen Hui, who 
wishes to go to Wei, and try to reform the character and 
government of its oppressive ruler ; in the third and fourth, 
that of the duke of Sheh, who has been entrusted by the 
king of KM with a difficult mission to the court of KM, 
which is occasioning him much anxiety and apprehension ; 
and in the fifth, that of a Yen Ho, who is about to undertake 
the office of teacher to the son of duke Ling of Wei, a 
young man with a very bad natural disposition. The 
other four paragraphs do not seem to come in naturally 
after these three cases, being occupied with two immense 
and wonderful trees, the case of a poor deformed cripple, 
and the lecture for the benefit of Confucius by ' the madman 
of KM.' In all these last paragraphs, the theme is the 
usefulness, to the party himself at least, of being of no use. 

Confucius is the principal speaker in the first four para- 
graphs. In what he says to Yen Hui and the duke of 
Sheh there is much that is shrewd and good ; but we prefer 
the practical style of his teachings, as related by his own 
disciples in the Confucian Analects. Possibly, it was the 
object of isfwang-jze to exhibit his teaching, as containing, 
without his being aware of it, much of the mystical char- 
acter of the Taoistic system. His conversation with the 
duke of Sheh, however, is less obnoxious to this charge 
than what he is made to say to Yen Hui. The adviser of 
Yen Ho is a Kii Po-yii, a disciple of Confucius, who still 
has a place in the sage's temples. 

In the conclusion, the Taoism of our author comes out in 
contrast with the methods of Confucius. His object in the 
whole treatise, perhaps, was to show how ' the doing 
nothing, and yet thereby doing everything,' was the method 
to be pursued in all the intercourses of society. 

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Book V. Teh Khvsg Ft). 

The f u (^J) consisted in the earliest times of two slips 
of bamboo made with certain marks, so as to fit to each 
other exactly, and held by the two parties to any agree- 
ment or covenant. By the production and comparison of 
the slips, the parties verified their mutual relation ; and 
the claim of the one and the obligation of the other were 
sufficiently established. ' Seal ' seems the best translation 
of the character in this title. 

By 'virtue' (^ffi) we must understand the characteristics 
of the Tclo. Where those existed in their full proportions 
in any individual, there was sure to be the evidence or 
proof of them in the influence which he exerted in all his 
intercourse with other men ; and the illustration of this is 
the subject of this Book, in all its five paragraphs. That 
influence is the ' Seal ' set on him, proving him to be a true 
child of the Tio. 

The heroes, as I may call them, of the first three para- 
graphs are all men who had lost their feet, having been 
reduced to that condition as a punishment, just or unjust, 
of certain offences ; and those of the last two are distin- 
guished by their extraordinary ugliness or disgusting de- 
formity. But neither the loss of their feet nor their 
deformities trouble the serenity of their own minds, or 
interfere with the effects of their teaching and character 
upon others ; so superior is their virtue to the deficiencies in 
their outward appearance. 

Various brief descriptions of the Tao are interspersed in 
the Book. The most remarkable of them are those in 
par. i, where it appears as ' that in which there is no 
element of falsehood,' and as ' the author of all the Changes 
or Transformations' in the world. The sentences where 
these occur are thus translated by Mr. Balfour : — ' He 
seeks to know Him in whom is nothing false. He would 
not be affected by the instability of creation ; even if his 
life were involved in the general destruction, he would yet 
hold firmly to his faith (in God).' And he observes in a 

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note, that the first short sentence ' is explained by the 
commentators as referring to Kan 3ai (jjll lp?), the term 
used by the Taoist school for God.' But we met with 
that name and synonyms of it in Book II, par. 2, as appel- 
lations of the Tao, coupled with the denial of its per- 
sonality. Kan 3ai, 'the True Governor or Lord,' may 
be used as a designation for god or God, but the Taoist 
school denies the existence of a Personal Being, to whom 
we are accustomed to apply that name. 

Hui-jze, the sophist and friend of iTwang-jze, is intro- 
duced in the conclusion as disputing with him the propriety 
of his representing the Master of the Tao as being still 'a 
man ;' and is beaten down by him with a repetition of his 
assertions, and a reference to some of Hui-jze's well-known 
peculiarities. What would ^Twang-jze have said, if his 
opponent had affirmed that his instances were all imaginary, 
and that no man had ever appeared who could appeal to 
his possession of such a ' seal ' to his virtues and influence 
as he described ? 

Lu Fang-wang compares with the tenor of this Book 
what we find in Mencius, VII, i, ai, about the nature of 
the superior man. The analogy between them, however, is 
very faint and incomplete. 

Book VI. TA 3ung Shih. 

So I translate the title of this Book, taking 3 un g as a 
verb, and 3 un g Shih as='The Master who is Honoured.' 
Some critics take 3 u "g in the sense of 'Originator,' in 
which it is employed in the Tao Teh A!"ing, lxx, 2. Which- 
ever rendering be adopted, there is no doubt that the title 
is intended to be a designation of the Tao ; and no one of 
our author's Books is more important for the understanding 
of his system of thought. 

The key to it is found in the first of its fifteen para- 
graphs. There are in man two elements ; — the Heavenly 
or Taoistic, and the human. The disciple of the Tao, 
recognising them both, cultivates what he knows as a man 

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so as to become entirely conformed to the action of the 
Tao, and submissive in all the most painful experiences 
in his lot, which is entirely ordered by it. A seal will be 
set on the wisdom of this course hereafter, when he has 
completed the period of his existence on earth, and re- 
turns to the state of non-existence, from which the Tao 
called him to be born as a man. In the meantime he may 
attain to be the True man possessing the True knowledge. 
Our author then proceeds to give his readers in five 
paragraphs his idea of the True Man. Mr. Balfour says 
that this name is to be understood ' in the esoteric sense, 
the partaking of the essence of divinity,' and he translates 
it by 'the Divine Man.' But we have no right to intro- 
duce here the terms ' divine ' and ' divinity.' Nan-hwai 
(VII, 5 b) gives a short definition of the name which is 
more to the point: — 'What we call "the True Man" is 
one whose nature is in agreement with the Tao (6/r g@ ja 

,A. ^tk j*k & "iP >H "tfc ; ' anc * ^ e commentator adds in a 
note, 'Such men as Fu-hsi, Hwang-Ti, and Lao Tan.' The 
Khang-hsJ dictionary commences its account of the character 
ja or 'True' by a definition of the True Man taken from 
the Shwo Wan as a jj|| ^, 'a recluse of the mountain, 
whose bodily form has been changed, and who ascends to 
heaven ; ' but when that earliest dictionary was made, 
Taoism had entered into a new phase, different from what 
it had in the time of our author. The most prominent 
characteristic of the True Man is that he is free from all 
exercise of thought and purpose, a being entirely passive in 
the hands of the Tao. In par. 3 seven men are mentioned, 
good and worthy men, but inferior to the True. 

Having said what he had to say of the True Man, 
^Twang-jze comes in the seventh paragraph to speak directly 
of the Tao itself, and describes it with many wonderful pre- 
dicates which exalt it above our idea of God ; — a concept 
and not a personality. He concludes by mentioning a 
number of ancient personages who had got the Tao, and by 
it wrought wonders, beginning with a Shih-wei, who pre- 
ceded Fu-hsi, and ending with Fu Yiieh, the minister of 

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Wu-ting, in the fourteenth century B.C., and who finally be- 
came a star in the eastern portion of the zodiac. Phang 3 U 
is also mentioned as living, through his possession of the Tao, 
from the twenty-third century B. c. to the seventh or later. 
The sun and moon and the constellation of the Great Bear 
are also mentioned as its possessors, and the fabulous Being 
called the Mother of the Western King. The whole passage 
is perplexing to the reader to the last degree. 

The remaining paragraphs are mostly occupied with 
instances of learning the Tao, and of its effects in making 
men superior to the infirmities of age and the most ter- 
rible deformities of person and calamities of penury ; as 
' Tranquillity ' under all that might seem most calculated to 
disturb it. Very strange is the attempt at the conclusion of 
par. 8 apparently to trace the genesis of the knowledge of 
the Tao. Confucius is introduced repeatedly as the ex- 
rounder of Taoism, and made to praise it as the ne plus 
ultra of human attainment. 

Book VII. Ying Ti Wang. 

The first of the three characters in this title renders the 
translation of it somewhat perplexing. Ying has different 
meanings according as it is read in the first tone or in the 
third. In the first tone it is the symbol of what is right, 
or should be ; in the third tone of answering or responding 
to. I prefer to take it here in the first tone. As Kwo 
Hsiang says, ' One who is free from mind or purpose of his 
own, and loves men to become transformed of themselves, 
is fit to be a Ruler or a King,' and as 3hui .ft" wan, another 
early commentator, says, ' He whose teaching is that which 
is without words, and makes men in the world act as if 
they were oxen or horses, is fit to be a Ruler or a King.' 
This then is the object of the Book— to describe that 
government which exhibits the Tao equally in the rulers 
and the ruled, the world of men all happy and good 
without purpose or effort. 

It consists of seven paragraphs. The first shows us the 
model ruler in him of the line of Thai, whom I have not 

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succeeded in identifying. The second shows us men under 
such a rule, uncontrolled and safe like the bird that flies 
high beyond the reach of the archer, and the mouse secure 
in its deep hole from its pursuers. The teacher in this 
portion is .Oieh-yu, known in the Confucian school as ' the 
madman of Khh,' and he delivers his lesson in opposition 
to the heresy of a Za.h.-k\mg Shih, or 'Noon Beginning.' 
In the third paragraph the speakers are ' a nameless man,' 
and a Thien Kan, or ' Heaven Root.' In the fourth para- 
graph Lao-jze himself appears upon the stage, and lectures 
a Yang 3ze-£ii, the Yang KiX of Mencius. He concludes by 
saying that ' where the intelligent kings took their stand 
could not be fathomed, and they found their enjoyment in 
(the realm of) nonentity.' 

The fifth paragraph is longer, and tells us of the defeat 
of a wizard, a physiognomist in Kang, by Hti-jze, the 
master of the philosopher Lieh-jze, who is thereby delivered 
from the glamour which the cheat was throwing round him. 
I confess to not being able to understand the various pro- 
cesses by which H(i-jze foils the wizard and makes him run 
away. The whole story is told, and at greater length, in 
the second book of the collection ascribed to Lieh-jze, and 
the curious student may like to look at the translation of 
that work by Mr. Ernst Faber (Der Naturalismus bei 
den alten Chinesen sowohl nach der Seite des Panthe- 
ismus als des Sensualismus, oder die Sammtlichen Werke 
des Philosophen Licius, 1877). The effect of the wizard's 
defeat on Lieh-jze was great. He returned in great humi- 
lity to his house, and did not go out of it for three years. 
He did the cooking for his wife, and fed the pigs as if he 
were feeding men. He returned to pure simplicity, and 
therein continued to the end of his life. But I do not see 
the connexion between this narrative and the government 
of the Rulers and Kings. 

The sixth paragraph is a homily by our author himself 
on ' non-action.' It contains a good simile, comparing the 
mind of the perfect man to a mirror, which reflects faith- 
fully what comes before it, but does not retain any image 
of it, when the mind is gone. 

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The last paragraph is an ingenious and interesting alle- 
gory relating how the gods of the southern and northern 
seas brought Chaos to an end by boring holes in him. 
Thereby they destroyed the primal simplicity, and ac- 
cording to Taoism did Chaos an injury ! On the whole 
I do not think that this Book, with which the more finished 
essays of -Kwang-jze come to an end, is so successful as 
those that precede it. 

Book VIII. Phien MAu. 

This Book brings us to the Second Part of the writings 
of our author, embracing in all fifteen Books. Of the most 
important difference between the Books of the First and the 
other Parts some account has been given in the Introduc- 
tory Chapter. We have here to do only with the different 
character of their titles. Those of the seven preceding 
Books are so many theses, and are believed to have been 
prefixed to them by A!\vang-jze himself; those of this Book 
and the others that follow are believed to have been pre- 
fixed by Kwo Hsiang, and consist of two or three charac- 
ters taken from the beginning, or near the beginning of 
the several Books, after the fashion of the names of the 
Books in the Confucian Analects, in the works of Mencius, 
and in our Hebrew Scriptures. Books VIII to XIII are 
considered to be supplementary to VII by Au-yang Hsiu. 

The title of this eighth Book, Phien Mi u, has been ren- 
dered by Mr. Balfour, after Dr. Williams, ' Double Thumbs.' 
But the Mau, which may mean either the Thumb or the 
Great Toe, must be taken in the latter sense, being distin- 
guished in this paragraph and elsewhere from Kih, ' a finger,' 
and expressly specified also as belonging to the foot. The 
character phien, as used here, is defined in the Khang-hsi 
dictionary as ' anything additional growing out as an ap- 
pendage or excrescence, a growing out at the side.' This 
would seem to justify the translation of it by ' double.' 
But in paragraph 3, while the extra finger increases the 
number of the fingers, this growth on the foot is represented 
as diminishing the number of the toes. I must consider 

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the phien therefore as descriptive of an appendage by 
which the great toe was united to one or all of the other 
toes, and can think of no better rendering of the title than 
what I have given. It is told in the 3o Kv/an (twenty-third 
year of duke Hsi) that the famous duke Wan of 3>n had 
phien hsieh, that is, that his ribs presented the appear- 
ance of forming one bone. So much for the title. 

The subject-matter of the Book seems strange to us ; — 
that, according to the Tao, benevolence and righteousness 
are not natural growths of humanity, but excrescences on 
it, like the extra finger on the hand, and the membranous 
web of the toes. The weakness of the Taoistic system 
begins to appear, ifwang-jze's arguments in support of 
his position must be pronounced very feeble. The ancient 
Shun is introduced as the first who called in the two great 
virtues to distort and vex the world, keeping society for 
more than a thousand years in a state of uneasy excite- 
ment. Of course he assumes that prior to Shun, he does 
not say for how long a time (and in other places he makes 
decay to have begun earlier), the world had been in a state of 
paradisiacal innocence and simplicity, under the guidance of 
the Tao, untroubled by any consideration of what was right 
and what was wrong, men passively allowing their nature 
to have its quiet development, and happy in that condition. 
All culture of art or music is wrong, and so it is wrong and 
injurious to be striving to manifest benevolence and to 
maintain righteousness. 

He especially singles out two men, one of the twelfth cen- 
tury B. C, the famous Po-i, who died of hunger rather than 
acknowledge the dynasty of Ka.\i ; and one of a more 
recent age, the robber Shih, a great leader of brigands, who 
brought himself by his deeds to an untimely end ; and he 
sees nothing to choose between them. We must give our 
judgment for the teaching of Confucianism in preference to 
that of Taoism, if our author can be regarded as a fair 
expositor of the latter. He is ingenious in his statements 
and illustrations, but he was, like his master Lao-jze, only 
a dreamer. 

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140 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. ix, 

Book IX. MA ThI. 

' Horses ' and ' Hoofs ' are the first two characters of the 
Text, standing there in the relation of regent and regimen. 
The account of the teaching of the Book given by Lin Hsi- 
£ung is so concise that I will avail myself of it. He says : — 

'Governing men is like governing horses. They may 
be governed in such a way as shall be injurious to them, 
just as Po-lao governed the horse; — contrary to its true 
nature. His method was not different from that of 
the (first) potter and carpenter in dealing with clay and 
wood ; — contrary to the nature of those substances. Not- 
withstanding this, one age after another has celebrated 
the skill of those parties ; — not knowing what it is 
that constitutes the good and skilful government of 
men. Such government simply requires that men be 
made to fulfil their regular constant nature, — the quali- 
ties which they all possess in common, with which they 
are constituted by Heaven, and then be left to themselves. 
It was this which constituted the age of perfect virtue ; 
but when the sages insisted on the practice of benevo- 
lence, righteousness, ceremonies, and music, then the 
people began to be without that perfect virtue. Not that 
they were in themselves different from what they had been, 
but those practices do not really belong to their regular 
nature ; they arose from their neglecting the characteristics 
of the Tao, and abandoning their natural constitution ; — 
it was the case of the skilful artisan cutting and hacking 
his raw materials in order to form vessels from them. 
There is no ground for doubting that Po-lao's management 
of horses gave them that knowledge with which they went 
on to play the part of thieves, or that it was the sages' 
government of the people which made them devote them- 
selves to the pursuit of gain ; — it is impossible to deny the 
error of those sages. 

' There is but one idea in the Book from the beginning 
to the end ; — it is an amplification of the expression in the 
preceding Book that " all men have their regular and con- 

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stant constitution," and is the most easily construed of all 
A'wang-jze's compositions. In consequence, however, of 
the wonderful touches of his pencil in describing the sym- 
pathy between men and other creatures in their primal 
state, some have imagined that there is a waste and em- 
bellishment of language, and doubted whether the Book is 
really his own, but thought it was written by some one in 
imitation of his style. I apprehend that no other hand 
would easily have attained to such a mastery of that style.' 
There is no possibility of adjudicating definitely on the 
suspicion of the genuineness of the Book thus expressed in 
Hsi-^ung's concluding remarks. The same suspicion arose 
in my own mind in the process of translation. My surprise 
continues that our author did not perceive the absurdity of 
his notions of the primal state of men, and of his condem- 
nation of the sages. 

Book X. Knv Khveh. 

It is observed by the commentator Kwei iTan-£Man 
that one idea runs through this Book : — that the most sage 
and wise men have ministered to theft and robbery, and 
that, if there were an end of sageness and wisdom, the world 
would be at rest. Between it and the previous Book there 
is a general agreement in argument and object, but in this 
the author expresses himself with greater vehemence, and 
almost goes to excess in his denunciation of the institu- 
tions of the sages. 

The reader will agree with these accounts of the Book. 
Awang-jze at times becomes weak in his attempts to estab- 
lish his points. To my mind the most interesting portions 
of this Book and the last one are the full statements which 
we have in them of the happy state of men when the T a o 
maintained its undisputed sway in the world, and the 
names of many of the early Taoistic sovereigns. How can 
we suppose that anything would be gained by a return to 
the condition of primitive innocence and simplicity ? The 
antagonism between Taoism and Confucianism comes out 
in this Book very decidedly. 

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The title of the Book is taken from two characters in the 
first clause of the first paragraph. 

Book XI. 3Ai Yu. 

The two characters of the title are taken from the first 
sentence of the Text, but they express the subject of the 
Book more fully than the other titles in this Part do, and 
almost entitle it to a place in Part I. It is not easy to 
translate them, and Mr. Balfour renders them by ' Leniency 
towards Faults,' probably construing 3&i as equivalent to 
our preposition ' in,' which it often is. But ^Twang-jze uses 
both $&i an d Yu as verbs, or blends them together, the 
chief force of the binomial compound being derived from 
the significance of the 3&i. 3&i is defined by 3hun (^), 
which gives the idea of 'preserving' or 'keeping intact,' 
and Yu by Khwan (^), ' being indulgent ' or ' forbearing.' 
The two characters are afterwards exchanged for other 
two, wu wei ($& -^|), 'doing nothing,' 'inaction,' a 
grand characteristic of the Tao. 

The following summary of the Book is taken from Hsiian 
Ying's explanations of our author: — 'The two characters 3&i 
Yu express the subject-matter of the Book, and "govern- 
ing" points out the opposite error as the disease into which 
men are prone to fall. Let men be, and the tendencies of 
their nature will be at rest, and there will be no necessity 
for governing the world. Try to govern it, and the 
world will be full of trouble ; and men will not be able to 
rest in the tendencies of their nature. These are the sub- 
jects of the first two paragraphs. 

' In the third paragraph we have the erroneous view of 
3hui KJm that by government it was possible to make 
men's minds good. He did not know that governing was 
a disturbing meddling with the minds of men ; and how 
Lao-jze set forth the evil of such government, going on 
till it be irretrievable. This long paragraph vigorously 
attacks the injury done by governing. 

' In the fourth paragraph, when Hwang-Ti questions 

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Kwang .Oang-jze, the latter sets aside his inquiry about 
the government of the world, and tells him about the 
government of himself; and in the fifth, when Yiin Kiang 
asks Hung Mung about governing men, the latter tells him 
about the nourishing of the heart. These two great para- 
graphs set forth clearly the subtlest points in the policy of 
Let-a-be. Truly it is not an empty name. 

' In the two last paragraphs, A'wang in his own words 
and way sets forth, now by affirmation, and now by nega- 
tion, the meaning of all that precedes.' 

This summary of the Book will assist the reader in 
understanding it. For other remarks that will be helpful, 
I must refer him to the notes appended to the Text. The 
Book is not easy to understand or to translate ; and a 
remark found in the Kik-k/dng edition of 'the Ten 
Philosophers,' by Lu Hsiu-fu, who died in 1279, was we l- 
come to me, ' If you cannot understand one or two sentences 
of /Twang-jze, it does not matter.' 

Book XII. Thien Tf. 

The first two characters of the Book are adopted as its 
name; — Thien Ti, 'Heaven and Earth.' These are em- 
ployed, not so much as the two greatest material forms in 
the universe, but as the Great Powers whose influences 
extend to all below and upon them. Silently and effec- 
tively, with entire spontaneity, their influence goes forth, 
and a rule and pattern is thus given to those on whom the 
business of the government of the world devolves. The 
one character ' Heaven ' is employed throughout the Book 
as the denomination of this purposeless spontaneity which 
yet is so powerful. 

Lu Shu-£ih says : — ' This Book also sets forth clearly 
how the rulers of the world ought simply to act in accord- 
ance with the spontaneity of the virtue of Heaven ; abjuring 
sageness and putting away knowledge ; and doing nothing : 
— in this way the Tao or proper Method of Government 
will be attained to. As to the coercive methods of Mo Ti 

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and Hui-jze, they only serve to distress those who follow 

This object of the Book appears, more or less distinctly, 
in most of the illustrative paragraphs ; though, as has been 
pointed out in the notes upon it, several of them must be 
considered to be spurious. Paragraphs 6, 7, and 11 are 
thus called in question, and, as most readers will feel, with 
reason. From 13 to the end, the paragraphs are held to be 
one long paragraph where Awang-jze introduces his own 
reflections in an unusual style ; but the genuineness of the 
whole, so far as I have observed, has not been called in 

Book XIII. Thien TAo. 

'Thien Tao,' the first two characters of the first 
paragraph, and prefixed to the Book as the name of it, are 
best translated by ' The Way of Heaven,' meaning the 
noiseless spontaneity, which characterises all the operations 
of nature, proceeding silently, yet ' perfecting all things.' 
As the rulers of the world attain to this same way in their 
government, and the sages among men attain to it in their 
teachings, both government and doctrine arrive at a corre- 
sponding perfection. ' The joy of Heaven ' and ' the joy of 
Men ' are both realised. There ought to be no purpose or 
will in the universe. ' Vacancy, stillness, placidity, tasteless- 
ness, quietude, silence, and non-action ; this is the perfection 
of the Tao and its characteristics.' 

Our author dwells especially on doing-nothing or non- 
action as the subject-matter of the Book. But as the world 
is full of doing, he endeavours to make a distinction between 
the Ruling Powers and those subordinate to and employed 
by them, to whom doing or action and purpose, though 
still without the thought of self, are necessary; and by 
this distinction he seems to me to give up the peculiarity 
of his system, so that some of the critics, especially Au- 
yang Hsiu, are obliged to confess that these portions of 
the Book are unlike the writing of -Xwang-jze. Still the 
antagonism of Taoism to Confucianism is very apparent 

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throughout. Of the illustrative paragraphs, the seventh, 
relating the churlish behaviour of Lao-jze to Confucius, 
and the way in which he subsequently argues with him 
and snubs him, is very amusing. The eighth paragraph, 
relating the interview between Lao and Shih-^ang Kh\, is 
very strange. The allusions in it to certain incidents and 
peculiarities in Lao's domestic life make us wish that we 
had fuller accounts of his history ; and the way in which 
he rates his disciple shows him as a master of the language 
of abuse. 

The concluding paragraph about duke Hwan of KM is 
interesting, but I can only dimly perceive its bearing on 
the argument of the Book. 

Book XIV. Thien Yun. 

The contrast between the movement of the heavens 
(3^ illt)> anc * tne rest ' n g °f tne earth (i(Jj J||), requires 
the translation of the characters of the title by 'The 
Revolution of Heaven.' But that idea does not enter 
largely into the subject-matter of the Book. ' The whole,' 
says Hsiian Ying, 'consists of eight paragraphs, the first 
three of which show that under the sky there is nothing 
which is not dominated by the T«io, with which the 
Tis and the Kings have only to act in accordance ; while 
the last five set forth how the T & o is not to be found in 
the material forms and changes of things, but in a spirit- 
like energy working imperceptibly, developing and con- 
trolling all phenomena.' 

I have endeavoured in the notes on the former three 
paragraphs to make their meaning less obscure and uncon- 
nected than it is on a first perusal. The five illustrative 
paragraphs are, we may assume, all of them factitious, and 
can hardly be received as genuine productions of /Twang- 
jze. In the sixth paragraph, or at least a part of it, Lin 
Hsi-kung acknowledges the hand of the forger, and not 
less unworthy of credence are in my opinion the rest of it 
and much of the other four paragraphs. If they may be 

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taken as from the hand of our author himself, he was too 
much devoted to his own system to hold the balance of 
judgment evenly between Lao and Khung. 

Book XV. Kho t. 

I can think of no better translation for 3§"|J w, the two 
first characters of the Book, and which appear as its title, 
than our ' Ingrained Ideas ; ' notions, that is, held as firmly 
as if they were cut into the substance of the mind. They 
do not belong to the whole Book, however, but only to 
the first member of the first paragraph. That paragraph 
describes six classes of men, only the last of which are the 
right followers of the Tao ; — the Sages, from the Taoistic 
point of view, who again are in the last sentence of the last 
paragraph identified with ' the True Men ' described at 
length in the sixth Book. The fifth member of this first 
paragraph is interesting as showing how there was a class 
of Taoists who cultivated the system with a view to obtain 
longevity by their practices in the management of the 
breath ; yet our author does not accord to them his full 
approbation, while at the same time the higher Taoism ap- 
pears in the last paragraph, as promoting longevity without 
the management of the breath. KhU Po-hsiu, in his com- 
mentary on ^Twang-jze, which was published in 13 10, gives 
Po-i and Shu-MJ as instances of the first class spoken 
of here ; Confucius and Mencius, of the second ; 1 Yin and 
Fu Yiieh, of the third ; Khko Fu and Hsu Yd, as instances 
of the fourth. Of the fifth class he gives no example, but 
that of Phang 3& mentioned in it. 

That which distinguishes the genuine sage, the True 
Man of Taoism, is his pure simplicity in pursuing the Way, 
as it is seen in the operation of Heaven and Earth, and 
nourishing his spirit accordingly, till there ensues an 
ethereal amalgamation between his Way and the orderly 
operation of Heaven. This subject is pursued to the end of 
the Book. The most remarkable predicate of the spirit so 
trained is that in the third paragraph, — that ' Its name is the 

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same as TJ or God ; ' on which none of the critics has been 
able to throw any satisfactory light. Balfour's version 
is : — ' Its name is called " One with God ; " ' Giles's, * Its 
name is then " Of God," ' the ' then ' being in conse- 
quence of his view that the subject is 'man's spiritual 
existence before he is born into the world of mortals.' My 
own view of the meaning appears in my version. 

Lin Hsi-^ung, however, calls the genuineness of the 
whole Book into question, and thinks it may have proceeded 
from the same hand as Book XIII. They have certainly 
one peculiarity in common ; — many references to sayings 
which cannot be traced, but are introduced by the formula 
of quotation, * Therefore, it is said.' 

Book XVI. Shan Hsing. 

' Rectifying or Correcting the Nature ' is the meaning of 
the title, and expresses sufficiently well the subject-matter 
of the Book. It was written to expose the ' vulgar ' learn- 
ing of the time as contrary to the principles of the true 
Taoism, that learning being, according to Lu Shu-^ih, 
' the teachings of Hui-jze and Kung-sun Lung.' It is to be 
wished that we had fuller accounts of these. But see in 

Many of the critics are fond of comparing the Book 
with the 31st chapter of the 7th Book of Mencius, part 1, — 
where that philosopher sets forth ' Man's own nature as the 
most important thing to him, and the source of his true 
enjoyment,' which no one can read without admiration. 
But we have more sympathy with Mencius's fundamental 
views about our human nature, than with those of ^Twang- 
jze and his Taoism. Lin Hsi-^ung is rather inclined to 
doubt the genuineness of the Book. Though he admires its 
composition, and admits the close and compact sequence of 
its sentences, there is yet something about it that does not 
smack of ifwang-jze's style. Rather there seems to me to 
underlie it the antagonism of Lao and ^Twang to the 
learning of the Confucian school. The only characteristic 

L 2 

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of our author which I miss, is the illustrative stories of 
which he is generally so profuse. In this the Book agrees 
with the preceding. 

Book XVII. Kmti Shui. 

Khiu Shui, or 'Autumn Waters,' the first two characters 
of the first paragraph of this Book, are adopted as its title. 
Its subject, in that paragraph, however, is not so much the 
waters of autumn, as the greatness of the Tao in its spon- 
taneity, when it has obtained complete dominion over man. 
No illustration of the Tao is so great a favourite with 
Lao-jze as water, but he loved to set it forth in its quiet, 
onward movement, always seeking the lowest place, and 
always exercising a beneficent influence. But water is here 
before isfwang-jze in its mightiest volume, — the inundated 
Ho and the all but boundless magnitude of the ocean ; and 
as he takes occasion from those phenomena to deliver his 
lessons, I translate the title by ' The Floods of Autumn.' 

To adopt the account of the Book given by Lfi Shfi- 
k'\h. : — ' This Book,' he says, ' shows how its spontaneity 
is the greatest characteristic of the Tao, and the chief 
thing inculcated in it is that we must not allow the human 
element to extinguish in our constitution the Heavenly. 

' First, using the illustrations of the Ho and the Sea, our 
author gives us to see the Five Tts and the Kings of the 
Three dynasties as only exhibiting the Tao in a small de- 
gree, while its great development is not to be found in out - 
ward form and appliances so that it cannot be described in 
words, and it is difficult to find its point of commencement, 
which indeed appears to be impracticable, while still by doing 
nothing the human may be united with the Heavenly, and 
men may bring back their True condition. By means of 
the conversations between the guardian spirit of the Ho and 
Zo (the god) of the Sea this subject is exhaustively treated. 

'Next (in paragraph 8), the khwei, the millepede, and 
other subjects illustrate how the mind is spirit-like in its 
spontaneity and doing nothing. The case of Confucius (in 
par. 9) shows the same spontaneity, transforming violence. 

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Kung-sun Lung (in par. 10), refusing to comply with that 
spontaneity, and seeking victory by his sophistical reason- 
ings, shows his wisdom to be only like the folly of the frog 
in the well. The remaining three paragraphs bring before 
us iTwang-jze by the spontaneity of his Tao, now superior 
to the allurements of rank ; then, like the phoenix flying 
aloft, as enjoying himself in perfect ease ; and finally, as 
like the fishes, in the happiness of his self-possession.' Such 
is a brief outline of this interesting chapter. Many of the 
critics would expunge the ninth and tenth paragraphs as 
unworthy of ^Twang-jze, the former as misrepresenting 
Confucius, the latter as extolling himself. I think they 
may both be allowed to stand as from his pencil. 

Book XVIII. A'ih Lo. 

The title of this Book, Kih. Lo, or ' Perfect Enjoyment,' 
may also be received as describing the subject-matter of it. 
But the author does not tell us distinctly what he means by 
' Perfect Enjoyment.' It seems to involve two elements, — 
freedom from trouble and distress, and freedom from the 
fear of death. What men seek for as their chief good 
would only be to him burdens. He does not indeed alto- 
gether condemn them, but his own quest is the better and 
more excellent way. His own enjoyment is to be obtained 
by means of doing nothing ; that is, by the Tao ; of which 
passionless and purposeless action is a chief characteristic ; 
and is at the same time the most effective action, as is illus- 
trated in the operation of heaven and earth. 

Such is the substance of the first paragraph. The second 
is interesting as showing how his principle controlled 
.Swang-jze on the death of his wife. Paragraph 3 shows 
us two professors of Taoism delivered by it from the fear 
of their own death. Paragraph 4 brings our author be- 
fore us talking to a skull, and then the skull's appearance 
to him in a dream and telling him of the happiness of 
the state after death. Paragraph 5 is occupied with Con- 
fucius and his favourite disciple Yen Hui. It stands by 
itself, unconnected with the rest of the Book, and its 

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genuineness is denied by some commentators. The last 
paragraph, found in an enlarged form in the Books ascribed 
to Lieh-jze, has as little to do as the fifth with the general 
theme of the Book, and is a strange anticipation in China 
of the transrotation or transformation system of Buddhism. 
Indeed, after reading this Book, we cease to wonder that 
Taoism and Buddhism should in many practices come so 
near each other. 

Book XIX. Ta ShAng. 

I have been inclined to translate the title of this Book 
by ' The Fuller Understanding of Life,' with reference to 
what is said in the second Book on ' The Nourishment of 
the Lord of Life.' There the Life before the mind of the 
writer is that of the Body ; here he extends his view also 
to the Life of the Spirit. The one subject is not kept, 
however, with sufficient distinctness apart from the other, 
and the profusion of illustrations, taken, most of them, from 
the works of Lieh-jze, is perplexing. 

To use the words of Lu Shu-^ih : — ' This Book shows 
how he who would skilfully nourish his life, must maintain 
his spirit complete, and become one with Heaven. These 
two ideas preside in it throughout. In par. 2, the words of 
the Warden Yin show that the spirit kept complete is 
beyond the reach of harm. In 3, the illustration of the 
hunchback shows how the will must be maintained free 
from all confusion. In 4, that of the ferryman shows that 
to the completeness of the spirit there is required the dis- 
regard of life or death. In 5 and 6, the words of Thien 
Khai-£ih convey a warning against injuring the life by the 
indulgence of sensual desires. In 7, the sight of a sprite by 
duke Hwan unsettles his spirit. In 8, the gamecock is 
trained so as to preserve the spirit unagitated. In 9, we 
see the man in the water of the cataract resting calmly in 
his appointed lot. In 10, we have the maker of the bell- 
stand completing his work as he did in accordance with 
the mind of Heaven. All these instances show how the 

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spirit is nourished. The reckless charioteering of Tung Ye 
in par. u, not stopping when the strength of his horses was 
exhausted, and the false pretext of Sun Hsiu, clear as at 
noon-day, are instances of a different kind ; while in the 
skilful Shui, hardly needing the application of his mind, and 
fully enjoying himself in all things, his movements testify of 
his harmony with Heaven, and his spiritual completeness.' 

Book XX. Shan Mu. 

It requires a little effort to perceive that Shan Mu, the 
title of this Book, does not belong to it as a whole, but 
only to the first of its nine paragraphs. That speaks of a 
large tree which our author once saw on a mountain. The 
other paragraphs have nothing to do with mountain trees, 
large or small. As the last Book might be considered to 
be supplementary to ' the Nourishment of Life,' discussed 
in Book III, so this is taken as having the same relation 
to Book IV, which treats of ' Man in the World, associated 
with other men.' It shows by its various narratives, some 
of which are full of interest, how by a strict observance of 
the principles and lessons of the Tao a man may preserve 
his life and be happy, may do the right thing and enjoy 
himself and obtain the approbation of others in the various 
circumstances in which he may be placed. The themes 
both of Books I and IV blend together in it. Paragraph 
8 has more the character of an apologue than most of 
.Swang-jze's stories. 

Book XXI. Thien 3ze-fang. 

Thien 3 z e-fang is merely the name of one of the men 
who appear in the first paragraph. That he was a his- 
torical character is learned from the ' Plans of the Warring 
States,' XIV, art. 6, where we find him at the court of the 
marquis Wan of Wei (b. c. 424-387), acting as counsellor to 
that ruler. Thien was his surname ; 3ze-fang his designa- 

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tion, and Wu-£ai his name. He has nothing to do with 
any of the paragraphs but the first. 

It is not easy to reduce all the narratives or stories in the 
Book to one category. The fifth, seventh, and eighth, indeed, 
are generally rejected as spurious, or unworthy of our 
author ; and the sixth and ninth are trivial, though the 
ninth bears all the marks of his graphic style. Paragraphs 
3 and 4 are both long and important. A common idea in 
them and in 1, 2, and 10 seems to be that the presence and 
power of the Tao cannot be communicated by words, and 
are independent of outward condition and circumstances. 

Book XXII. Km Pei YO. 

With this Book the Second Part of iTwang-jze's Essays 
or Treatises ends. ' All the Books in it/ says Lu Shu-^ih, 
' show the opposition of Taoism to the pursuit of know- 
ledge as enjoined in the Confucian and other schools ; and 
this Book may be regarded as the deepest, most vehement, 
and clearest of them all.' The concluding sentences of 
the last paragraph and Lao-jze's advice to Confucius in 
par. 5, to ' sternly repress his knowledge,' may be referred 
to as illustrating the correctness of Lu's remark. 

Book seventeenth is commonly considered to be the most 
eloquent of .fifwang-jze's Treatises, but this twenty-second 
Book is not inferior to it in eloquence, and it is more charac- 
teristic of his method of argument. The way in which he 
runs riot in the names with which he personifies the attri- 
butes of the Tao, is a remarkable instance of the subtle 
manner in which he often brings out his ideas ; and in no 
other Book does he set forth more emphatically what his 
own idea of the Tao was, though the student often fails to 
be certain that he has exactly caught the meaning. 

The title, let it be observed, belongs only to the first 
paragraph. The K\h in it must be taken in the sense of 
' knowledge,' and not of ' wisdom.' 

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Book XXIII. KAng-sang Khv. 

It is not at all certain that there ever was such a per- 
sonage as Kang-sangiTM, who gives its name to the Book. 
In his brief memoir of /sTwang-$ze, Sze-ma Kkien spells, as 
we should say, the first character of the surname differently, 
and for the Kang (^), employs Khang (^), adding his 
own opinion, that there was nothing in reality corresponding 
to the account given of the characters in this and some 
other Books. They would be therefore the inventions of 
^Twang-jze, devised by him to serve his purpose in setting 
forth the teaching of Lao-jze. It may have been so, but 
the value of the Book would hardly be thereby affected. 

Lu Shu-^ih gives the following very brief account of the 
contents. Borrowing the language of Mencius concerning 
Yen Hui and two other disciples of Confucius as compared 
with the sage, he says, ' Kang-sang KM had all the mem- 
bers of Lao-jze, but in small proportions. To outward 
appearance he was above such as abjure sagehood and put 
knowledge away, but still he was unable to transform Nan- 
yung Khu, whom therefore he sent to Lao-jze ; and he 
announced to him the doctrine of the Tao that everything 
was done by doing nothing.' 

The reader will see that this is a very incomplete sum- 
mary of the contents of the Book. We find in it the 
Taoistic ideal of the ' Perfect Man,' and the discipline both 
of body and mind through the depths of the system by 
means of which it is possible for a disciple to become such. 

Book XXIV. Hsti Wu-kwei. 

This Book is named from the first three characters in it, 
the surname and name of Hsu Wu-kwei, who plays the 
most important part in the first two paragraphs, and does 
not further appear. He comes before us as a well-known 
recluse of Wei, who visits the court to offer his counsels to 
the marquis of the state. But whether there ever was such 

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a man, or whether he was only a creation of /Twang-jze, we 
cannot, so far as I know, tell. 

Scattered throughout the Book are the lessons so common 
with our author against sagehood and knowledge, and on 
the quality of doing nothing and thereby securing the doing 
of everything. The concluding chapter is one of the finest 
descriptions in the whole Work of the Tao and of the 
Taoistic idea of Heaven. ' There are in the Book,' says 
Lfi Fang, ' many dark and mysterious expressions. It is 
not to be read hastily ; but the more it is studied, the more 
flavour will there be found in it.' 

Book XXV. 3eh-yang. 

This Book is named from the first two characters in it, — 
'3eh-yang,' which again are the designation of a gentle- 
man of Lu, called Phang Yang, who comes before us in 

KM, seeking for an introduction to the king of that state, 
with the view, we may suppose, of giving him good counsel. 
Whether he ever got the introduction which he desired we do 
not know. The mention of him only serves to bring in three 
other individuals, all belonging to KM, and the characters 
of two of them ; but we hear no more of 3eh-yang. The 
second and third paragraphs are, probably, sequels to the 
first, but his name does not appear. 

The paragraphs from 4 to 9 have more or less interest in 
themselves ; but it is not easy to trace in them any sequence 
of thought. The tenth and eleventh are more important. 
The former deals with ' the Talk of the Hamlets and Vil- 
lages,' the common sentiments of men, which, correct and 
just in themselves, are not to be accepted as a sufficient 
expression of the Tao ; the latter sets forth how the name 
Tao itself is only a metaphorical term, used for the pur- 
pose of description ; as if the Tao were a thing, and not 
capable, therefore, from its material derivation of giving 
adequate expression to our highest notion of what it is. 

' The Book,' says Lu Shfi-£ih, ' illustrates how the Great 
Tao cannot be described by any name ; that men ought to 

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stop where they do not really know, and not try to find it 
in any phenomenon, or in any event or thing. They must 
forget both speech and silence, and then they may approxi- 
mate to the idea of the Great Tao.' 

Book XXVI. Wai wft. 

The first two characters of the first paragraph are again 
adopted as the title of the Book,— Wai Wu, ' External 
Things;' and the lesson supposed to be taught in it is that 
expressed in the first sentence, that the influence of external 
things on character and condition cannot be determined 
beforehand. It may be good, it may be evil. Mr. Balfour 
has translated the two characters by ' External Advantages.' 
Hu Wan-ying interprets them of ' External Disadvantages.' 
The things may in fact be either of these. What seems 
useless may be productive of the greatest services ; and 
what men deem most advantageous may turn out to be 
most hurtful to them. 

What really belongs to man is the Tao. That is his 
own, sufficient for his happiness, and cannot be taken from 
him, if he prize it and cultivate it. But if he neglect it, and 
yield to external influences unfavourable to it, he may 
become bad, and suffer all that is most hateful to him and 

Readers must judge for themselves of the way in which 
the subject is illustrated in the various paragraphs. Some 
of the stories are pertinent enough ; others are wide of the 
mark. The second, third, and fourth paragraphs are gene- 
rally held to be spurious, ' poor in composition, and not at 
all to the point.' If my note on the ' six faculties of percep- 
tion ' in par. 9 be correct, we must admit in it a Buddhistic 
hand, modifying the conceptions of -STwang-jze after he 
had passed away. 

Book XXVII. Yu Yen. 

Yu Yen, ' Metaphorical Words,' stand at the commence- 
ment of the Book, and have been adopted as its name. 

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1 56 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. xxviii. 

They might be employed to denote its first paragraph, but 
are not applicable to the Book as a whole. Nor let the 
reader expect to find even here any disquisition on the 
nature of the metaphor as a figure of speech. Translated 
literally, 'YiiYen' are 'Lodged Words,' that is, Ideas 
that receive their meaning or character from their environ- 
ment, the narrative or description in which they are 

.ffwang-jze wished, I suppose, to give some description 
of the style in which he himself wrote : — now metaphorical, 
now abounding in quotations, and throughout moulded by 
his Taoistic views. This last seems to be the meaning 
of his Kih. Yen, — literally, 'Cup, or Goblet, Words,' that is, 
words, common as the water constantly supplied in the 
cup, but all moulded by the Taoist principle, the element 
of and from Heaven blended in man's constitution and that 
should direct and guide his conduct. The best help in the 
interpretation of the paragraph is derived from a study of 
the difficult second Book, as suggested in the notes. 

Of the five paragraphs that follow the first, the second 
relates to the change of views, which, it is said, took place 
in Confucius ; the third, to the change of feeling in 3ang-jze 
in his poverty and prosperity ; the fourth, to changes of 
character produced in his disciple by the teachings of Tung- 
kwo 3ze-£/zt ; the fifth, to the changes in the appearance of 
the shadow produced by the ever-changing substance ; 
and the sixth, to the change of spirit and manner produced 
in Yang K\X by the stem lesson of Lao-jze. 

Various other lessons, more or less appropriate and im- 
portant, are interspersed. 

Some critics argue that this Book must have originally 
been one with the thirty-second, which was made into two 
by the insertion between its Parts of the four spurious 
intervening Books, but this is uncertain and unlikely. 

Book XXVIII. Zang Wang. 
Zang Wang, explaining the characters as I have done, 

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fairly indicates the subject-matter of the Book. Not that 
we have a king in every illustration, but the personages 
adduced are always men of worth, who decline the throne, 
or gift, or distinction of whatever nature, proffered to them, 
and feel that they have something better to live for. 

A persuasion, however, is widely spread, that this Book 
and the three that follow are all spurious. The first critic 
of note to challenge their genuineness was Su Shih (better 
known as Su Tung-pho, A. D. 1036-1 101); and now, some 
of the best editors, such as Lin Hsi-^ung, do not admit 
them into their texts, while others who are not bold enough 
to exclude them altogether, do not think it worth their 
while to discuss them seriously. Hu Wan-ying, for in- 
stance, says, ' Their style is poor and mean, and they are, 
without doubt, forgeries. I will not therefore trouble 
myself with comments of praise or blame upon them. The 
reader may accept or reject them at his pleasure.' 

But something may be said for them. Sze-ma K/iien 
seems to have been acquainted with them all. In his 
short biographical notice of iTwang-jze, he says, ' He made 
the Old Fisherman, the Robber Kih, and the Cutting 
Open Satchels, to defame and calumniate the disciples of 
Confucius.' K/iien does not indeed mention our present 
Book along with XXX and XXXI, but it is less open to 
objection on the ground he mentions than they are. I think 
if it had stood alone, it would not have been condemned. 

Book XXIX. Tao Km. 

It has been seen above that Sze-ma A^ien expressly 
ascribes the Book called ' the Robber Kih. ' to iTwang- 
jze. KMen refers also in another place to Kih, adducing 
the facts of his history in contrast with those about 
Confucius' favourite disciple Yen Hui as inexplicable on 
the supposition of a just and wise Providence. We must 
conclude therefore that the Book existed in K/neris 
time, and that he had read it. On the other hand it has 
been shown that Confucius could not have been on terms 

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of friendship with Liu-hsia K\, and all that is related of his 
brother the robber wants substantiation. That such a man 
ever existed appears to me very doubtful. Are we to put 
down the whole of the first paragraph then as a jeu 
d' esprit on the part of isfwang-jze, intended to throw 
ridicule on Confucius and what our author considered his 
pedantic ways ? It certainly does so, and we are amused 
to hear the sage outcrowed by the robber. 

In the other two paragraphs we have good instances of 
ATwang-jze's ' metaphorical expressions,' his coinage of 
names for his personages, more or less ingeniously indi- 
cating their characters ; but in such cases the element of 
time or chronology does not enter ; and it is the anachro- 
nism of the first paragraph which constitutes its chief 

The name of ' Robber K'\\l ' may be said to be a coinage ; 
and that a famous robber was popularly indicated by the 
name appears from its use by Mencius (III, ii, ch. 10, 3), to 
explain which the commentators have invented the story of 
a robber so-called in the time of Hwang-Ti, in the twenty- 
seventh century B.C.! Was there really such a legend? 
and did ./sfwang-jze take advantage of it to apply the name 
to a notorious and disreputable brother of Liu-hsia K\} 
Still there remain the anachronisms in the paragraph which 
have been pointed out. On the whole we must come to 
a conclusion rather unfavourable to the genuineness of the 
Book. But it must have been forged at a very early time, 
and we have no idea by whom. 

Book XXX. Yueh ATien. 

We need not suppose that anything ever occurred in 
isfwang-jze's experience such as is described here. The 
whole narrative is metaphorical; and that he himself is 
made to play the part in it which he describes, only shows 
how the style of writing in which he indulged was ingrained 
into the texture of his mind. We do not know that there 
ever was a ruler of Kko who indulged in the love of the 

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sword-fight, and kept about him a crowd of vulgar bravoes 
such as the story describes. We may be assured that our 
author never wore the bravo's dress or girt on him the 
bravo's sword. The whole is a metaphorical representation 
of the way in which a besotted ruler might be brought to 
a feeling of his degradation, and recalled to a sense of his 
duty and the way in which he might fulfil it. The narrative 
is full of interest and force. I do not feel any great difficulty 
in accepting it as the genuine composition of ^Twang-jze. 
Who but himself could have composed it ? Was it a good- 
humoured caricature of him by an able Confucian writer to 
repay him for the ridicule he was fond of casting on the 

Book XXXI. Yu-Fft. 

' The Old Fisherman ' is the fourth of the Books in the 
collection of the writings of .ftTwang-jze to which, since the 
time of Su Shih, the epithet of ' spurious ' has been attached 
by many. My own opinion, however, has been already 
intimated that the suspicions of the genuineness of those 
Books have been entertained on insufficient grounds ; and 
so far as ' the Old Fisherman' is concerned, I am glad that it 
has come down to us, spurious or genuine. There may be 
a certain coarseness in ' the Robber A"ih,' which makes us 
despise Confucius or laugh at him ; but the satire in this 
Book is delicate, and we do not like the sage the less when 
he walks up the bank from the stream where he has been 
lectured by the fisherman. The pictures of him and his 
disciples in the forest, reading and singing on the Apricot 
Terrace, and of the old man slowly impelling his skiff to 
the land and then as quietly impelling it away till it is lost 
among the reeds, are delicious ; there is nothing finer of its 
kind in the volume. What hand but that of ./Twang-jze, 
so light in its touch and yet so strong, both incisive and 
decisive, could have delineated them ? 

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l6o THE TEXTS OF TAOISM, bk. xxxn. 

Book XXXII. Lieh Yu-khAu. 

Lieh Yii-khau, the surname and name of Lieh-jze, with 
which the first paragraph commences, have become current 
as the name of the Book, though they have nothing to do 
with any but that one paragraph, which is found also in the 
second Book of the writings ascribed to Lieh-jze. There 
are some variations in the two Texts, but they are so slight 
that we cannot look on them as proofs that the two passages 
are narratives of independent origin. 

Various difficulties surround the questions of the existence 
of Lieh-jze, and of the work which bears his name. They 
will be found distinctly and dispassionately stated and 
discussed in the 146th chapter of the Catalogue of the 
.Oien-lung Imperial Library. The writers seem to me to 
make it out that there was such a man, but they do not 
make it clear when he lived, or how his writings assumed 
their present form. There is a statement of Liu Hsiang 
that he lived in the time of duke Mu of Afang (B.C. 627- 
606) ; but in that case he must have been earlier than 
Lao-jze himself, whom he very frequently quotes. The 
writers think that Lul's ' Mu of Kang' should be Mu of Lu 
(B.C. 409-377), which would make him not much anterior 
to Mencius and Awang-jze ; but this is merely an ingenious 
conjecture. As to the composition of his chapters, they are 
evidently not at first hand from Lieh, but by some one of 
his disciples ; whether they were current in ATwang-jze's 
days, and he made use of various passages from them, or 
those passages were ./sTwang-jze's originally, and taken from 
him by the followers of Lieh-jze and added to what frag- 
ments they had of their master's teaching ; — these are points 
which must be left undetermined. 

Whether the narrative about Lieh be from ^Twang-jze 
or not, its bearing on his character is not readily appre- 
hended ; but, as we study it, we seem to understand that 
his master Wu-^an condemned him as not having fully 
attained to the Tao, but owing his influence with others 

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mainly to the manifestation of his merely human qualities. 
And this is the lesson which our author keeps before him, 
more or less distinctly, in all his paragraphs. As Lu 
Shu-£ih says : — 

'This Book also sets forth Doing Nothing as the 
essential condition of the Tao. Lieh-jze, frightened at the 
respect shown to him by the soup-vendors, and yet by his 
human doings drawing men to him, disowns the rule of the 
heavenly ; Hwan of -^ang, thinking himself different from 
other men, does not know that Heaven recompenses men 
according to their employment of the heavenly in them ; 
the resting of the sages in their proper rest shows how the 
ancients pursued the heavenly and not the human ; the 
one who learned to slay the Dragon, but afterwards did not 
exercise his skill, begins with the human, but afterwards 
goes on to the heavenly ; in those who do not rest in the 
heavenly, and perish by the inward war, we see how the 
small men do not know the secret of the Great Repose; 
3hao Shang, glorying in the carriages which he had ac- 
quired, is still farther removed from the heavenly ; when 
Yen Ho shows that the sage, in imparting his instructions, 
did not follow the example of Heaven in diffusing its 
benefits, we learn that it is only the Doing Nothing of 
the. True Man which is in agreement with Heaven ; the 
difficulty of knowing the mind of man, and the various 
methods required to test it, show the readiness with which, 
when not under the rule of Heaven, it seems to go after 
what is right, and the greater readiness with which it again 
revolts from it; in Khao-fu, the Correct, we have one 
indifferent to the distinctions of rank, and from him we 
advance to the man who understands the great condition 
appointed for him, and is a follower of Heaven ; then 
comes he who plays the thief under the chin of the Black 
Dragon, running the greatest risks on a mere peradventure 
of success, a resolute opponent of Heaven ; and finally we 
have isfwang-jze despising the ornaments of the sacrificial 
ox, looking in the same way at the worms beneath and the 
kites overhead, and regarding himself as quite independent 
[39] M 

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1 62 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. BK. xxxill. 

of them, thus giving us an example of the embodiment of 
the spiritual, and of harmony with Heaven.' 

So does this ingenious commentator endeavour to ex- 
hibit the one idea in the Book, and show the unity of its 
different paragraphs. 

Book XXXIII. Thien Hsia. 

The Thien Hsid with which this Book commences is in 
regimen, and cannot be translated, so as to give an adequate 
idea of the scope of the Book, or even of the first paragraph 
to which it belongs. The phrase itself means literally ' under 
heaven or the sky,' and is used as a denomination of ' the 
kingdom,' and, even more widely, of ' the world ' or ' all men.' 
'Historical Phases of Taoist Teaching' would be nearly 
descriptive of the subject-matter of the Book ; but may be ob- 
jected to on two grounds: — first, that a chronological method 
is not observed, and next, that the concluding paragraph can 
hardly be said to relate to Taoism at all, but to the sophisti- 
cal teachers, which abounded in the age of A'wang-jze. 

Par. i sketches with a light hand the nature of Taoism 
and the forms which it assumed from the earliest times to 
the era of Confucius, as imperfectly represented by him and 
his school. 

Par. a introduces us to the system of Mo Ti and his 
school as an erroneous form of Taoism, and departing, as it 
continued, farther and farther from the old model. 

Par. 3 deals with a modification of Mohism, advocated 
by scholars who are hardly heard of elsewhere. 

Par. 4 treats of a further modification of this modified 
Mohism, held by scholars 'whose Tao was not the true 
Tao, and whose " right " was really "wrong."' 

Par. 5 goes back to the era of Lao-jze, and mentions him 
and Kwan Yin, as the men who gave to the system of Tao 
a grand development. 

Par. 6 sets forth ATwang-jze as following in their steps 
and going beyond them, the brightest luminary of the 

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Par. 7 leaves Taoism, and brings up Hui Shih and other 

Whether the Book should be received as from /sTwang-jze 
himself or from some early editor of his writings is ' a vexed 
question.' If it did come from his pencil, he certainly had 
a good opinion of himself. It is hard for a foreign student 
at this distant time to be called on for an opinion on the 
one side or the other. 

M 2 

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Part I. Section I. 

Hsiao-yao Yu, or 'Enjoyment in Untroubled 

Ease V 

i. In the Northern Ocean there is a fish, the name 
of which is Khwan 2 , — I do not know how many li 
in size. It changes into a bird with the name of 
Phang, the back of which is (also) — I do not know 
how many li in extent. When this bird rouses itself 
and flies, its wings are like clouds all round the sky. 
When the sea is moved (so as to bear it along), it 
prepares to remove to the Southern Ocean. The 
Southern Ocean is the Pool of Heaven. 

1 See notice on pp. 127, 128, on the Title and Subject-matter 
of the Book. 

2 The khwan and the phang are both fabulous creatures, far 
transcending in size the dimensions ascribed by the wildest fancy 
of the West to the kraken and the roc. .ATwang-jze represents 
them as so huge by way of contrast to the small creatures which 
he is intending to introduce ; — to show that size has nothing to do 
with the Tao, and the perfect enjoyment which the possession of 
it affords. The passage is a good specimen of the Yu Yen 
(3|J| =3), metaphorical or parabolical narratives or stories, which 
are the chief characteristic of our author's writings ; but the reader 
must keep in mind that the idea or lesson in its ' lodging ' is gene- 
rally of a Taoistic nature. 

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There is the (book called) Khi Hsieh 1 , — a record 
of marvels. We have in it these words : — ' When 
the phang is removing to the Southern Ocean it 
flaps (its wings) on the water for 3000 li. Then it 
ascends on a whirlwind 90,000 11, and it rests only 
at the end of six months.' (But similar to this is the 
movement of the breezes which we call) the horses 
of the fields, of the dust (which quivers in the sun- 
beams), and of living things as they are blown 
against one another by the air 2 . Is its azure the 
proper colour of the sky ? Or is it occasioned by its 
distance and illimitable extent ? If one were looking 
down (from above), the very same appearance would 
just meet his view. 

2. And moreover, (to speak of) the accumulation 
of water ; — if it be not great, it will not have strength 
to support a large boat. Upset a cup of water in a 
cavity, and a straw will float on it as if it were a 
boat. Place a cup in it, and it will stick fast ; — the 
water is shallow and the boat is large. (So it is 
with) the accumulation of wind ; if it be not great, 
it will not have strength to support great wings. 
Therefore (the phang ascended to) the height of 
90,000 11, and there was such a mass of wind be- 
neath it ; thenceforth the accumulation of wind was 
sufficient. As it seemed to bear the blue sky on its 
back, and there was nothing to obstruct or arrest its 
course, it could pursue its way to the South. 

1 There may have been a book with this title, to which A'wang-jze 
appeals, as if feeling that what he had said needed to be substantiated. 

2 This seems to be interjected as an afterthought, suggesting to 
the reader that the phang, soaring along at such a height, was 
only an exaggerated form of the common phenomena with which 
he was familiar. 

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A cicada and a little dove laughed at it, saying, 
' We make an effort and fly towards an elm or sapan- 
wood tree ; and sometimes before we reach it, we can 
do no more but drop to the ground. Of what use 
is it for this (creature) to rise 90,000 li, and make 
for the South ? ' He who goes to the grassy suburbs 1 , 
returning to the third meal (of the day), will have 
his belly as full as when he set out ; he who goes to 
a distance of 100 11 will have to pound his grain 
where he stops for the night ; he who goes a thou- 
sand 11, will have to carry with him provisions for 
three months. What should these two small crea- 
tures know about the matter ? The knowledge of 
that which is small does not reach to that which is 
great ; (the experience of) a few years does not reach 
to that of many. How do we know that it is so ? 
The mushroom of a morning does not know (what 
takes place between) the beginning and end of a 
month ; the short-lived cicada does not know (what 
takes place between) the spring and autumn. These 
are instances of a short term of life. In the south 
of K/ixX 2 there is the (tree) called Ming-ling 3 , 
whose spring is 500 years, and its autumn the same ; 
in high antiquity there was that called Ti-Mun 4 , 

1 In Chinese, Mang 3hang; but this is not the name of any 
particular place. The phrase denotes the grassy suburbs (from 
their green colour), not far from any city or town. 

2 The great state of the South, having its capital Ying in the 
present Hu-pei, and afterwards the chief competitor with XAin for 
the sovereignty of the kingdom. 

3 Taken by some as the name of a tortoise. 

* This and the Ming-ling tree, as well as the mushroom men- 
tioned above, together with the khwan and phang, are all 
mentioned in the fifth Book of the writings of Lieh-jze, referred to 
in the next paragraph. 

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whose spring was 8000 years, and its autumn the 
same. And Phang ,3ft 1 is the one man renowned 
to the present day for his length of life : — if all men 
were (to wish) to match him, would they not be 
miserable ? 

3. In the questions put by Thang 2 to Ki we have 
similar statements : — ' In the bare and barren north 
there is the dark and vast ocean, — the Pool of 
Heaven. In it there is a fish, several thousand 11 
in breadth, while no one knows its length. Its name 
is the khwan. There is (also) a bird named the 
phang; its back is like the Thai mountain, while 
its wings are like clouds all round the sky. On a 
whirlwind it mounts upwards as on the whorls of 
a goat's horn for 90,000 1 1, till, far removed from the 
cloudy vapours, it bears on its back the blue sky, 
and then it shapes its course for the South, and pro- 
ceeds to the ocean there.' A quail by the side of a 
marsh laughed at it, and said, ' Where is it going to ? 
I spring up with a bound, and come down again 
when I have reached but a few fathoms, and then 
fly about among the brushwood and bushes ; and 

1 Or 'the patriarch Phang.' Confucius compared himself to 
him (Analects, VII, i) ; — ' our old Phang ; ' and Ku Hsi thinks he 
was a worthy officer of the Shang dynasty. Whoever he was, the 
legends about him are a mass of Taoistic fables. At the end of 
the Shang dynasty (b. c. 1123) he was more than 767 years old, 
and still in unabated vigour. We read of his losing 49 wives and 
54 sons ; and that he still left two sons, Wu and 1, who died in 
Fu-iien, and gave their names to the Wu-i, or Bu-i hills, from 
which we get our Bohea tea ! See Mayers' ' Chinese Reader's 
Manual,' p. 175. 

2 The founder of the Shang dynasty (b. c. 1766-1754). In 
Lieh-jze his interlocutor is called Hsia Ko, and ^ze-k\. 

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this is the perfection of flying. Where is that crea- 
ture going to ? ' This shows the difference between 
the small and the great. 

Thus it is that men, whose wisdom is sufficient 
for the duties of some one office, or whose conduct 
will secure harmony in some one district, or whose 
virtue is befitting a ruler so that they could efficiently 
govern some one state, are sure to look on them- 
selves in this manner (like the quail), and yet Yung- 
jze 1 of Sung ' would have smiled and laughed at 
them. (This Yung-jze), though the whole world 
should have praised him, would not for that have 
stimulated himself to greater endeavour, and though 
the whole world should have condemned him, would 
not have exercised any more repression of his 
course ; so fixed was he in the difference between 
the internal (judgment of himself) and the external 
(judgment of others), so distinctly had he marked 
out the bounding limit of glory and disgrace. Here, 
however, he stopped. His place in the world indeed 
had become indifferent to him, but still he had not 
planted himself firmly (in the right position). 

There was Lieh-jze 2 , who rode on the wind and 
pursued his way, with an admirable indifference (to 

1 We can hardly tell who this Yung-$ze was. Sung was a 
duchy, comprehending portions of the present provinces of Ho- 
nan, An-hui, and AHang-su. 

2 See note on the title of Book XXXII. Whether there ever 
was a personage called Lieh-jze or Lieh Yii-khau, and what is the 
real character of the writings that go under his name, are questions 
that cannot be more than thus alluded to in a note. He is often 
introduced by ATwang-jze, and many narratives are common to 
their books. Here he comes before us, not as a thinker and writer, 
but as a semi-supernatural being, who has only not yet attained to 
the highest consummations of the Tao. 

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all external things), returning, however, after fifteen 
days, (to his place). In regard to the things that 
(are supposed to) contribute to happiness, he was 
free from all endeavours to obtain them ; but though 
he had not to walk, there was still something for 
which he had to wait. But suppose one who mounts 
on (the ether of) heaven and earth in its normal 
operation, and drives along the six elemental ener- 
gies of the changing (seasons), thus enjoying himself 
in the illimitable, — what has he to wait for 1 ? There- 
fore it is said, ' The Perfect man has no (thought of) 
self; the Spirit-like man, none of merit ; the Sagely- 
minded man, none of fame V 

4. Yao 2 , proposing to resign the throne to Hsu 
Yu 3 , said, ' When the sun and moon have come 
forth, if the torches have not been put out, would it 
not be difficult for them to give light ? When the 
seasonal rains are coming down, if we still keep 
watering the ground, will not our toil be labour lost 
for all the good it will do ? Do you, Master, stand 
forth (as sovereign), and the kingdom will (at once) 
be well governed. If I still (continue to) preside 
over it, I must look on myself as vainly occupying 
the place ; — I beg to resign the throne to you.' Hsii 

1 The description of a master of the Tao, exalted by it, unless 
the predicates about him be nothing but the ravings of a wild ex- 
travagance, above mere mortal man. In the conclusion, however, 
he is presented under three different phrases, which the reader 
will do well to keep in mind. 

2 The great sovereign with whom the documents of the Shu 
■King commence : — b. c. 2357-2257. 

3 A counsellor of Yao, who is once mentioned by Sze-ma .Oien 
in his account of Po-f, — in the first Book of his Biographies 
(^|J 4M)- Hsii Yu is here the instance of 'the Sagely man,' 
with whom the desire of a name or fame has no influence. 

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Yu said, 'You, Sir, govern the kingdom, and the 
kingdom is well governed. If I in these circum- 
stances take your place, shall I not be doing so for 
the sake of the name ? But the name is but the 
guest of the reality; — shall I be playing the part of 
the guest ? The tailor-bird makes its nest in the 
deep forest, but only uses a single branch ; the mole 1 
drinks from the Ho, but only takes what fills its 
belly. Return and rest in being ruler, — I will have 
nothing to do with the throne. Though the cook 
were not attending to his kitchen, the representative 
of the dead and the officer of prayer would not leave 
their cups and stands to take his place.' 

5. Ki&n Wu 2 asked Lien Shu 2 , saying, ' I heard 
A^ieh-yii 3 talking words which were great, but had 
nothing corresponding to them (in reality) ; — once 
gone, they could not be brought back. I was fright- 
ened by them ; — they were like the Milky Way * 
which cannot be traced to its beginning or end. 
They had no connexion with one another, and were 
not akin to the experiences of men.' ' What were 
his words ? ' asked Lien Shu, and the other replied, 
(He said) that ' Far away on the hill of Ku-shih 6 
there dwelt a Spirit-like man whose flesh and skin 

1 Some say the tapir. 

2 Known to us only through .ffwang-jze. 

3 ' The madman of Kh\i' of the Analects, XVIII, 5, who eschews 
intercourse with Confucius. See Hwang-fu Mi's account of him, 
under the surname and name of Lu Thung, in his Notices of Emi- 
nent Taoists, I, 25. 

* Literally, ' the Ho and the Han ; ' but the name of those 
rivers combined was used to denote ' the Milky Way.' 

6 See the Khang-hsi Thesaurus under the character |W\ All 
which is. said about the hill is that it was 'in the North Sea.' 

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were (smooth) as ice and (white) as snow ; that his 
manner was elegant and delicate as that of a virgin ; 
that he did not eat any of the five grains, but in- 
haled the wind and drank the dew ; that he mounted 
on the clouds, drove along the flying dragons, ram- 
bling and enjoying himself beyond the four seas ; 
that by the concentration of his spirit-like powers he 
could save men from disease and pestilence, and 
secure every year a plentiful harvest.' These words 
appeared to me wild and incoherent and I did not 
believe them. 'So it is,' said Lien Shu. ' The blind 
have no perception of the beauty of elegant figures, 
nor the deaf of the sound of bells and drums. But 
is it only the bodily senses of which deafness and 
blindness can be predicated ? There is also a simi- 
lar defect in the intelligence ; and of this your words 
supply an illustration in yourself. That man, with 
those attributes, though all things were one mass of 
confusion, and he heard in that condition the whole 
world crying out to him to be rectified, would not 
have to address himself laboriously to the task, as 
if it were his business to rectify the world. Nothing 
could hurt that man ; the greatest floods, reaching 
to the sky, could not drown him, nor would he feel 
the fervour of the greatest heats melting metals and 
stones till they flowed, and scorching all the ground 
and hills. From the dust and chaff of himself, he 
could still mould and fashion Yaos and Shuns * ; — 
how should he be willing to occupy himself with 
things 2 ?' 

1 Shun was the successor of Yao in the ancient kingdom. 

2 All this description is to give us an idea of the ' Spirit-like 
man.' We have in it the results of the Tdo in its fullest em- 

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6. A man of Sung, who dealt in the ceremonial 
caps (of Yin) 1 , went with them to Yiieh 2 , the people 
of which cut off their hair and tattooed their bodies, 
so that they had no use for them. Yao ruled the 
people of the kingdom, and maintained a perfect 
government within the four seas. Having gone to 
see the four (Perfect) Ones 3 on the distant hill of 
Ku-shih, when (he returned to his capital) on the 
south of the Fan water 4 , his throne appeared no 
more to his deep-sunk oblivious eyes 5 . 

7. Hui-jze 6 told Afwang-jze, saying, ' The king of 
Wei 7 sent me some seeds of a large calabash, which 
I sowed. The fruit, when fully grown, could contain 
five piculs (of anything). I used it to contain water, 

1 See the Li K\, IX, iii, 3. 

2 A state-, part of the present province of A^ieh-X'iang. 

3 Said to have been Hsil Yu mentioned above, with Nieh 
Khiizh, Wang 1, and Phi-i, who will by and by come before us. 

4 A river in Shan-hsi, on which was the capital of Yao ; — a tribu- 
tary of the Ho. 

8 This paragraph is intended to give us an idea of ' the Perfect 
man,' who has no thought of himself. The description, however, 
is brief and tame, compared with the accounts of Hsii Yu and of 
' the Spirit-like man.' 

6 Or Hui Shih, the chief minister of ' king Hui of Liang (or 
Wei), (b. c. 370-333),' with an interview between whom and Men- 
cius the works of that philosopher commence. He was a friend 
of .ffwang-jze, and an eccentric thinker ; and in Book XXXIII 
there is a long account of several of his views. I do not think 
that the conversations about ' the great calabash ' and ' the great 
tree ' really took place ; A'wang-jze probably invented them, to 
illustrate his point that size had nothing to do with the Tao, and 
that things which seemed useless were not really so when rightly 

7 Called also Liang from the name of its capital. Wei was one 
of the three states (subsequently kingdoms), into which the great 
fief of 3'n was divided about b. c. 400. 

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but it was so heavy that I could not lift it by myself. 
I cut it in two to make the parts into drinking 
vessels ; but the dried shells were too wide and 
unstable and would not hold (the liquor) ; nothing 
but large useless things ! Because of their useless- 
ness I knocked them to pieces.' Awang-jze replied, 
' You were indeed stupid, my master, in the use of 
what was large. There was a man of Sung who 
was skilful at making a salve which kept the hands 
from getting chapped ; and (his family) for genera- 
tions had made the bleaching of cocoon-silk their 
business. A stranger heard of it, and proposed to 
buy the art of the preparation for a hundred ounces 
of silver. The kindred all came together, and con- 
sidered the proposal. " We have," said they, " been 
bleaching cocoon-silk for generations, and have only 
gained a little money. Now in one morning we can 
sell to this man our art for a hundred ounces ; — let 
him have it." The stranger accordingly got it and 
went away with it to give counsel to the king of 
WO 1 , who was then engaged in hostilities with Yiieh. 
The king gave him the command of his fleet, and 
in the winter he had an engagement with that of 
Yueh, on which he inflicted a great defeat 2 , and was 
invested with a portion of territory taken from Yueh. 
The keeping the hands from getting chapped was 
the same in both cases; but in the one case it led to 
the investiture (of the possessor of the salve), and 

1 A great and ancient state on the sea-board, north of Yueh. 
The name remains in the district of Wu-^iang in the prefecture of 

2 The salve gave the troops of Wu a great advantage in a war 
on the A'iang, especially in winter. 

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in the other it had only enabled its owners to con- 
tinue their bleaching. The difference of result was 
owing to the different use made of the art. Now 
you, Sir, had calabashes large enough to hold five 
piculs ; — why did you not think of making large 
bottle-gourds of them, by means of which you could 
have floated over rivers and lakes, instead of giving 
yourself the sorrow of finding that they were useless 
for holding anything. Your mind, my master, would 
seem to. have been closed against all intelligence ! ' 

Hui-jze said to A'wang-jze, ' I have a large tree, 
which men call the Ailantus 1 . Its trunk swells out 
to a large size, but is not fit for a carpenter to apply 
his line to it ; its smaller branches are knotted and 
crooked, so that the disk and square cannot be used 
on them. Though planted on the wayside, a builder 
would not turn his head to look at it. Now your 
words, Sir, are great, but of no use ; — all unite in 
putting them away from them.' Kwang-^ze replied, 
' Have you never seen a wild cat or a weasel ? There 
it lies, crouching and low, till the wanderer ap- 
proaches ; east and west it leaps about, avoiding 
neither what is high nor what is low, till it is caught 
in a trap, or dies in a net. Again there is the Yak 2 , 
so large that it is like a cloud hanging in the sky. 
It is large indeed, but it cannot catch mice. You, 
Sir, have a large tree and are troubled because it is 
of no use ; — why do you not plant it in a tract where 
there is nothing else, or in a wide and barren wild ? 

1 The Ailantus glandulosa, common in the north of China, 
called ' the fetid tree,' from the odour of its leaves. 

2 The bos grunniens of Thibet, the long tail of which is in 
great demand for making standards and chowries. 

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There you might saunter idly by its side, or in 
the enjoyment of untroubled ease sleep beneath it. 
Neither bill nor axe would shorten its existence ; 
there would be nothing to injure it. What is there 
in its uselessness to cause you distress ?' 

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Part I. Section II. 

Kh\ Wu Lun, or ' The Adjustment of 
Controversies V 

1. Nan-kwo ^,z&-kh\ 2 was seated, leaning for- 
ward on his stool. He was looking up to heaven 
and breathed gently, seeming to be in a trance, and 
to have lost all consciousness of any companion. 
(His disciple), Yen A"Mng 3ze-yu 3 j who was in 
attendance and standing before him, said, ' What is 
this ? Can the body be made to become thus like a 
withered tree, and the mind to become like slaked 
lime ? His appearance as he leans forward on the 
stool to-day is such as I never saw him have before 
in the same position.' 3ze.-khi said, 'Yen, you do 
well to ask such a question, I had just now lost 
myself 4 ; but how should you understand it? You 

1 See pp. 128-130. 

2 Nan-kwo, 'the southern suburb,' had probably been the 
quarter where >$ze-ktt had resided, and is used as his surname. 
He is introduced several times by A'wang-jze in his writings : — 
Books IV, 1 ; XXVII, 4, and perhaps elsewhere. 

s We have the surname of this disciple, Ye n (Kff) ; his name, 
Yen ( , f|||) ; his honorary or posthumous epithet (X'; and 
his ordinary appellation, 3 ze_ y u - The use of the epithet shows 
that he and his master had lived before our author. 

4 'He had lost himself;' that is, he had become unconscious of 
all around him, and even of himself, as if he were about to enter 

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may have heard the notes 1 of Man, but have not 
heard those of Earth ; you may have heard the notes 
of Earth, but have not heard those of Heaven.' 

3ze-yu said, ' I venture to ask from you a descrip- 
tion of all these.' The reply was, 'When the breath 
of the Great Mass (of nature) comes strongly, it is 
called Wind. Sometimes it does not come so; but 
when it does, then from a myriad apertures there 
issues its excited noise ; — have you not heard it in 
a prolonged gale ? Take the projecting bluff of a 
mountain forest ; — in the great trees, a hundred 
spans round, the apertures and cavities are like the 
nostrils, or the mouth, or the ears ; now square, now 
round like a cup or a mortar ; here like a wet foot- 
print, and there like a large puddle. (The sounds 
issuing from them are like) those of fretted water, of 
the arrowy whizz, of the stern command, of the in- 
haling of the breath, of the shout, of the gruff note, 
of the deep wail, of the sad and piping note. The 
first notes are slight, and those that follow deeper, 
but in harmony with them. Gentle winds produce 
a small response ; violent winds a great one. When 
the fierce gusts have passed away, all the apertures 

into the state of ' an Immortal,' a mild form of the Buddhistic 
samadhi. But his attitude and appearance were intended by 
.ffwang-jze to indicate what should be the mental condition in 
reference to the inquiry pursued in the Book; — a condition, it 
appears to me, of agnosticism. See the account of L&o-jze in 
a similar trance in Book XXI, par. 4. 

1 The Chinese term here (lai) denotes a reed or pipe, with three 
holes, by a combination of which there was formed the rudimentary 
or reed organ. Our author uses it for the sounds or notes heard in 
nature, various as the various opinions of men in their discussions 
about things. 

[39] N 

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are empty (and still) ; — have you not seen this in the 
bending and quivering of the branches and leaves ? ' 
3ze-yu said, ' The notes of Earth then are simply 
those which come from its myriad apertures ; and 
the notes of Man may just be compared to those 
which (are brought from the tubes of) bamboo ; — 
allow me to ask about the notes of Heaven V 3 ze " 
khi replied, ' When (the wind) blows, (the sounds 
from) the myriad apertures are different, and (its 
cessation) makes them stop of themselves. Both of 
these things arise from (the wind and the apertures) 
themselves : — should there be any other agency 
that excites them ?' 

2. Great knowledge is wide and comprehensive ; 
small knowledge is partial and restricted. Great 
speech is exact and complete ; small speech is 
(merely) so much talk 2 . When we sleep, the soul 
communicates with (what is external to us) ; when 
we awake, the body is set free. Our intercourse 
with others then leads to various activity, and daily 
there is the striving of mind with mind. There are 
hesitancies ; deep difficulties ; reservations ; small 
apprehensions causing restless distress, and great 

1 The sounds of Earth have been described fully and graphic- 
ally. Of the sounds of Man very little is said, but they form the 
subject of the next paragraph. Nothing is said in answer to the 
disciple's inquiry about the notes of Heaven. It is intimated, how- 
ever, that there is no necessity to introduce any foreign Influence 
or Power like Heaven in connexion with the notes of Earth. The 
term Heaven, indeed, is about to pass with our author into a mere 
synonym of Tao, the natural 'course' of the phenomena of men 
and things. 

2 Words are the ' sounds ' of Man ; and knowledge is the ' wind' 
by which they are excited. 

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apprehensions producing endless fears. Where their 
utterances are like arrows from a bow, we have 
those who feel it their charge to pronounce what is 
right and what is wrong ; where they are given out 
like the conditions of a covenant, we have those who 
maintain their views, determined to overcome. (The 
weakness of their arguments), like the decay (of 
things) in autumn and winter, shows the failing (of 
the minds of some) from day to day ; or it is like 
their water which, once voided, cannot be gathered 
up again. Then their ideas seem as if fast bound with 
cords, showing that the mind is become like an old 
and dry moat, and that it is nigh to death, and 
cannot be restored to vigour and brightness. 

Joy and anger, sadness and pleasure, anticipation 
and regret, fickleness and fixedness, vehemence and 
indolence, eagerness and tardiness ; — (all these 
moods), like music from an empty tube, or mush- 
rooms from the warm moisture, day and night 
succeed to one another and come before us, and we 
do not know whence they sprout. Let us stop ! Let 
us stop ! Can we expect to find out suddenly how 
they are produced ? 

If there were not (the views of) another, I should 
not have mine ; if there were not I (with my views), 
his would be uncalled for : — this is nearly a true state- 
ment of the case, but we do not know what it is that 
makes it be so. It might seem as if there would be 
a true Governor * concerned in it, but we do not find 

1 ' A true Governor ' would be a good enough translation for 
' the true God.' But A^wang-jze did not admit any supernatural 
Power or Being as working in man. His true Governor was the 
Tao; and this will be increasingly evident as we proceed with the 
study of his Books. 

N 2 

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180 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. ii. 

any trace (of his presence and acting). That such 
an One could act so I believe ; but we do not see 
His form. He has affections, but He has no form. 

Given the body, with its hundred parts, its nine 
openings, and its six viscera, all complete in their 
places, which do I love the most ? Do you love 
them all equally ? or do you love some more than 
others ? Is it not the case that they all perform the 
part of your servants and waiting women ? All of 
them being such, are they not incompetent to rule 
one another ? or do they take it in turns to be now 
ruler and now servants ? There must be a true 
Ruler (among them) * whether by searching you can 
find out His character or not, there is neither advan- 
tage nor hurt, so far as the truth of His operation 
is concerned. When once we have received the 
bodily form complete, its parts do not fail to perform 
their functions till the end comes. In conflict with 
things or in harmony with them, they pursue their 
course to the end, with the speed of a galloping 
horse which cannot be stopped ; — is it not sad ? To 
be constantly toiling all one's lifetime, without see- 
ing the fruit of one's labour, and to be weary and 
worn out with his labour, without knowing where he 
is going to : — is it not a deplorable case ? Men 
may say, ' But it is not death ; ' yet of what advan- 
tage is this ? When the body is decomposed, the 
mind will be the same along with it : — must not the 
case be pronounced very deplorable 2 ? Is the life 

1 The name ' Ruler ' is different from ' Governor ' above ; but 
they both indicate the same concept in the author's mind. 

2 The proper reply to this would be that the mind is not dis- 
solved with the body; and ^wang-^ze's real opinion, as we shall 
find, was that life and death were but phases in the phenomenal 

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of man indeed enveloped in such darkness ? Is it I 
alone to whom it appears so ? And does it not 
appear to be so to other men ? 

3. If we were to follow the judgments of the pre- 
determined mind, who would be left alone and without 
a teacher 1 ? Not only would it be so with those who 
know the sequences (of knowledge and feeling) and 
make their own selection among them, but it would 
be so as well with the stupid and unthinking. For 
one who has not this determined mind, to have his 
affirmations and negations is like the case described 
in the saying, ' He went to Yiieh to-day, and arrived 
at it yesterday 2 .' It would be making what was not 
a fact to be a fact. But even the spirit-like Yii 8 
could not have known how to do this, and how should 
one like me be able to do it ? 

But speech is not like the blowing (of the wind) ; 
the speaker has (a meaning in) his words. If, how- 
ever, what he says, be indeterminate (as from a 
mind not made up), does he then really speak or 
not ? He thinks that his words are different from the 
chirpings of fledgelings ; but is there any distinction 
between them or not ? But how can the T a o be 
so obscured, that there should be ' a True ' and ' a 
False ' in it ? How can speech be so obscured that 
there should be 'the Right' and ' the Wrong' about 
them ? Where shall the Taogo to that it will not 

development. But the course of his argument suggests to us the 
question here, ' Is life worth living ? ' 

1 This 'teacher' is 'the Tao.' 

2 Expressing the absurdity of the case. This is one of the 
sayings of Hui-jze; — see Book XXXIII, par. 7. 

3 The successor and counsellor of Shun, who coped with and 
remedied the flood of Yao. 

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t82 the texts of tAoism. bk. II. 

be found ? Where shall speech be found that it 
will be inappropriate? Tao becomes obscured 
through the small comprehension (of the mind), and 
speech comes to be obscure through the vain-glori- 
ousness (of the speaker). So it is that we have the 
contentions between the Literati 1 and the Mohists 2 , 
the one side affirming what the other denies, and 
vice versa. If we would decide on their several 
affirmations and denials, no plan is like bringing the 
(proper) light (of the mind) 3 to bear on them. 

All subjects may be looked at from (two points of 
view), — from that and from this. If I look at a 
thing from another's point of view, I do not see it ; 
only as I know it myself, do I know it. Hence it is 
said, ' That view comes from this ; and this view is 
a consequence of that : ' — which is the theory that 
that view and this — (the opposite views) — produce 
each the other 4 . Although it be so, there is affirmed 
now life and now death ; now death and now life ; 
now the admissibility of a thing and now its inadmis- 
sibility ; now its inadmissibility and now its admis- 
sibility. (The disputants) now affirm and now deny; 
now deny and now affirm. Therefore the sagely 
man does not pursue this method, but views things 
in the light of (his) Heaven 5 (-ly nature), and hence 
forms his judgment of what is right. 

1 The followers of Confucius. 

2 The disciples of Mih-jze, or Mih Tl, the heresiarch, -whom 
Mencius attacked so fiercely; — see Mencius,V, i, 5, et al. His era 
must be assigned between Confucius and Mencius. 

3 That is, the perfect mind, the principle of the TSo. 

4 As taught by Hui-jze ; — see XXXIII, 7 ; but it is doubtful if 
the quotation from Hui's teaching be complete. 

6 Equivalent to the TSo. See on the use in LSo-gze and 
ATwang-jze of the term ' Heaven,' in the Introduction, pp. 16-18. 

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This view is the same as that, and that view is 
the same as this. But that view involves both a 
right and a wrong ; and this view involves also a 
right and a wrong : — are there indeed, or are there 
not the two views, that and this ? They have not 
found their point of correspondency which is called 
the pivot of the Tao. As soon as one finds this 
pivot, he stands in the centre of the ring (of thought), 
where he can respond without end to the changing 
views ; — without end to those affirming, and without 
end to those denying. Therefore I said, ' There is 
nothing like the proper light (of the mind).' 

4. By means of a finger (of my own) to illustrate 
that the finger (of another) is not a finger is not so 
good a plan as to illustrate that it is not so by means 
of what is (acknowledged to be) not a finger ; and 
by means of (what I call) a horse to illustrate that 
(what another calls) a horse is not so, is not so good 
a plan as to illustrate that it is not a horse, by 
means of what is (acknowledged to be) not a horse \ 
(All things in) heaven and earth may be (dealt with 
as) a finger ; (each of) their myriads may be (dealt 
with as) a horse. Does a thing seem so to me ? (I say 
that) it is so. Does it seem not so to me ? (I say 
that) it is not so. A path is formed by (constant) 

1 The language of our author here is understood to have refer- 
ence to the views of Kung-sun Lung, a contemporary of Hui-jze, 
and a sophist like him. One of his treatises or arguments had the 
title of ' The White Horse,' and another that of ' Pointing to 
Things.' If these had been preserved, we might have seen more 
clearly the appropriateness of the text here. But the illustration 
of the monkeys and their actions shows us the scope of the whole 
paragraph to be that controversialists, whose views are substantially 
the same, may yet differ, and that with heat, in words. 

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treading on the ground. A thing is called by its 
name through the (constant) application of the name 
to it. How is it so ? It is so because it is so. How 
is it not so ? It is not so, because it is not so. 
Everything has its inherent character and its proper 
capability. There is nothing which has not these. 
Therefore, this being so, if we take a stalk of grain 1 
and a (large) pillar, a loathsome (leper) and (a beauty 
like) Hst Shih 2 , things large and things insecure, 
things crafty and things strange ; — they may in the 
light of the Tao all be reduced to the same category 
(of opinion about them). 

It was separation that led to completion ; from 
completion ensued dissolution. But all things, with- 
out regard to their completion and dissolution, may 
again be comprehended in their unity; — it is only the 
far reaching in thought who know how to comprehend 
them in this unity. This being so, let us give up 
our devotion to our own views, and occupy ourselves 
with the ordinary views. These ordinary views are 
grounded on the Use of things. (The study of that) 
use leads to the comprehensive judgment, and that 
judgment secures the success (of the inquiry). That 
success gained, we are near (to the object of our 
search), and there we stop. When we stop, and yet 
we do not know how it is so, we have what is called 
the Tao. 

When we toil our spirits and intelligence, obstin- 

1 The character in the text means both ' a stalk of grain ' and 
' a horizontal beam.' Each meaning has its advocates here. 

2 A famous beauty, a courtezan presented by the king of Yiieh 
to his enemy, the king of Wu, and who hastened on his progress 
to ruin and death, she herself perishing at the same time. 

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ately determined (to establish our own view), and do 
not know the agreement (which underlies it and the 
views of others), we have what is called ' In the 
morning three.' What is meant by that ' In the 
morning three ? ' A keeper of monkeys, in giving 
them out their acorns, (once) said, ' In the morning 
I will give you three (measures) and in the evening 
four.' This made them all angry, and he said, 'Very 
well. In the morning I will give you four and in 
the evening three.' His two proposals were substan- 
tially the same, but the result of the one was to make 
the creatures angry, and of the other to make them 
pleased : — an illustration of the point I am insisting 
on. Therefore the sagely man brings together a 
dispute in its affirmations and denials, and rests in 
the equal fashioning of Heaven \ Both sides of the 
question are admissible. 

5. Among the men of old their knowledge reached 
the extreme point. What was that extreme point ? 
Some held that at first there was not anything. 
This is the extreme point, the utmost point to which 
nothing can be added 2 . A second class held that 
there was something, but without any responsive 
recognition 3 of it (on the part of men). 

A third class held that there was such recognition, 
but there had not begun to be any expression of 
different opinions about it. 

1 Literally, ' the Heaven-Mould or Moulder,' — another name for 
the T&o, by which all things are fashioned. 

2 See the same passage in Book XXIII, par. 10: 

3 The ordinary reading here is fang (^sj"), 'a boundary' or 'dis- 
tinctive limit.' Lin Hsi-^ung adopts the reading $j&, ' a response,' 
and I have followed him. 

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It was through the definite expression of different 
opinions about it that there ensued injury to (the 
doctrine of) the Tao. It was this injury to the 
(doctrine of the) Tao which led to the formation of 
(partial) preferences. Was it indeed after such pre- 
ferences were formed that the injury came ? or did 
the injury precede the rise of such preferences ? If 
the injury arose after their formation, A'ao's method 
of playing on the lute was natural. If the injury 
arose before their formation, there would have been 
no such playing on the lute as Kao's \ 

Ka.o Wan's playing on the lute, Shih Kwang's 
indicating time with his staff, and Hui-jze's (giving 
his views), while leaning against a dryandra tree 
(were all extraordinary). The knowledge of the 
three men (in their several arts) was nearly perfect, 
and therefore they practised them to the end of their 
lives. They loved them because they were different 
from those of others. They loved them and wished 
to make them known to others. But as they could 
not be made clear, though they tried to make 
them so, they ended with the obscure (discussions) 
about ' the hard ' and ' the white.' And their sons 2 , 
moreover, with all the threads of their fathers' com- 
positions, yet to the end of their lives accomplished 
nothing. If they, proceeding in this way, could be 
said to have succeeded, then am I also successful ; 

1 Kio Wan and Shih Kwang were both musicians of the state 
of 3in. Shih, which appears as Kwang's surname, was his denomi- 
nation as ' music-master.' It is difficult to understand the reason 
why .ffwang-jze introduces these men and their ways, or how it 
helps his argument. 

2 Perhaps we should read here ' son,' with special reference to 
the son of Hui-jze. 

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if they cannot be pronounced successful, neither I 
nor any other can succeed. 

Therefore the scintillations of light from the midst 
of confusion and perplexity are indeed valued by 
the sagely man ; but not to use one's own views and 
to take his position on the ordinary views is what is 
called using the (proper) light. 

6. But here now are some other sayings x : — I do 
not know whether they are of the same character as 
those which I have already given, or of a different 
character. Whether they be of the same character 
or not when looked at along with them, they have a 
character of their own, which cannot be distinguished 
from the others. But though this be the case, let 
me try to explain myself. 

There was a beginning. There was a beginning 
before that beginning 2 . There was a beginning 
previous to that beginning before there was the 

There was existence ; there had been no existence. 
There was no existence before the beginning of that 
no existence 2 . There was no existence previous to 
the no existence before there was the beginning 
of the no existence. If suddenly there was non- 
existence, we do not know whether it was really 
anything existing, or really not existing. Now 
I have said what I have said, but I do not know 
whether what I have said be really anything to the 
point or not. 

1 Referring, I think, to those below commencing ' There was a 

2 That is, looking at things from the standpoint of an original 
non-existence, and discarding all considerations of space and time. 

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Under heaven there is nothing greater than the 
tip of an autumn down, and the Thai mountain is 
small. There is no one more long-lived than a child 
which dies prematurely, and Phang 3u did not live 
out his time. Heaven, Earth, and I were produced 
together, and all things and I are one. Since they 
are one, can there be speech about them ? But 
since they are spoken of as one, must there not be 
room for speech ? One and Speech are two ; two 
and one are three. Going on from this (in our 
enumeration), the most skilful reckoner cannot 
reach (the end of the necessary numbers), and how 
much less can ordinary people do so ! Therefore 
from non-existence we proceed to existence till we 
arrive at three ; proceeding from existence to exist- 
ence, to how many should we reach ? Let us 
abjure such procedure, and simply rest here \ 

7. The Tao at first met with no responsive recog- 
nition. Speech at first had no constant forms of 
expression. Because of this there came the demar- 
cations (of different views). Let me describe those 
demarcations : — they are the Left and the Right 2 ; 
the Relations and their Obligations 3 ; Classifications* 

1 On this concluding clause, 3iao Hung says : — 'Avoiding such 
procedure, there will be no affirmations and denials (no contraries). 
The phrase |Jj ^ ^J occurs in the Book several times, and in- 
terpreters have missed its meaning from not observing that Jp? p*< 
serve merely as a final particle, and often have the |JJ added to 
them, without affecting its meaning.' See also Wang Yin on the 
usages of jjj in the ||| fp^ ;|g $$, ch. 1208, art. 6. 

2 That is, direct opposites. 

3 Literally, ' righteousnesses ; ' the proper way of dealing with the 

* Literally, ' separations.' 

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and their Distinctions ; Emulations and Contentions. 
These are what are called ' the Eight Qualities.' 
Outside the limits of the world of men 1 , the sage 
occupies his thoughts, but does not discuss about 
anything; inside those limits he occupies his 
thoughts, but does not pass any judgments. In the 
Khun Kk\& 2 , which embraces the history of the 
former kings, the sage indicates his judgments, but 
does not argue (in vindication of them). Thus it is 
that he separates his characters from one another 
without appearing to do so, and argues without the 
form of argument. How does he do so ? The sage 
cherishes his views in his own breast, while men 
generally state theirs argumentatively, to show them 
to others. Hence we have the saying, ' Disputation 
is a proof of not seeing clearly.' 

The Great Tao 3 does not admit of being praised. 
The Great Argument does not require words. 
Great Benevolence is not (officiously) benevolent. 
Great Disinterestedness does not vaunt its humility. 
Great Courage is not seen in stubborn bravery. 

The Tao that is displayed is not the Tao. Words 
that are argumentative do not reach the point. 
Benevolence that is constantly exercised does not 
accomplish its object. Disinterestedness that vaunts 
its purity is not genuine. Courage that is most stub- 

1 Literally, ' the six conjunctions,' meaning the four cardinal 
points of space, with the zenith and nadir ; sometimes a name for 
the universe of space. Here we must restrict the meaning as I 
have done. 

a ' The Spring and Autumn;' — Confucius's Annals of Lu, here 
complimented by .AVang-jze. See in Mencius, IV, ii, 21. 

3 Compare the Tao Teh -Sing, ch. 25, et al. 

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1 90 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. ii. 

born is ineffectual. These five seem to be round 
(and complete), but they tend to become square (and 
immovable) \ Therefore the knowledge that stops 
at what it does not know is the greatest. Who 
knows the argument that needs no words, and the 
Way that is not to be trodden 2 ? 

He who is able to know this has what is called 
'The Heavenly Treasure-house 3 .' He may pour 
into it without its being filled ; he may pour from it 
without its being exhausted ; and all the while he 
does not know whence (the supply) comes. This is 
what is called ' The Store of Light 3 .' 

Therefore of old Yao asked Shun, saying, ' I wish 
to smite (the rulers of) 3 un g. Kwei, and Hsii-ao 4 . 
Even when standing in my court, I cannot get them 
out of my mind. How is it so?' Shun replied, 
' Those three rulers live (in their little states) as if 
they were among the mugwort and other brushwood; 
■ — how is it that you cannot get them out of your 
mind ? Formerly, ten suns came out together, and 
all things were illuminated by them ; — how much 
should (your) virtue exceed (all) suns ! ' 

8. Nieh Allien 6 asked Wang I 5 , saying, ' Do you 
know, Sir, what all creatures agree in approving and 

1 Compare the use of ~^j in the Shu King, I, iii, 11. 

2 The classic of Lao, in chaps. 1, 2. 

3 Names for the Tio. 

4 Three small states. Is Ydo's wish to smite an instance of the 
' quality' of ' emulation' or jealousy? 

6 Both Tioistic worthies of the time of Yao, supposed to have 
been two of the Perfect Ones whom Yio visited on the distant hill 
of Ku-shih (I, par. 6). According to Hwang Mi, Wang t was 
the teacher of Nieh .Oiieh, and he again of Hsu Yu. 

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affirming ?' ' How should I know it ? ' was the reply. 
' Do you know what it is that you do not know ? ' 
asked the other again, and he got the same reply. 
He asked a third time, — ' Then are all creatures thus 
without knowledge ? ' and Wang I answered as before, 
(adding however), ' Notwithstanding, I will try and 
explain my meaning. How do you know that when 
I say " I know it," I really (am showing that) I do 
not know it, and that when I say " I do not know 
it," I really am showing that I do know it 1 .' And 
let me ask you some questions : — ' If a man sleep in 
a damp place, he will have a pain in his loins, and 
half his body will be as if it were dead ; but will it 
be so with an eel ? If he be living in a tree, he will 
be frightened and all in a tremble ; but will it be so 
with a monkey ? And does any one of the three 
know his right place ? Men eat animals that have 
been fed on grain and grass ; deer feed on the thick- 
set grass ; centipedes enjoy small snakes ; owls and 
crows delight in mice ; but does any one of the four 
know the right taste ? The dog-headed monkey 
finds its mate in the female gibbon ; the elk and the 
axis deer cohabit ; and the eel enjoys itself with 
other fishes. Mao 3hiang 2 and Li Ki 2 were ac- 
counted by men to be most beautiful, but when 
fishes saw them, they dived deep in the water from 
them ; when birds, they flew from them aloft ; and 

1 Compare par. 1 of Book XXII. 

2 Two famous beauties; — the former, a contemporary of Hsf 
Shih (par. 4, note 2), and like her also, of the state of Yiieh ; the 
latter, the daughter of a barbarian chief among the Western Jung. 
She was captured by duke Hsien of 3in, in b. c. 672. He subse- 
quently made her his wife, — to the great injury of his family 
and state. 

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when deer saw them, they separated and fled away *. 
But did any of these four know which in the world 
is the right female attraction ? As I look at the 
matter, the first principles of benevolence and right- 
eousness and the paths of approval and disapproval 
are inextricably mixed and confused together : — how 
is it possible that I should know how to discriminate 
among them ?' 

Nieh iOiieh said (further), ' Since you, Sir, do not 
know what is advantageous and what is hurtful, is 
the Perfect man also in the same way without the 
knowledge of them ?' Wang I replied, ' The Perfect 
man is spirit-like. Great lakes might be boiling 
about him, and he would not feel their heat ; the 
Ho and the Han might be frozen up, and he would 
not feel the cold ; the hurrying thunderbolts might 
split the mountains, and the wind shake the ocean, 
without being able to make him afraid. Being such, 
he mounts on the clouds of the air, rides on the sun 
and moon, and rambles at ease beyond the four 
seas. Neither death nor life makes any change in 
him, and how much less should the considerations 
of advantage and injury do so 2 ! ' 

9. KhvL 3hiao-jze 3 asked .A^ang-wu $ze s , saying, 

1 Not thinking them beautiful, as men did, but frightened and 
repelled by them. 

2 Compare Book I, pars. 3 and 5. 

3 We know nothing of the former of these men, but what is 
mentioned here ; the other appears also in Book XXV, 6, q. v. If 
' the master ' that immediately follows be Confucius they must have 
been contemporary with him. The .Oiu in .ATAang-wu's reply 
would seem to make it certain ' the master ' was Confucius, but 
the oldest critics, and some modern ones as well, think that .Oang- 
wu's name was also K/nto.. But this view is attended with more 

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' I heard the Master (speaking of such language as 
the following) : — " The sagely man does not occupy 
himself with worldly affairs. He does not put him- 
self in the way of what is profitable, nor try to avoid 
what is hurtful ; he has no pleasure in seeking (for 
anything from any one) ; he does not care to be found 
in (any established) Way ; he speaks without speak- 
ing ; he does not speak when he speaks ; thus finding 
his enjoyment outside the dust and dirt (of the 
world)." The Master considered all this to be a 
shoreless flow of mere words, and I consider it to 
describe the course of the Mysterious Way. — What 
do you, Sir, think of it ? ' ^f^ang-wu 3 z e replied, 
' The hearing of such words would have perplexed 
even Hwang-Ti, and how should Kkiil be competent 
to understand them ? And you, moreover, are too 
hasty in forming your estimate (of their meaning). 
You see the egg, and (immediately) look out for the 
cock (that is to be hatched from it) ; you see the 
bow, and (immediately) look out for the dove (that is 
to be brought down by it) being roasted. I will try 
to explain the thing to you in a rough way ; do you 
in the same way listen to me. 

' How could any one stand by the side of the sun 
and moon, and hold under his arm all space and all 
time ? (Such language only means that the sagely 
man) keeps his mouth shut, and puts aside questions 
that are uncertain and dark ; making his inferior 
capacities unite with him in honouring (the One 
Lord). Men in general bustle about and toil ; the 

difficulties than the other. By the clause interjected in the trans- 
lation after the first 'Master,' I have avoided the incongruity of 
ascribing the long description of Taoism to Confucius. 


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sagely man seems stupid and to know nothing 1 . He 
blends ten thousand years together in the one (con- 
ception of time) ; the myriad things all pursue their 
spontaneous course, and they are all before him as 
doing so. 

' How do I know that the love of life is not a 
delusion ? and that the dislike of death is not like 
a young person's losing his way, and not knowing 
that he is (really) going home ? L! Ki 2 was a daugh- 
ter of the border Warden of Ai. When (the ruler 
of) the state of 3in first got possession of her, she 
wept till the tears wetted all the front of her dress. 
But when she came to the place of the king 3 , shared 
with him his luxurious couch, and ate his grain-and- 
grass-fed meat, then she regretted that she had wept. 
How do I know that the dead do not repent of their 
former craving for life ? 

' Those who dream of (the pleasures of) drinking 
may in the morning wail and weep ; those who dream 
of wailing and weeping may in the morning be going 
out to hunt. When they were dreaming they did 
not know it was a dream ; in their dream they 
may even have tried to interpret it 4 ; but when 
they awoke they knew that it was a dream. And 

1 Compare Lao-jze's account of himself in his Work, ch. 20. 

2 See note 2 on page 191. The lady is there said to have 
been the daughter of a barbarian chief ; here she appears as the 
child of the border Warden of Ai. But her maiden surname of 
K\ («|5) shows her father must have been a scion of the royal 
family of K&u.. Had he forsaken his wardenship, and joined one 
of the Ti tribes, which had adopted him as its chief ? 

3 3 m was only a marquisate. How does ^wang-jze speak of its 
ruler as ' a king ? ' 

4 This could not be; a man does not come to himself in his 
dream, and in that state try to interpret it. 

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there is the great awaking, after which we shall 
know that this life was a great dream 1 . All the 
while, the stupid think they are awake, and with nice 
discrimination insist on their knowledge ; now play- 
ing the part of rulers, and now of grooms. Bigoted 
was that A^iu ! He and you are both dreaming. I 
who say that you are dreaming am dreaming myself. 
These words seem very strange ; but if after ten 
thousand ages we once meet with a great sage who 
knows how to explain them, it will be as if we met 
him (unexpectedly) some morning or evening. 

10. ' Since you made me enter into this discussion 
with you, if you have got the better of me and not I 
of you, are you indeed right, and I indeed wrong ? 
If I have got the better of you and not you of me, 
am I indeed right and you indeed wrong ? Is the 
one of us right and the other wrong ? are we both 
right or both wrong ? Since we cannot come to a 
mutual and common understanding, men will cer- 
tainly continue in darkness on the subject. 

' Whom shall I employ to adjudicate in the matter? 
If I employ one who agrees with you, how can he, 
agreeing with you, do so correctly ? And the same 
may be said, if I employ one who agrees with me. 
It will be the same if I employ one who differs from 
us both or one who agrees with us both. In this 
way I and you and those others would all not 
be able to come to a mutual understanding; and 
shall we then wait for that (great sage) ? (We need 
not do so.) To wait on others to learn how con- 
flicting opinions are changed is simply like not so 

1 Compare XVIII, par. 4. 
O 2 

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waiting at all. The harmonising of them is to be 
found in the invisible operation of Heaven, and by 
following this on into the unlimited past. It is by 
this method that we can complete our years (without 
our minds being disturbed) 1 , 

'What is meant by harmonising (conflicting opi- 
nions) in the invisible operation of Heaven ? There 
is the affirmation and the denial of it ; and there is 
the assertion of an opinion and the rejection of it. 
If the affirmation be according to the reality of the 
fact, it is certainly different from the denial of it : — 
there can be no dispute about that. If the assertion 
of an opinion be correct, it is certainly different from 
its rejection: — neither can there be any dispute about 
that. Let us forget the lapse of time ; let us forget 
the conflict of opinions. Let us make our appeal to 
the Infinite, and take up our position there V 

11. The Penumbra asked the Shadow 3 , saying, 
' Formerly you were walking on, and now you have 
stopped; formerly you were sitting, and now you 
have risen up : — how is it that you are so without 
stability?' The Shadow replied, 'I wait for the 
movements of something else to do what I do, and 
that something else on which I wait waits further 

1 See this passage again in Book XXVII, par. 1, where the phrase 
which I have called here ' the invisible operation of Heaven,' is 
said to be the same as ' the Heavenly Mould or Moulder,' that is, 
the Heavenly Fashioner, one of the Tioistic names for the T&o. 

3 That is, all things being traced up to the unity of the Tao, we 
have found the pivot to which all conflicting opinions, all affirma- 
tions, all denials, all positions and negatives converge, and bring to 
bear on them the proper light of the mind. Compare paragraph 3. 

3 A story to the same effect as this here, with some textual varia- 
tions, occurs in Book XXVII, immediately after par. 1 referred to 

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on another to do as it does *. My waiting, — is it for 
the scales of a snake, or the wings of a cicada 2 ? 
How should I know why I do one thing, or do not 
do another 3 ? 

' Formerly, I, A'wang Aau, dreamt that I was a 
butterfly, a butterfly flying about, feeling that it 
was enjoying itself. I did not know that it was A'au. 
Suddenly I awoke, and was myself again, the veri- 
table A'au. I did not know whether it had formerly 
been A'au dreaming that he was a butterfly, or it 
was now a butterfly dreaming that it was K&u. But 
between K&u and a butterfly there must be a differ- 
ence*. This is a case of what is called the Trans- 
formation of Things V 

1 The mind cannot rest in second causes, and the first cause, if 
there be one, is inscrutable. 

a Even these must wait for the will of the creature ; but the case 
of the shadow is still more remarkable. 

* I have put this interrogatively, as being more graphic, and 
because of the particle HIJ, which is generally, though not neces- 
sarily, interrogative. 

* Hsiian Ying, in his remarks on these two sentences, brings 
out the force of the story very successfully : — ' Looking at them in 
their ordinary appearance, there was necessarily a difference between 
them, but in the delusion of the dream each of them appeared the 
other, and they could not distinguish themselves ! Aau could be a 
butterfly, and the butterfly could be K&vl ; — we may see that in the 
world all traces of that and this may pass away, as they come under 
the influence of transformations.' For the phrase, ' the transforma- 
tion of things,' see in Book XI, par. 5, et al. But the Taoism here 
can hardly be distinguished from the Buddhism that holds that all 
human experience is merely so much may a or illusion. 

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Part I. Section III. 

Yang Shang ATft, or 'Nourishing the Lord of Life 1 .' 

1. There is a limit to our life, but to knowledge 
there is no limit. With what is limited to pursue 
after what is unlimited is a perilous thing; and when, 
knowing this, we still seek the increase of our know- 
ledge, the peril cannot be averted 2 . There should 
not be the practice of what is good with any 
thought of the fame (which it will bring), nor of 
what is evil with any approximation to the punish- 
ment (which it will incur) 3 : — an accordance with the 
Central Element (of our nature) 4 is the regular way 
to preserve the body, to maintain the life, to nourish 
our parents, and to complete our term of years. 

2. His cook 6 was cutting up an ox for the ruler 
Wan-hui 6 . Whenever he applied his hand, leaned 
forward with his shoulder, planted his foot, and em- 

1 See pp. 130, 131. 

2 Under what is said about knowledge here there lies the 
objection of Taoists to the Confucian pursuit of knowledge as 
the means for the right conduct of life, instead of the quiet 
simplicity and self-suppression of their own system. 

3 This is the key to the three paragraphs that follow. But the 
text of it is not easily construed. The ' doing good ' and the 
' doing evil ' are to be lightly understood. 

* A name for the TSo. 

8 ' The ruler Wan-hui ' is understood to be ' king Hui of Liang 
(or Wei),' with the account of an interview between whom and 
Mencius the works of that philosopher commence. 

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ployed the pressure of his knee, in the audible rip- 
ping off of the skin, and slicing operation of the 
knife, the sounds were all in regular cadence. Move- 
ments and sounds proceeded as in the dance of ' the 
Mulberry Forest * ' and the blended notes of ' the 
Kmg Shau V The ruler said, ' Ah ! Admirable ! 
That your art should have become so perfect ! ' 
(Having finished his operation), the cook laid down 
his knife, and replied to the remark, 'What your 
servant loves is the method of the Tao, something 
in advance of any art. When I first began to cut 
up an ox, I saw nothing but the (entire) carcase. 
After three years I ceased to see it as a whole. Now 
I deal with it in a spirit-like manner, and do not look 
at it with my eyes. The use of my senses is dis- 
carded, and my spirit acts as it wills. Observing the 
natural lines, (my knife) slips through the great 
crevices and slides through the great cavities, taking 
advantage of the facilities thus presented. My art 
avoids the membranous ligatures, and much more 
the great bones. 

'A good cook changes his knife every year; — (it 
may have been injured) in cutting ; an ordinary cook 
changes his every month ; — (it may have been) 
broken. Now my knife has been in use for nine- 
teen years ; it has cut up several thousand oxen, and 
yet its edge is as sharp as if it had newly come from 
the whetstone. There are the interstices of the 
joints, and the edge of the knife has no (appreciable) 
thickness ; when that which is so thin enters where 
the interstice is, how easily it moves along ! The 

1 Two pieces of music, ascribed to Khmg Thang and Hwang- 


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200 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. ill. 

blade has more than room enough. Nevertheless, 
whenever I come to a complicated joint, and see that 
there will be some difficulty, I proceed anxiously and 
with caution, not allowing my eyes to wander from 
the place, and moving my hand slowly. Then by a 
very slight movement of the knife, the part is quickly 
separated, and drops like (a clod of) earth to the 
ground. Then standing up with the knife in my 
hand, I look all round, and in a leisurely manner, 
with an air of satisfaction, wipe it clean, and put it 
in its sheath.' The ruler Wan-hui said, ' Excellent ! 
I have heard the words of my cook, and learned 
from them the nourishment of (our) life.' 

3. When Kung-wan Hsien 1 saw the Master of the 
Left, he was startled, and said, ' What sort of man 
is this ? How is it he has but one foot ? Is it from 
Heaven ? or from Man ? ' Then he added 2 , ' It 
must be from Heaven, and not from Man. Heaven's 
making of this man caused him to have but one foot. 
In the person of man, each foot has its marrow. 
By this I know that his peculiarity is from Heaven, 
and not from Man. A pheasant of the marshes has 
to take ten steps to pick up a mouthful of food, and 
thirty steps to get a drink, but it does not seek to be 
nourished in a coop. Though its spirit would (there) 
enjoy a royal abundance, it does not think (such 
confinement) good.' 

1 There was a family in Wei with the double surname Kung-wan. 
This would be a scion of it. 

2 This is Hsien still speaking. We have to understand his 
reasoning ad sensum and not ad verbum. The master of 
the Left had done 'evil,' so as to incur the punishment from 
which he suffered; and had shown himself less wise than a 

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4. When Lao Tan died 1 , Kkin Shih 2 went to con- 
dole (with his son), but after crying out three times, 
he came out. The disciples 3 said to him, ' Were 
you not a friend of the Master ? ' 'I was,' he re- 
plied, and they said, ' Is it proper then to offer your 
condolences merely as you have done ? ' He said, 
' It is. At first I thought he was the man of men, 
and now I do not think so. When I entered a little 
ago and expressed my condolences, there were 
the old men wailing as if they had lost a son, and 
the young men wailing as if they had lost their 
mother. In his attracting and uniting them to him- 
self in such a way there must have been that which 
made them involuntarily express their words (of 
condolence), and involuntarily wail, as they were 
doing. And this was a hiding from himself of his 
Heaven (-nature), and an excessive indulgence of his 
(human) feelings ; — a forgetting of what he had re- 
ceived (in being born) ; what the ancients called the 
punishment due to neglecting the Heaven (-nature) \ 
When the Master came 6 , it was at the proper time ; 
when he went away, it was the simple sequence (of 
his coming). Quiet acquiescence in what happens 
at its proper time, and quietly submitting (to its 
ceasing) afford no occasion for grief or for joy 6 . The 
ancients described (death) as the loosening of the 

1 Then the account that Lao-jze went westwards, and that 
nothing is known as to where he died, must be without foundation. 

2 Nothing more is known of this person. 

3 Probably the disciples of L&o-jze, 

4 Lao had gone to an excess in his ' doing good,' as if he were 
seeking reputation. 

6 Into the world. 

6 See .Xwang-jze's remarks and demeanour on the death of his 
wife, in Book XVIII. 

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202 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. hi. 

cord on which God suspended (the life) l . What we 
can point to are the faggots that have been con- 
sumed ; but the fire is transmitted (elsewhere), and 
we know not that it is over and ended 2 . 

1 This short sentence is remarkable by the use of the character Ti 
OffiX ' God,' in it, a usage here ascribed to the ancients. 

2 The concluding sentence might stand as a short paragraph 
by itself. The ' faggots ' are understood to represent the body, and 
the ' fire ' the animating spirit. The body perishes at death as the 
faggots are consumed by the fire. But the fire may be transmitted 
to other faggots, and so the spirit may migrate, and be existing 

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Part I. Section IV. 

Zan .AH en Shih, or ' Man in the World, Associated 
with other Men V 

1. Yen Hui 2 went to see Kung-ni s , and asked 
leave to take his departure. ' Where are you going 
to ? ' asked the Master. ' I will go to Wei 4 ' was the 
reply. ' And with what object ? ' 'I have heard 
that the ruler of Wei 5 is in the vigour of his years, 
and consults none but himself as to his course. 
He deals with his state as if it were a light matter, 
and has no perception of his errors. He thinks 
lightly of his people's dying ; the dead are lying 
all over the country as if no smaller space could 
contain them ; on the plains • and about the 
marshes, they are as thick as heaps of fuel. The 
people know not where to turn to. I have heard 
you, Master, say, "Leave the state that is well 

1 See pp. 131, 132. 

2 The favourite disciple of Confucius, styled also 3ze-yttan. 

3 Of course, Confucius ; — his designation or married name. 

4 A feudal state, embracing portions of the present provinces of 
Ho-nan, .ffih-lf, and Shan-tung. There was another state, which 
we must also call Wei in English, though the Chinese characters of 
them are different ; — one of the fragments of the great state of 3'n, 
more to the west. 

5 At this time the marquis Yuan, known to us by his post- 
humous title of duke Ling ; — see Book XXV, 9. 

6 Adopting Lin's reading of ^P instead of the common -3^. 

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governed ; go to the state where disorder prevails V 
At the door of a physician there are many who are 
ill. I wish through what I have heard (from you) 
to think out some methods (of dealing with Wei), if 
peradventure the evils of the state may be cured.' 

A'ung-nl said, 'Alas! The risk is that you will 
go only to suffer in the punishment (of yourself) ! 
The right method (in such a case) will not admit 
of any admixture. With such admixture, the one 
method will become many methods. Their multi- 
plication will embarrass you. That embarrassment 
will make you anxious. However anxious you may 
be, you will not save (yourself). The perfect men 
of old first had (what they wanted to do) in them- 
selves, and afterwards they found (the response to 
it) in others. If what they wanted in themselves 
was not fixed, what leisure had they to go and 
interfere with the proceedings of any tyrannous 

' Moreover, do you know how virtue is liable to 
be dissipated, and how wisdom proceeds to display 
itself? Virtue is dissipated in (the pursuit of) the 
name for it, and wisdom seeks to display itself in the 
striving with others. In the pursuit of the name 
men overthrow one another ; wisdom becomes 
a weapon of contention. Both these things are 
instruments of evil, and should not be allowed to 
have free course in one's conduct. Supposing one's 
virtue to be great and his sincerity firm, if he do 
not comprehend the spirit of those (whom he wishes 
to influence) ; and supposing he is free from the 

1 Compare in the Analects, VIII, xiii, 2, where a different 
lesson is given ; but Confucius may at another time have spoken 
as Hui says. 

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disposition to strive for reputation, if he do not 
comprehend their minds ; — when in such a case he 
forcibly insists on benevolence and righteousness, 
setting them forth in the strongest and most direct 
language, before the tyrant, then he, hating (his 
reprover's) possession of those excellences, will put 
him down as doing him injury. He who injures 
others is sure to be injured by them in return. 
You indeed will hardly escape being injured by the 
man (to whom you go) ! 

' Further, if perchance he takes pleasure in men 
of worth and hates those of an opposite character, 
what is the use of your seeking to make yourself 
out to be different (from such men about him) ? 
Before you have begun to announce (your views), 
he, as king and ruler, will take advantage of you, 
and immediately contend with you for victory. 
Your eyes will be dazed and full of perplexity ; 
you will try to look pleased with him; you will 
frame your words with care ; your demeanour will 
be conformed to his ; you will confirm him in his 
views. In this way you will be adding fire to fire, 
and water to water, increasing, as we may express 
it, the evils (which you deplore). To these signs 
of deferring to him at the first there will be no end. 
You will be in danger, seeing he does not believe 
you, of making your words more strong,- and you 
are sure to die at the hands of such a tyrant. 

'And formerly .Afieh 1 killed Kwan Lung-fang 2 , 
and ATau 3 killed the prince Pi-kan 4 . Both of 

1 The tyrant with whom the dynasty of Hsia ended. 

3 A worthy minister of ITieh. 

s The tyrant with whom the dynasty of Shang or Yin ended. 

* A half-brother of Kin, the tyrant of the Yin dynasty. 

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206 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. iv. 

these cultivated their persons, bending down in 
sympathy with the lower people to comfort them 
suffering (as they did) from their oppressors, and on 
their account opposing their superiors. On this 
account, because they so ordered their conduct, 
their rulers compassed their destruction : — such 
regard had they for their own fame. (Again), Yao 
anciently attacked (the states of) 3hung-$h x and 
Hsii-ao \ and Yii attacked the ruler of Hu \ Those 
states were left empty, and with no one to continue 
their population, the people being exterminated. 
They had engaged in war without ceasing; their 
craving for whatever they could get was insatiable. 
And this (ruler of Wei) is, like them, one who 
craves after fame and greater substance ; — have you 
not heard it ? Those sages were not able to over- 
come the thirst for fame and substance ; — how much 
less will you be able to do so ! Nevertheless you 
must have some ground (for the course which you 
wish to take) ; pray try and tell it to me.' 

Yen Hui said, ' May I go, doing so in uprightness 
and humility, using also every endeavour to be 
uniform (in my plans of operation) ? ' ' No, indeed ! ' 
was the reply. ' How can you do so ? This man 
makes a display 2 of being filled to overflowing (with 
virtue), and has great self-conceit. His feelings 
are not to be determined from his countenance. 
Ordinary men do not (venture to) oppose him, and 
he proceeds from the way in which he affects them 

1 See in par. 7, Book II, where Hsu-do is mentioned, though not 
3hung-£ih. See the Shu, III, ii. 

2 I take Up; here as = -j^; — a meaning given in the Khang-hsi 

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to seek still more the satisfaction of his own mind. 
He may be described as unaffected by the (small 
lessons of) virtue brought to bear on him from day 
to day ; and how much less will he be so by your 
great lessons ? He will be obstinate, and refuse 
to be converted. He may outwardly agree with 
you, but inwardly there will be no self-condemna- 
tion ; — how can you (go to him in this way and be 
successful) ? ' 

(Yen Hui) rejoined, 'Well then ; while inwardly 
maintaining my straightforward intention, I will 
outwardly seem to bend to him. I will deliver (my 
lessons), and substantiate them by appealing to 
antiquity. Inwardly maintaining my straightforward 
intention, I shall be a co-worker with Heaven. 
When I thus speak of being a co-worker with 
Heaven, it is because I know that (the sovereign, 
whom we style) the son of Heaven, and myself, are 
equally regarded by Heaven as Its sons. And 
should I then, as if my words were only my own, 
be seeking to find whether men approved of them, 
or disapproved of them ? In this way men will 
pronounce me a (sincere and simple 1 ) boy. This 
is what is called being a co-worker with Heaven. 

'Outwardly bending (to the ruler), I shall be a 
co-worker with other men. To carry (the memo- 
randum tablet to court) 2 , to kneel, and to bend the 
body reverentially: — these are the observances of 
ministers. They all employ them, and should I 
presume not to do so ? Doing what other men do, 
they would have no occasion to blame me. This 

1 Entirely unsophisticated, governed by the T&o. 

2 See the Li Kt, XI, ii, 16, 17. 

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is what is called being a fellow-worker with other 

'Fully declaring my sentiments and substantiat- 
ing them by appealing to antiquity, I shall be a 
co-worker with the ancients. Although the words 
in which I convey my lessons may really be con- 
demnatory (of the ruler), they will be those of 
antiquity, and not my own. In this way, though 
straightforward, I shall be free from blame. This 
is what is called being a co-worker with antiquity. 
May I go to Wei in this way, and be successful ? ' 
1 No indeed ! ' said Aung-nl. ' How can you do so ? 
You have too many plans of proceeding, and have 
not spied out (the ruler's character). Though you 
firmly adhere to your plans, you may be held free 
from transgression, but this will be all the result. 
How can you (in this way) produce the trans- 
formation (which you desire) ? All this only shows 
(in you) the mind of a teacher ! ' 

2. Yen Hui said, ' I can go no farther ; I venture 
to ask the method from you.' Aung-nl replied, ' It 
is fasting 1 , (as) I will tell you. (But) when you 
have the method, will you find it easy to practise 
it ? He who thinks it easy will be disapproved 
of by the bright Heaven.' Hui said, ' My family 
is poor. For months together we have no spirituous 
drink, nor do we taste the proscribed food or any 
strong-smelling vegetables 2 ; — can this be regarded 
as fasting ? ' The reply was, 'It is the fasting 
appropriate to sacrificing, but it is not the fasting 

1 The term is emphatic, as Confucius goes on to explain. 

2 Such as onions and garlic, with horse, dog, cow, goose, and 

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of the mind.' ' I venture to ask what that fasting 
of the mind is,' said Hui, and Aung-nl answered, 
' Maintain a perfect unity in every movement of 
your will. You will not wait for the hearing of 
your ears about it, but for the hearing of your 
mind. You will not wait even for the hearing of 
your mind, but for the hearing of the spirit \ Let 
the hearing (of the ears) rest with the ears. Let the 
mind rest in the verification (of the Tightness of 
what is in the will). But the spirit is free from all 
pre-occupation and so waits for (the appearance of) 
things. Where the (proper) course is 2 , there is 
freedom from all pre-occupation ; — such freedom is 
the fasting of the mind.' Hui said 3 , ' Before it was 
possible for me to employ (this method), there I 
was, the Hui that I am ; now, that I can employ it, 
the Hui that I was has passed away. Can I be said 
to have obtained this freedom from pre-occupation ?' 
The Master replied, ' Entirely. I tell you that you 
can enter and be at ease in the enclosure (where he 
is), and not come into collision with the reputation 
(which belongs to him). If he listen to your 
counsels, let him hear your notes ; if he will not 
listen, be silent. Open no (other) door ; employ no 
other medicine ; dwell with him (as with a friend) 
in the same apartment, and as if you had no other 
option, and you will not be far from success in your 
object. Not to move a step is easy; to walk 
without treading on the ground is difficult. In 
acting after the manner of men, it is easy to fall 

1 The character in the text for ' spirit ' here is i§ , ' the breath.' 

2 The TSo. 

3 ' Said ; ' probably, after having made trial of this fasting. 

[39] P 

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into hypocrisy; in acting after the manner of 
Heaven, it is difficult to play the hypocrite. I have 
heard of flying with wings ; I have not heard of 
flying without them. I have heard of the know- 
ledge of the wise ; I have not heard of the 
knowledge of the unwise. Look at that aperture 
(left in the wall) ; — the empty apartment is filled 
with light through it. Felicitous influences rest (in 
the mind thus emblemed), as in their proper resting 
place. Even when they do not so rest, we have 
what is called (the body) seated and (the mind) 
galloping abroad. The information that comes 
through the ears and eyes is comprehended in- 
ternally, and the knowledge of the mind becomes 
something external : — (when this is the case), the 
spiritual intelligences will come, and take up their 
dwelling with us, and how much more will other 
men do so ! All things thus undergo a trans- 
forming influence. This was the hinge on which 
Yii and Shun moved; it was this which Fu-hsf 1 
and Ki-kh\x 2 practised all their lives : how much 
more should other men follow the same rule ! ' 

3. 3ze-kao 3 , duke of Sheh, being about to proceed 
on a mission to KM, asked A!ung-nt, saying, ' The 
king is sending me, A"u-liang 3 , on a mission which 

1 Often spoken of as Fo-hf, the founder of the Chinese kingdom. 
His place in chronology should be assigned to him more than 
B.C. 3000 rather than under that date. 

2 A predecessor of Fu-hsi, a sovereign of the ancient para- 
disiacal time. 

s The name of Sheh remains in Sheh-hsien, a district of the 
department Nan-yang, Ho-nan. Its governor, who is the subject 
of this narrative, was a Shan ^Tu-liang, styled 3 ze -k&o. He was 

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is very important. Kh\ will probably treat me as his 
commissioner with great respect, but it will not be 
in a hurry (to attend to the business). Even an 
ordinary man cannot be readily moved (to action), 
and how much less the prince of a state ! I am 
very full of apprehension. You, Sir, once said to 
me that of all things, great or small, there were 
few which, if not conducted in the proper way 1 , 
could be brought to a happy conclusion ; that, if 
the thing were not successful, there was sure to be 
the evil of being dealt with after the manner of 
men 2 ; that, if it were successful, there was sure 
to be the evil of constant anxiety 3 ; and that, 
whether it succeeded or not, it was only the 
virtuous man who could secure its not being fol- 
lowed by evil. In my diet I take what is coarse, 
and do not seek delicacies, — a man whose cookery 
does not require him to be using cooling drinks. 
This morning I received my charge, and in the 
evening I am drinking iced water; — am I not 
feeling the internal heat (and discomfort) ? Such is 
my state before I have actually engaged in the 
affair; — I am already suffering from conflicting 
anxieties. And if the thing do hot succeed, (the 
king) is sure to deal with me after the manner 
of men. The evil is twofold ; as a minister, I am 
not able to bear the burden (of the mission). Can 

not a duke, but as the counts of K}& had usurped the name of 
king, they gave high-sounding names to all their ministers and 

1 Or, 'according to the Tio.' 

a As a criminal ; punished by his sovereign. 

3 Anxiety ' night and day,' or ' cold and hot ' fits of trouble ; — a 
peculiar usage of Yin Yang. 

P 2 

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you, Sir, tell me something (to help me in the 
case) ? ' 

Afung-nf replied, 'In all things under heaven there 
are two great cautionary considerations : — the one 
is the requirement implanted (in the nature) 1 ; the 
other is the conviction of what is right. The love 
of a son for his parents is the implanted require- 
ment, and can never be separated from his heart ; 
the service of his ruler by a minister is what is 
right, and from its obligation there is no escaping 
anywhere between heaven and earth. These are 
what are called the great cautionary considerations. 
Therefore a son finds his rest in serving his 
parents without reference to or choice of place ; and 
this is the height of filial duty. In the same way 
a subject finds his rest in serving his ruler, without 
reference to or choice of the business ; and this 
is the fullest discharge of loyalty. When men are 
simply obeying (the dictates of) their hearts, the 
considerations of grief and joy are not readily set 
before them. They know that there is no alterna- 
tive to their acting as they do, and rest in it as 
what is appointed ; and this is the highest achieve- 
ment of virtue. He who is in the position of a 
minister or of a son has indeed to do what he 
cannot but do. Occupied with the details of the 
business (in hand), and forgetful of his own person, 
what leisure has he to think of his pleasure in living 
or his dislike of death ? You, my master, may well 
proceed on your mission. 

'But let me repeat to you what I have heard : — In 

1 The Ming of the text here is that in the first sentence of the 
^Tung Yung. 

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all intercourse (between states), if they are near to 
each other, there should be mutual friendliness, veri- 
fied by deeds ; if they are far apart, there must be 
sincere adherence to truth in their messages. Those 
messages will be transmitted by internuncios. But 
to convey messages which express the complacence 
or the dissatisfaction of the two parties is the most 
difficult thing in the world. If they be those of 
mutual complacence, there is sure to be an overflow 
of expressions of satisfaction ; if of mutual dissatis- 
faction, an overflow of expressions of dislike. But 
all extravagance leads to reckless language, and 
such language fails to command belief. When this 
distrust arises, woe to the internuncio ! Hence the 
Rules for Speech 1 say, "Transmit the message exactly 
as it stands ; do not transmit it with any overflow of 
language ; so is (the internuncio) likely to keep him- 
self whole." 

4. ' Moreover, skilful wrestlers begin with open 
trials of strength, but always end with masked 
attempts (to gain the victory) ; as their excitement 
grows excessive, they display much wonderful dex- 
terity. Parties drinking according to the rules at 
first observe good order, but always end with dis- 
order ; as their excitement grows excessive, their fun 
becomes uproarious 2 . In all things it is so. People 
are at first sincere, but always end with becoming rude; 
at the commencement things are treated as trivial, 

1 Probably a Collection of Directions current at the time ; and 
which led to the name of Yang Hsiung's Treatise with the same 
name in our first century. 

2 See the Shih, II, vii, 6. 


but as the end draws near, they assume great pro- 
portions. Words are (like) the waves acted on by 
the wind ; the real point of the matters (discussed by 
them) is lost. The wind and waves are easily set in 
motion ; the success of the matter of which the real 
point is lost is easily put in peril. Hence quarrels 
are occasioned by nothing so much as by artful words 
and one-sided speeches. The breath comes angrily, 
as when a beast, driven to death, wildly bellows forth 
its rage. On this animosities arise on both sides. 
Hasty examination (of the case) eagerly proceeds, 
and revengeful thoughts arise in their minds ; — they 
do not know how. Since they do not know how 
such thoughts arise, who knows how they will end ? 
Hence the Rules for Speech J say, " Let not an in- 
ternuncius depart from his instructions. Let him 
not urge on a settlement. If he go beyond the 
regular rules, he will complicate matters. Departing 
from his instructions and urging on a settlement im- 
perils negotiations. A good settlement is proved by 
its lasting long, and a bad settlement cannot be 
altered ; — ought he not to be careful ? " 

' Further still, let your mind find its enjoyment in 
the circumstances of your position ; nourish the cen- 
tral course which you pursue, by a reference to your 
unavoidable obligations. This is the highest object 
for you to pursue ; what else can you do to fulfil the 
charge (of your father and ruler) 2 . The best thing 
you can do is to be prepared to sacrifice your life ; 
and this is the most difficult thing to do.' 

1 See above, on preceding page. 

2 Not meaning the king of Khh; but the Tao, whose will was 
to be found in his nature and the conditions of his lot. 

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5. Yen Ho x , being about to undertake the office of 
Teacher of the eldest son of duke Ling of Wei, con- 
sulted K\x Po-yu 2 . ' Here/ said he, 'is this (young) 
man, whose natural disposition is as bad as it could 
be. If I allow him to proceed in a bad way, it will 
be at the peril of our state ; if I insist on his proceed- 
ing in a right way, it will be at the peril of my own 
person. His wisdom is just sufficient to know the 
errors of other men, but he does not know how 
he errs himself. What am I to do in such a 
case ? ' KM. Po-yii replied, 'Good indeed is your ques- 
tion ! Be on your guard ; be careful ; see that you 
keep yourself correct ! Your best plan will be, with 
your person to seek association with him, and with 
your mind to try to be in harmony with him ; and 
yet there are dangers connected with both of these 
things. While seeking to keep near to him, do not 
enter into his pursuits ; while cultivating a harmony 
of mind with him, do not show how superior you are 
to him. If in your personal association you enter 
into his pursuits, you will fall with him and be ruined, 
you will tumble down with a crash. If in maintaining 
a harmony with his mind, you show how different 
you are from him, he will think you do so for the 
reputation and the name, and regard you as a 
creature of evil omen 3 . If you find him to be a mere 
boy, be you with him as another boy ; if you find 
him one of those who will not have their ground 
marked out in the ordinary way, do you humour 

1 A member of the Yen family of Lu. We shall meet with him 
again in Books XIX, XXVIII, and XXXII. 

2 A minister of Wei ; a friend and favourite of Confucius. 

3 Compare in the .Sung Yung, ii, ch. 24. 


him in this characteristic * ; if you find him to be free 
from lofty airs, show yourself to be the same ; — 
(ever) leading him on so as to keep him free from 

'Do you not know (the fate of) the praying 
mantis ? It angrily stretches out its arms, to arrest 
the progress of the carriage, unconscious of its in- 
ability for such a task, but showing how much it 
thinks of its own powers. Be on your guard ; be 
careful. If you cherish a boastful confidence in 
your own excellence, and place yourself in collision 
with him, you are likely to incur the fate (of the 

' Do you not know how those who keep tigers 
proceed ? They do not dare to supply them with 
living creatures, because of the rage which their 
killing of them will excite. They do not (even) dare 
to give them their food whole, because of the rage 
which their rending of it will excite. They watch 
till their hunger is appeased, (dealing with them) 
from their knowledge of their natural ferocity. Tigers 
are different from men, but they fawn on those who 
feed them, and do so in accordance with their nature. 
When any of these are killed by them, it is because 
they have gone against that nature. 

' Those again who are fond of horses preserve 
their dung in baskets, and their urine in jars. If 
musquitoes and gadflies light on them, and the 
grooms brush them suddenly away, the horses 
break their bits, injure (the ornaments on) their 
heads, and smash those on their breasts. The more 
care that is taken of them, the more does their fond- 

1 Equivalent to ' Do not cross him in his peculiarities.' 


ness (for their attendants) disappear. Ought not 
caution to be exercised (in the management of 

6. A (master) mechanic, called Shih, on his way to 
KM, came to A^u-yiian \ where he saw an oak-tree, 
which was used as the altar for the spirits of the 
land. It was so large that an ox standing behind 
it could not be seen. It measured a hundred spans 
round, and rose up eighty cubits on the hill before it 
threw out any branches, after which there were ten 
or so, from each of which a boat could be hollowed 
out. People came to see it in crowds as in a market 
place, but the mechanic did not look round at it, but 
held on his way without stopping. One of his work- 
men, however, looked long and admiringly at it, and 
then ran on to his master, and said to him, ' Since I 
followed you with my axe and bill, I have never 
seen such a beautiful mass of timber as this. Why 
would you, Sir, not look round at it, but went on 
without stopping ? ' ' Have done,' said Mr. Shih, 
'and do not speak about it. It is quite useless. A 
boat made from its wood would sink ; a coffin or 
shell would quickly rot ; an article of furniture 
would soon go to pieces ; a door would be 
covered with the exuding sap ; a pillar would be 
riddled by insects ; the material of it is good for 
nothing, and hence it is that it has attained to so 
great an age V 

1 The name of a place; of a road; of a bend in the road; of 
a hill. All these accounts of the name are found in different 
editions of our author, showing that the locality had not been 

2 No one has thought it worth cutting down. 

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When Mr. Shih was returning, the altar-oak 
appeared to him in a dream, and said, ' What other 
tree will you compare with me ? Will you compare 
me to one of your ornamental trees ? There are 
hawthorns, pear-trees, orange-trees, pummelo-trees, 
gourds and other low fruit-bearing plants. When 
their fruits are ripe, they are knocked down from 
them, and thrown among the dirt 1 . The large 
branches are broken, and the smaller are torn away. 
So it is that their productive ability makes their 
lives bitter to them ; they do not complete their 
natural term of existence, but come to a premature 
end in the middle of their time, bringing on them- 
selves the destructive treatment which they ordin- 
arily receive. It is so with all things. I have 
sought to discover how it was that I was so useless ; 
— I had long done so, till (the effort) nearly caused 
my death ; and now I have learned it : — it has been 
of the greatest use to me. Suppose that I had 
possessed useful properties, should I have become of 
the great size that I 'am ? And moreover you and I 
are both things ; — how should one thing thus pass 
its judgment on another ? how is it that you a use- 
less man know all this about me a useless tree ? ' 
When Mr. Shih awoke, he kept thinking about his 
dream, but the workman said, ' Being so taken with 
its uselessness, how is it that it yet acts here as the 
altar for the spirits of the land ? ' 'Be still,' was the 
master's reply, ' and do not say a word. It simply 
happened to grow here ; and thus those who do not 
know it do not speak ill of it as an evil thing. If it 
were not used as the altar, would it be in danger of 

1 This is the indignity intended. 


being cut down ? Moreover, the reason of its being 
preserved is different from that of the preservation 
of things generally ; is not your explaining it from 
the sentiment which you have expressed wide of the 
mark ? ' 

7. Nan-po 3ze-Mi a in rambling about the Heights 
of Shang 2 , saw a large and extraordinary tree. The 
teams of a thousand chariots might be sheltered 
under it, and its shade would cover them all ! $ze- 
kki said, ' What a tree is this ! It must contain an 
extraordinary amount of timber ! When he looked 
up, however, at its smaller branches, they were so 
twisted and crooked that they could not be made 
into rafters and beams ; when he looked down to its 
root, its stem was divided into so many rounded por- 
tions that neither coffin nor shell could be made from 
them. He licked one of its leaves, and his mouth 
felt torn and wounded. The smell of it would make 
a man frantic, as if intoxicated, for more than three 
whole days together. ' This, indeed,' said he, ' is a 
tree good for nothing, and it is thus that it has 
attained to such a size. Ah ! and spirit-like men 
acknowledge this worthlessness (and its result) V 

In Sung there is the district of K'mg-shxh. 4 , in 
which catalpae, cypresses, and mulberry trees grow 
well. Those of them which are a span or two or 
rather more in circumference 5 are cut down by per- 
sons who want to make posts to which to tie their 

1 Probably the Nan-kwo %zz-kh\ at the beginning of the second 

2 In the present department of Kwei-teh, Ho-nan. 

3 A difficult sentence to construe. 

4 In what part of the duchy we do not know. 
8 See Mencius, VI, i, 13. 

220 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. iv. 

monkeys ; those which are three or four spans 
round are cut down by persons who want beams for 
their lofty and famous houses ; and those of seven 
or eight spans are cut down by noblemen and rich 
merchants who want single planks for the sides of 
their coffins. The trees in consequence do not 
complete their natural term of life, and come to a 
premature end in the middle of their growth under 
the axe and bill ; — this is the evil that befalls them 
from their supplying good timber. 

In the same way the A'ieh x (book) specifies oxen 
that have white foreheads, pigs that have turned-up 
snouts, and men that are suffering from piles, and 
forbids their being sacrificed to the Ho. The 
wizards know them by these peculiarities and con- 
sider them to be inauspicious, but spirit-like men 
consider them on this account to be very fortunate. 

8. There was the deformed object Shu 2 . His chin 
seemed to hide his navel ; his shoulders were higher 
than the crown of his head ; the knot of his hair 
pointed to the sky ; his five viscera were all com- 
pressed into the upper part of his body, and his two 
thigh bones were like ribs. By sharpening needles 
and washing clothes he was able to make a living. 
By sifting rice and cleaning it, he was able to support 
ten individuals. When the government was calling 
out soldiers, this poor Shu would bare his arms 
among the others ; when it had any great service 
to be undertaken, because of his constant ailments, 
none of the work was assigned to him ; when it was 

1 Probably the name of an old work on sacrifices. But was there 
ever a time in China when human sacrifices were offered to the Ho, 
or on any altar ? 

8 One of .fifwang-jze's creations. 


giving out grain to the sick, he received three iung, 
and ten bundles of firewood. If this poor man, so 
deformed in body, was still able to support him- 
self, and complete his term of life, how much more 
may they do so, whose deformity is that of their 
faculties 1 ! 

9. When Confucius went to Kh\5?, KMeh-yd, the 
madman of^^u 3 , as he was wandering about, passed 
by his door, and said, ' O Phoenix, O Phoenix, how 
is your virtue degenerated ! The future is not to 
be waited for ; the past is not to be sought again ! 
When good order prevails in the world, the sage 
tries to accomplish all his service ; when disorder 
prevails, he may preserve his life ; at the present 
time, it is enough if he simply escape being punished. 
Happiness is lighter than a feather, but no one knows 
how to support it ; calamity is heavier than the earth, 
and yet no one knows how to avoid it. Give over ! 
give over approaching men with the lessons of your 
virtue ! You are in peril ! you are in peril, hurrying 
on where you have marked out the ground against 
your advance ! I avoid publicity, I avoid publicity, 
that my path may not be injured. I pursue my 
course, now going backwards, now crookedly, that 
my feet may not be hurt 4 . 

1 The deficiency of their faculties — here mental faculties — would 
assimilate them to the useless trees in the last two paragraphs, 
whose uselessness only proved useful to them. 

2 The great state of the south, having its capital in the present 

3 See the Analects, XVIII, v. 

* The madman would seem to contrast his own course with that 
of Confucius; but the meaning is very uncertain, and the text 
cannot be discussed fully in these short notes. There is a jingle 

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' The mountain by its trees weakens itself \ 
The grease which ministers to the fire fries itself. 
The cinnamon tree can be eaten, and therefore it is 
cut down. The varnish tree is useful, and therefore 
incisions are made in it. All men know the advan- 
tage of being useful, but no one knows the advantage 
of being useless.' 

of rhyme also in the sentence, and some critics find something like 
this in them : 

'Ye ferns, ye thorny ferns, O injure not my way! 
To save my feet, I backward turn, or winding stray!' 

1 Literally, 'robs itself;' — exhausts its moisture or productive 

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Part I. Section V. 

Teh Khung Fu, or 'The Seal of Virtue 
Complete 1 .' 

1. In Lu 2 there was a Wang Thai 3 who had lost 
both his feet 4 ; while his disciples who followed and 
went about with him were as numerous as those of 
-ffung-ni. Kkang Ki b asked Aung-ni about him, 
saying, ' Though Wang Thai is a cripple, the dis- 
ciples who follow him about divide Lu equally with 
you, Master. When he stands, he does not teach 
them ; when he sits, he does not discourse to them. 
But they go to him empty, and come back full. Is 
there indeed such a thing as instruction without 
words 6 ? and while the body is imperfect, may the 
mind be complete ? What sort of man is he ? ' 

^Tung-nl replied, ' This master is a sage. I have 

1 See pp. 133, 134. 

2 The native state of Confucius, part of the present Shan-tung. 

3 A Taoist of complete virtue ; but probably there was not really 
such a person. Our author fabricates him according to his fashion. 

* The character uh (7t) d° es not sa y t^ at ^ e had lost both his 
feet, but I suppose that such is the meaning, because of what is 
said of Toeless below that ' he walked on his heels to see Confucius.' 
The feet must have been amputated, or mutilated rather (justly or 
unjustly), as a punishment ; but ATwang-jze wished to say nothing 
on that point. 

8 Perhaps a disciple of Confucius ; — not elsewhere mentioned as 

6 See the Tdo Teh -Smg, ch. 2. 

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only been too late in going to him. I will make 
him my teacher ; and how much more should those 
do so who are not equal to me ! Why should 
only the state of Lu follow him ? I will lead on all 
under heaven with me to do so.' Kkaxig Ki re- 
joined, ' He is a man who has lost his feet, and yet 
he is known as the venerable Wang l ; — he must be 
very different from ordinary men. What is the 
peculiar way in which he employs his mind ? ' The 
reply was, ' Death and life are great considerations, 
but they could work no change in him. Though 
heaven and earth were to be overturned and fall, 
they would occasion him no loss. His judgment is 
fixed regarding that in which there is no element 
of falsehood 2 ; and, while other things change, he 
changes not. The transformations of things are to 
him the developments prescribed for them, and he 
keeps fast hold of the author of them V 

KAang Ki said, ' What do you mean ? ' ' When 
we look at things,' said Afung-nl, ' as they differ, we 
see them to be different, (as for instance) the liver 
and the gall, or KhiX and Yiieh ; when we look at 
them, as they agree, we see them all to be a unity. 
So it is with this (Wang Thai). He takes no know- 
ledge of the things for which his ears and eyes are 
the appropriate organs, but his mind delights itself 
in the harmony of (all excellent) qualities. He looks 
at the unity which belongs to things, and does not 
perceive where they have suffered loss. He looks 

1 Literally, ' the Senior ; ' often rendered ' Teacher.' 

2 'That in which there is no element of falsehood' is the T &o, 
which also is the 'Author' of all the changes that take place in 
time and space. See the Introductory Note on the title and subject 
of the Book. 

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on the loss of his feet as only the loss of so much 
earth.' K\ said, ' He is entirely occupied with his 
(proper) self \ By his knowledge he has discovered 
(the nature of) his mind, and to that he holds as 
what is unchangeable l ; but how is it that men make 
so much of him ?' The reply was, 'Men do not 
look into running water as a mirror, but into still 
water ; — it is only the still water that can arrest 
them all, and keep them (in the contemplation of 
their real selves). Of things which are what they 
are by the influence of the earth, it is only the pine 
and cypress which are the best instances ; — in winter 
as in summer brightly green 2 . Of those which were 
what they were by the influence of Heaven 3 , the 
most correct examples were Yao and Shun ; for- 
tunate in (thus) maintaining their own life correct, 
and so as to correct the lives of others. 

' As a verification of the (power of) the original 
endowment, when it has been preserved, take the 
result of fearlessness, — how the heroic spirit of a 
single brave soldier has been thrown into an army 
of nine hosts 4 . If a man only seeking for fame and 
able in this way to secure it can produce such an 
effect, how much more (may we look for a greater 

1 Wang Thai saw all things in the Tio, and the Tdo in all 
things. Comp. Book XI, pax. 7, et al. 

* Notwithstanding his being a cripple. He forgets that circum- 
stance himself, and all others forget it, constrained and won by 
his embodiment of the T&o. What follows is an illustration of 
this, exaggerated indeed, but not so extravagantly as in many 
other passages. 

3 In the Tioistic meaning of the term. 

4 The royal army consisted of six hosts ; that of a great feudal 
prince of three. ' Nine hosts ' = a very great army. 

[39] Q 

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226 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. v. 

result) from one whose rule is over heaven and 
earth, and holds all things in his treasury, who 
simply has his lodging in the six members x of his 
body, whom his ears and eyes serve but as convey- 
ing emblematic images of things, who comprehends 
all his knowledge in a unity, and whose mind never 
dies ! If such a man were to choose a day oh which 
he would ascend far on high, men would (seek to) 
follow him there. But how should he be willing to 
occupy himself with other men ? ' 

2. Shan-thu Ki& 2 was (another) man who had lost 
his feet. Along with 3ze-Man 3 of A'ang 3 he studied 
under the master Po-hwan Wu-2an *. <$z& said 
to him (one day), ' If I go out first, do you remain 
behind ; and if you go out first, I will remain be- 
hind.' Next day they were again sitting together 
on the same mat in the hall, when 3ze-^an spoke 
the same words to him, adding, ' Now I am about to 
go out ; will you stay behind or not ? Moreover, 
when you see one of official rank (like myself), you 
do not try to get out of his way; — do you consider 
yourself equal to one of official rank ? ' Shan-thu 
Kiii replied, ' In our Master's school is there indeed 
such recognition required of official rank ? You are 
one, Sir, whose pleasure is in your official rank, and 
would therefore take precedence of other men. I 

1 The arms, legs, head, and trunk. 

2 Another cripple introduced by our author to serve his purpose. 

3 Kung-sun Kfn&o; a good and able minister of -Sang, an 
earldom forming part of the present Ho-nan. He was a con- 
temporary of Confucius, who wept when he heard of his death in 
B.C. 522. He was a scion of the ruling house, which again was 
a branch of the royal family of KaxL. 

* A Taoist teacher. See XXI, par. 9; XXXII, par. 1. 

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have heard that when a mirror is bright, the dust 
does not rest on it ; when dust rests on it the mirror 
is not bright. When one dwells long with a man of 
ability and virtue, he comes to be without error. 
There now is our teacher whom you have chosen to 
make you greater than you are ; and when you still 
talk in this way, are you not in error?' j$ze-Ma.n 
rejoined, 'A (shattered) object as you are, you would 
still strive to make yourself out as good as Yao ! If 
I may form an estimate of your virtue, might it not be 
sufficient to lead you to the examination of yourself ?' 
The other said, 'Most criminals, in describing their 
offences, would make it out that they ought not to 
have lost (their feet) for them ; few would describe 
them so as to make it appear that they should not 
have preserved their feet. They are only the virtuous 
who know that such a calamity was unavoidable, and 
therefore rest in it as what was appointed for them. 
When men stand before (an archer like) 1 1 with his 
bent bow, if they are in the middle of his field, that 
is the place where they should be hit ; and if they 
be not hit, that also was appointed. There are 
many with their feet entire who laugh at me be- 
cause I have lost my feet, which makes me feel 
vexed and angry. But when I go to our teacher, 
I throw off that feeling, and return (to a better 
mood) ; — he has washed, without my knowing it, the 
other from me by (his instructions in) what is good. 
I have attended him now for nineteen years, and 
have not known that I am without my feet. Now, 
you, Sir, and I have for the object of our study the 

1 A famous archer of antiquity in the twenty-second century 
b.c, or perhaps earlier. 

Q 2 

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(virtue) which is internal, and not an adjunct of the 
body, and yet you are continually directing your 
attention to my external body; — are you not wrong 
in this ? ' 3ze-£6an felt uneasy, altered his manner 
and looks, and said, ' You need not, Sir, say any- 
thing more about it.' 

3. In Lu there was a cripple, called Shu-shan the 
Toeless 1 , who came on his heels to see Kung-ni. 
Kung-ni said to him, ' By your want of circumspec- 
tion in the past, Sir, you have incurred such a cala- 
mity; — of what use is your coming to me now?' 
Toeless said, ' Through my ignorance of my proper 
business and taking too little care of my body, I 
came to lose my feet. But now I am come to you, 
still possessing what is more honourable than my 
feet, and which therefore I am anxious to preserve 
entire. There is nothing which Heaven does not 
cover, and nothing which Earth does not sustain ; 
you, Master, were regarded by me as doing the part 
of Heaven and Earth ; — how could I know that you 
would receive me in such a way ? ' Confucius re- 
joined, ' I am but a poor creature. But why, my 
master, do you not come inside, where I will try to 
tell you what I have learned ? ' When Toeless had 
gone out, Confucius said, ' Be stimulated to effort, 
my disciples. This toeless cripple is still anxious to 
learn to make up for the evil of his former conduct ; 
— how much more should those be so whose conduct 
has been unchallenged ! ' 

Mr. Toeless, however, told Lao Tan (of the inter- 

1 ' Toeless ' is a sort of nickname. Shti-shan or Shfi hill was, 
probably, where he dwelt : — ' Toeless of Shti hill.' 

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view), saying, ' Khung KA\&, I apprehend, has not 
yet attained to be a Perfect man. What has he to do 
with keeping a crowd of disciples around him ? He 
is seeking to have the reputation of being an extra- 
ordinary and marvellous man, and does not know that 
the Perfect man considers this to be as handcuffs 
and fetters to him.' Lao Tan said, 'Why did you not 
simply lead him to see the unity of life and death, 
and that the admissible and inadmissible belong to 
one category, so freeing him from his fetters ? 
Would this be possible ? ' Toeless said, ' It is the 
punishment inflicted on him by Heaven 1 . How can 
he be freed from it ? ' 

4. Duke Ai of Lu 2 asked A'ung-ni, saying, 'There 
was an ugly man in Wei, called Ai-thai Tho 3 . His 
father-in-law, who lived with him, thought so much of 
him that he could not be away from him. His wife, 
when she saw him (ugly as he was), represented to 
her parents, saying, " I had more than ten times 
rather be his concubine than the wife of any other 
man 4 ." He was never heard to take the lead in dis- 
cussion, but always seemed to be of the same opinion 
with others. He had not the position of a ruler, so 
as to be able to save men from death. He had no 
revenues, so as to be able to satisfy men's craving 
for food. He was ugly enough, moreover, to scare 

1 'Heaven' here is a synonym of Tao. Perhaps the meaning 
is ' unavoidable ; ' it is so in the T&oistic order of things. 

a It was in the sixteenth year of duke Ai that Confucius died. 
Ai was marquis of Lu from b.c. 494 to 468. 

3 The account of Ai-thii Tho is of course .ATwang-jze's own 
fabrication. Ai-th&i is understood to be descriptive of his ugliness, 
and Tho to be his name. 

4 Perhaps this was spoken by his wife before their marriage. 

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the whole world. He agreed with men instead of 
trying to lead them to adopt his views ; his know- 
ledge did not go beyond his immediate neighbour- 
hood \ And yet his father-in-law and his wife were 
of one mind about him in his presence (as I have 
said) ; — he must have been different from other men. 
I called him, and saw him. Certainly he was ugly 
enough to scare the whole world. He had not lived 
with me, however, for many months, when I was 
drawn to the man ; and before he had been with 
me a full year, I had confidence in him. The state 
being without a chief minister, I (was minded) to 
commit the government to him. He responded to 
my proposal sorrowfully, and looked undecided as if 
he would fain have declined it. I was ashamed of 
myself (as inferior to him), but finally gave the 
government into his hands. In a little time, how- 
ever, he left me and went away. I was sorry and 
felt that I had sustained a loss, and as if there were 
no other to share the pleasures of the kingdom with 
me. What sort of man was he ? ' 

Knng-rA said, ' Once when I was sent on a mission 
to Kh% I saw some pigs sucking at their dead mother. 
After a little they looked with rapid glances, when 
they all left her, and ran away. They felt that she 
did not see them, and that she was no longer like 
themselves. What they had loved in their mother 
was not her bodily figure, but what had given anima- 
tion to her figure. When a man dies in battle, they 
do not at his interment employ the usual appendages 

1 One sees dimly the applicability of this illustration to the case 
in hand. What made Ai-thal Tho so much esteemed was his mental 
power, quite independent of his ugly person. 


of plumes * : as to supplying shoes to one who has 
lost his feet, there is no reason why he should care 
for them ; — in neither case is there the proper reason 
for their use '. The members of the royal harem 
do not pare their nails nor pierce their ears 2 ; when 
a man is newly married, he remains (for a time) 
absent from his official duties, and unoccupied with 
them 2 . That their bodies might be perfect was 
sufficient to make them thus dealt with ; — how 
much greater results should be expected from men 
whose mental gifts are perfect ! This Ai-thai Tho 
was believed by men, though he did not speak a 
word ; and was loved by them, though he did no 
special service for them. He made men appoint 
him to the government of their states, afraid only 
that he would not accept the appointment. He 
must have been a man whose powers 3 were perfect, 
though his realisation of them 3 was not manifested 
in his person.' 

Duke Ai said, ' What is meant by saying that his 
powers were complete ? ' A'ung-nl replied, ' Death 
and life, preservation and ruin, failure and success, 
poverty and wealth, superiority and inferiority, 
blame and praise, hunger and thirst, cold and heat ; — 
these are the changes of circumstances, the operation 
of our appointed lot. Day and night they succeed 
to one another before us, but there is no wisdom 

1 See the Li K% VIII, i, 7 ; but the applicability of these two 
illustrations is not so clear. 

a These two have force as in ' reasoning from the less to the 
greater.' With the latter of the two compare the mosaical provision 
in Deuteronomy xxiv. 5. 

3 ' Powers' are the capacities of the nature, — the gift of the Tao. 
' Virtue ' is the realisation or carrying out of those capacities. 

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able to discover to what they owe their origination. 
They are not sufficient therefore to disturb the har- 
mony (of the nature), and are not allowed to enter into 
the treasury of intelligence. To cause this harmony 
and satisfaction ever to be diffused, while the feeling 
of pleasure is not lost from the mind ; to allow no 
break to arise in this state day or night, so that it is 
always spring-time 1 in his relations with external 
things ; in all his experiences to realise in his mind 
what is appropriate to each season (of the year) 2 : — 
these are the characteristics of him whose powers 
are perfect.' 

' And what do you mean by the realisation of 
these powers not being manifested in the person?' 
(pursued further the duke). The reply was, ' There 
is nothing so level as the surface of a pool of still 
water. It may serve as an example of what I mean. 
All within its circuit is preserved (in peace), and there 
comes to it no agitation from without. The virtuous 
efficacy is the perfect cultivation of the harmony 
(of the nature). Though the realisation of this be 
not manifested in the person, things cannot separate 
themselves (from its influence).' 

Some days afterwards duke Ai told this conversa- 
tion to Min-jze 3 , saying, ' Formerly it seemed to me 
the work of the sovereign to stand in court with his 
face to the south, to rule the kingdom, and to pay 
good heed to the accounts of the people concerned, 
lest any should come to a (miserable) death ; — this 

1 Specially the season of complacent enjoyment. 

2 So, in Lin Hsi-iung ; but the meaning has to be forced out 
of the text. 

3 The disciple Min Sun or Min %ze-iAie.r\. 

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I considered to be the sum (of his duty). Now that 
I have heard that description of the Perfect man, I 
fear that my idea is not the real one, and that, by 
employing myself too lightly, I may cause the ruin 
of my state. I and Khung A7*iu are not on the 
footing of ruler and subject, but on that of a virtuous 

5. A person who had no lips, whose legs were 
bent so that he could only walk on his toes, and who 
was (otherwise) deformed *, addressed his counsels to 
duke Ling of Wei, who was so pleased with him, 
that he looked on a perfectly formed man as having 
a lean and small neck in comparison with him. 
Another who had a large goitre like an earthenware 
jar ' addressed his counsels to duke Hwan of KIA 2 , 
who was so pleased with him that he looked on a 
perfectly formed man as having a neck lean and 
small in comparison with him 3 . So it is that when 
one's virtue is extraordinary, (any deficiency in) his 
bodily form may be forgotten. When men do not 
forget what is (easily) forgotten, and forget what is 
not (easily) forgotten, we have a case of real oblivion. 
Therefore the sagely man has that in which his mind 
finds its enjoyment, and (looks on) wisdom as (but) 
the shoots from an old stump ; agreements with 
others are to him but so much glue ; kindnesses are 

1 These two men are undoubtedly inventions of A'wang-jze. 
They are brought before us, not by surnames and names, but 
by their several deformities. 

3 The first of the five presiding chiefs ; marquis of KM. from 
b.c. 685 to 643. 

3 Lin Hsi-^ung wonders whether the story of the man who was 
so taken with the charms of a one-eyed courtesan, that he thought 
other women all had an eye too many, was taken from this ! 

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(but the arts of) intercourse ; and great skill is (but 
as) merchants' wares. The sagely man lays no 
plans ; — of what use would wisdom be to him ? He 
has no cutting and hacking to do ; — of what use 
would glue be to him ? He has lost nothing ; — 
of what use would arts of intercourse be to him ? 
He has no goods to dispose of ; — what need has he 
to play the merchant ? (The want of) these four 
things are the nourishment of (his) Heavenly (nature) ; 
that nourishment is its Heavenly food. Since he 
receives this food from Heaven, what need has he 
for anything of man's (devising) ? He has the bodily 
form of man, but not the passions and desires of 
(other) men. He has the form of man, and therefore 
he is a man. Being without the passions and desires 
of men, their approvings and disapprovings are not 
to be found in him. How insignificant and small is 
(the body) by which he belongs to humanity ! How 
grand and great is he in the unique perfection of his 
Heavenly (nature) ! 

Hui-jze said to isfwang-jze, ' Can a man indeed 
be without desires and passions ? ' The reply was, 
' He can.' ' But on what grounds do you call him a 
man, who is thus without passions and desires ? ' 
Aiwang-jze said, ' The Tao 1 gives him his personal 
appearance (and powers) ; Heaven 2 gives him his 
bodily form ; how should we not call him a man ?' 
Hui-jze rejoined, ' Since you call him a man, how 

1 Lu Shu-£ih maintains here that 'the TSo' and 'Heaven' have 
the same meaning; nor does he make any distinction between 
m &° ($£)< ' tne personal appearance,' and hsing (^§2), 'the 
figure,' or ' bodily form.' 

2 Compare in the Tao Teh -S^ing expressions in li, 2, and 

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can he be without passions and desires ? ' The 
reply was, ' You are misunderstanding what I mean 
by passions and desires. What I mean when I say 
that he is without these is, that this man does not by 
his likings and dislikings do any inward harm to his 
body ; — he always pursues his course without effort, 
and does not (try to) increase his (store of) life.' 
Hui-jze rejoined, ' If there were not that increasing 
of (the amount) of life, how would he get his body 1 ?' 
ATwang-jze said, ' The Tao gives him his personal 
appearance (and powers) ; Heaven gives him his 
bodily form ; and he does not by his likings and dis- 
likings do any internal harm to his body. But now 
you, Sir, deal with your spirit as if it were something 
external to you, and subject your vital powers to toil. 
You sing (your ditties), leaning against a tree ; you 
go to sleep, grasping the stump of a rotten dryandra 
tree. Heaven selected for you the bodily form (of 
a man), and you babble about what is strong and 
what is white V 

1 Apparently a gross meaning attached by Hui-jze to .Xwang-jze's 

2 .ffwang-jze beats down his opponent, and contemptuously 
refers to some of his well-known peculiarities ; — as in II, par. 5, 
XXXIII, par. 7, and elsewhere. 

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Part I. Section VI. 

T& 3 un g Shih, or 'The Great and Most 
Honoured Master 1 .' 

1. He who knows the part which the Heavenly 2 
(in him) plays, and knows (also) that which the H uman 2 
(in him ought to) play, has reached the perfection 
(of knowledge). He who knows the part which the 
Heavenly plays (knows) that it is naturally born 
with him ; he who knows the part which the Human 
ought to play (proceeds) with the knowledge which 
he possesses to nourish it in the direction of what 
he does not (yet) know 3 : — to complete one's natural 
term of years and not come to an untimely end in 
the middle of his course is the fulness of knowledge. 
Although it be so, there is an evil (attending this 
condition). Such knowledge still awaits the con- 
firmation of it as correct ; it does so because it is 
not yet determined 4 . How do we know that what 

1 See pp. 134-136. 

2 Both ' Heaven ' and ' Man ' here are used in the Taoistic 
sense ;■ — the meaning which the terms commonly have both with 
Lao and JZwang. 

3 The middle member of this sentence is said to be the practical 
outcome of all that is said in the Book ; conducting the student of 
the Tao to an unquestioning submission to the experiences in his 
lot, which are beyond his comprehension, and approaching nearly 
to what we understand by the Christian virtue of Faith. 

4 That is, there may be the conflict, to the end of life, between 

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we call the Heavenly (in us) is not the Human ? and 
that what we call the Human is not the Heavenly ? 
There must be the True man 1 , and then there is 
the True knowledge. 

2. What is meant by 'the True Man 2 ?' The 
True men of old did not reject (the views of) the 
few ; they did not seek to accomplish (their ends) 
like heroes (before others) ; they did not lay plans 
to attain those ends 8 . Being such, though they 
might make mistakes, they had no occasion for 
repentance ; though they might succeed, they had 
no self-complacency. Being such, they could ascend 
the loftiest heights without fear ; they could pass 
through water without being made wet by it ; they 
could go into fire without being burnt ; so it was 

faith and fact, so graphically exhibited in the Book of Job, and com- 
pendiously described in the seventy-third Psalm. 

1 Here we meet with the True Man, a Master of the Tao. 
He is the same as the Perfect Man, the Spirit-like Man, and 
the Sagely Man (see pp. 127, 128), and the designation is some- 
times interchanged in the five paragraphs that follow with ' the 
Sagely Man.' Mr. Balfour says here that this name ' is used in the 
esoteric sense, — " partaking of the essence of divinity; " ' and he 
accordingly translates jjll K by ' the divine man.' But he might 
as well translate any one of the other three names in the same way. 
The Shwo Wan dictionary defines the name by -fjlj ^, ' a recluse 

of the mountain, whose bodily form has been changed, and who 
ascends to heaven ; ' but when this account was made, Taoism had 
entered into a new phase, different from what it had in the time of 
our author. 

2 In this description of 'the True Man,' and in what follows, 
there is what is grotesque and what is exaggerated (see note 
on the title of the first Book, p. 1 2 7). The most prominent charac- 
teristic of him was his perfect comprehension of the TSo and 
participation of it 

-f- has here the sense of ^. 

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238 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. vi. 

that by their knowledge they ascended to and 
reached the T a o \ 

The True men of old did not dream when they 
slept, had no anxiety when they awoke, and did 
not care that their food should be pleasant. Their 
breathing came deep and silently. The breathing 
of the true man comes (even) from his heels, while 
men generally breathe (only) from their throats. 
When men are defeated in argument, their words 
come from their gullets as if they were vomiting. 
Where lusts and desires are deep, the springs of the 
Heavenly are shallow. 

The True men of old knew nothing of the love 
of life or of the hatred of death. Entrance into life 
occasioned them no joy ; the exit from it awakened 
no resistance. Composedly they went and came. 
They did not forget what their beginning had been, 
and they did not inquire into what their end would 
be. They accepted (their life) and rejoiced in it; 
they forgot (all fear of death), and returned (to their 
state before life) \ Thus there was in them what is 
called the want of any mind to resist the Tao, and 
of all attempts by means of the Human to assist 
the Heavenly. Such were they who are called the 
True men. 

3. Being such, their minds were free from all 
thought 2 ; their demeanour was still and unmoved ; 

1 Was not this the state of non-existence ? We cannot say of 
Pant&oism. However we may describe that, the T&o operates 
in nature, but is not identical with it. 

* Aj) ;{& appears in the common editions as j(^» ^, which 
must have got into the text at a very early time. ' The mind 
forgetting,' or ' free from all thought and purpose/ appears every- 

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their foreheads beamed simplicity. Whatever cold- 
ness came from them was like that of autumn; 
whatever warmth came from them was like that 
of spring. Their joy and anger assimilated to what 
we see in the four seasons. They did in regard to 
all things what was suitable, and no one could know 
how far their action would go. Therefore the sagely 
man might, in his conduct of war, destroy a state 
without losing the hearts of the people 1 ; his benefits 
and favours might extend to a myriad generations 
without his being a lover of men. Hence he who 
tries to share his joys with others is not a sagely 
man ; he who manifests affection is not benevolent ; 
he who observes times and seasons (to regulate his 
conduct) is not a man of wisdom ; he to whom profit 
and injury are not the same is not a superior man ; 
he who acts for the sake of the name of doing so, 
and loses his (proper) self is not the (right) scholar ; 
and he who throws away his person in a way which 
is not the true (way) cannot command the service of 
others. Such men as Hu Pu-iieh, Wu Kwang, 
Po-i, Shu-£/*i, the count of Ki, Hsu-yu, Ki Tha, and 
Shan-thu Ti, all did service for other men, and 
sought to secure for them what they desired, not 
seeking their own pleasure 2 . 

where in the Book as a characteristic of the True Man. Not a few 
critics contend that it was this, and not the Tiio of which it is a 
quality, that JEwang-jze intended by the ' Master ' in the title. 

1 Such antithetic statements are startling, but they are common 
with both Mo-jze and our author. 

2 The seven men mentioned here are all adduced, I must sup- 
pose, as instances of good and worthy men, but still inferior to the 
True Man. Of Hu Pu-^ieh all that we are told is that he was ' an 
ancient worthy.' One account of Wu Kwang is that he was of the 
time of Hwang-Ti, with ears seven inches long ; another, that he 

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4. The True men of old presented the aspect of 
judging others aright, but without being partisans ; 
of feeling their own insufficiency, but being without 
flattery or cringing. Their peculiarities were natural 
to them, but they were not obstinately attached to 
them ; their humility was evident, but there was 
nothing of unreality or display about it. Their 
placidity and satisfaction had the appearance of joy; 
their every movement seemed to be a necessity to 
them. Their accumulated attractiveness drew men's 
looks to them ; their blandness fixed mens attach- 
ment to their virtue. They seemed to accommodate 
themselves to the (manners of their age), but with a 
certain severity ; their haughty indifference was be- 
yond its control. Unceasing seemed their endea- 
vours to keep (their mouths) shut ; when they looked 
down, they had forgotten what they wished to say. 

They considered punishments to be the substance 
(of government, and they never incurred it) ; cere- 
monies to be its supporting wings (and they always 
observed them) ; wisdom (to indicate) the time (for 
action, and they always selected it) ; and virtue to be 
accordance (with others), and they were all-accordant. 
Considering punishments to be the substance (of 
government), yet their generosity appeared in the 
(manner of their) infliction of death. Considering 
ceremonies to be its supporting wings, they pursued 

was of the time of Thang, of the Shang dynasty. P0-1 and Shu- 
Mi are known to us from the Analects; and also the count of 
Kh\, whose name, it is said, was Hsu-yu. I can find nothing 
about K\ Tha ; — his name in 3iao Hung's text is j£P -Afr yjf? 
Shan-thu Tl was of the Yin dynasty, a contemporary of Thang. 
He drowned himself in the Ho. Most of these are referred to in 
other places. 

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by means of them their course in the world. Con- 
sidering wisdom to indicate the time (for action), 
they felt it necessary to employ it in (the direction 
of) affairs. Considering virtue to be accordance 
(with others), they sought to ascend its height along 
with all who had feet (to climb it). (Such were they), 
and yet men really thought that they did what they 
did by earnest effort 1 . 

5. In this way they were one and the same in all 
their likings and dislikings. Where they liked, they 
were the same ; where they did not like, they were 
the same. In the former case where they liked, they 
were fellow-workers with the Heavenly (in them) ; 
in the latter where they disliked, they were co- 
workers with the Human in them. The one of 
these elements (in their nature) did not overcome 
the other. Such were those who are called the 
True men. 

Death and life are ordained, just as we have the 
constant succession of night and day ; — in both cases 
from Heaven. Men have no power to do anything 
in reference to them ; — such is the constitution of 
things 2 . There are those who specially regard 
Heaven 3 as their father, and they still love It 
(distant as It is) 3 ; — how much more should they love 

1 All this paragraph is taken as illustrative of the True man's 
freedom from thought or purpose in his course. 

2 See note 3 on par. 1, p. 236. 

3 Love is due to a parent, and so such persons should love 
Heaven. There is in the text here, I think, an unconscious refer- 
ence to the earliest time, before the views of the earliest Chinese 
diverged to Theism and T&oism. We cannot translate the Jf^ 

[39] R 

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That which stands out (Superior and Alone) 1 ! Some 
specially regard their ruler as superior to them- 
selves, and will give their bodies to die for him ; — 
how much more should they do so for That which 
is their true (Ruler) * ! When the springs are dried 
up, the fishes collect together on the land. Than 
that they should moisten one another there by the 
damp about them, and keep one another wet by their 
slime, it would be better for them to forget one 
another in the rivers and lakes 2 . And when men 
praise Yao and condemn Kieh, it would be better 
to forget them both, and seek the renovation of 
the Tao. 

6. There is the great Mass (of nature) ; — I find the 
support of my body on it ; my life is spent in toil on 
it ; my old age seeks ease on it ; at death I find rest 
in it ; — what makes my life a good makes my death 
also a good 3 . If you hide away a boat in the ravine 
of a hill, and hide away the hill in a lake, you will 
say that (the boat) is secure ; but at midnight there 
shall come a strong man and carry it off on his back, 
while you in the dark know nothing about it. You 
may hide away anything, whether small or great, in 
the most suitable place, and yet it shall disappear 
from it. But if you could hide the world in the 
world 4 , so that there was nowhere to which it could 
be removed, this would be the grand reality of the 

1 The great and most honoured Master, — the T&o. 

2 This sentence contrasts the cramping effect on the mind of 
Confucianism with the freedom given by the doctrine of the T&o. 

3 The Tao does this. The whole paragraph is an amplification 
of the view given in the preceding note. 

4 The Tao cannot be taken away. It is with its possessor, an 
' ever-during thing.' 

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ever-during Thing 1 . When the body of man comes 
from its special mould 2 , there is even then occasion 
for joy ; but this body undergoes a myriad trans- 
formations, and does not immediately reach its per- 
fection ; — does it not thus afford occasion for joys 
incalculable ? Therefore the sagely man enjoys 
himself in that from which there is no possibility 
of separation, and by which all things are preserved. 
He considers early death or old age, his beginning 
and his ending, all to be good, and in this other men 
imitate him ; — how much more will they do so in 
regard to That Itself on which all things depend, 
and from which every transformation arises ! 

7. This is the Tao; — there is in It emotion and 
sincerity, but It does nothing and has no bodily 
form 3 . It may be handed down (by the teacher), 
but may not be received (by his scholars). It may 
be apprehended (by the mind), but It cannot be 
seen. It has Its root and ground (of existence) in 
Itself. Before there were heaven and earth, from 
of old, there It was, securely existing. From It 
came the mysterious existences of spirits, from It the 
mysterious existence of God 4 . It produced heaven ; 
It produced earth. It was before the Thai-^t 5 , and 

1 See p. 242, note 4. 

' Adopting the reading of fin for ;jjj, supplied by Hwai-nan 3zu. 

5 Our author has done with ' the True Man,' and now brings in 
the Tao itself as his subject. Compare the predicates of It here 
with Bk. II, par. 2. But there are other, and perhaps higher, 
things said of it here. 

4 Men at a very early time came to believe in the existence of 
their spirits after death, and in the existence of a Supreme Ruler or 
God. It was to the Tao that those concepts were owing. 

6 The primal ether out of which all things were fashioned by the 
interaction of the Yin and Yang. This was something like the 

R 2 

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yet could not be considered high : ; It was below all 
space, and yet could not be considered deep \ It 
was produced before heaven and earth, and yet 
could not be considered to have existed long * ; It 
was older than the highest antiquity, and yet could 
not be considered old x . 

Shih-wei got It 2 , and by It adjusted heaven and 
earth. Fu-hsi got It, and by It penetrated to the 
mystery of the maternity of the primary matter. The 
Wei-tiu 3 got It, and from all antiquity has made no 
eccentric movement. The Sun and Moon got It, and 
from all antiquity have not intermitted (their bright 
shining). Khan-pei got It, and by It became lord 
of Khwan-lun*. Fang-1 6 got It, and by It enjoyed 
himself in the Great River. Alen Wu 6 got It, and 
by It dwelt on mount Thai. Hwang-Ti 7 got It, 
and by It ascended the cloudy sky. A'wan-hsu 8 

current idea of protoplasm; but while protoplasm lies down in 
the lower parts of the earth, the Thai-£i was imagined to be in 
the higher regions of space. 

1 The T&o is independent both of space and time. 

2 A prehistoric sovereign. 

3 A name for the constellation of the Great Bear. 

4 Name of the spirit of the Khwan-lun mountains in Thibet, the 
fairy-land of Tstoist writers, very much in Taoism what mount 
SumSru is in Buddhism. 

5 The spirit presiding over the Yellow River ; — see Mayers's 
Manual, pp. 54, 55. 

6 Appears here as the spirit of mount Thai, the great eastern 
mountain ; we met with him in I, 5, but simply as one of .Xwang- 
jze's fictitious personages. 

7 Appears before in Bk. II; the first of Sze-ma II Men's 'Five 
Tis ; ' no doubt a very early sovereign, to whom many important 
discoveries and inventions are ascribed ; is placed by many at the 
head of Taoism itself. 

8 The second of the 'Five Tis;' a grandson of Hwang-Tr. I do 
not know what to say of his ' Dark Palace.' 

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pt. i. sect. vi. THE WRITINGS OF JTWANG-3ZE. 245 

got It, and by It dwelt in the Dark Palace. 
Yii-^iang 1 got It, and by It was set on the North 
Pole. Hsi Wang-mu 2 got It, and by It had her seat 
in (the palace of) Shao-kwang. No one knows Its 
beginning ; no one knows Its end. Phang 3u got 
It, and lived on from the time of the lord of Yii 
to that of the Five Chiefs 3 . Fu Ytieh i got It, and 
by It became chief minister to Wu-ting 4 , (who thus) 
in a trice became master of the kingdom. (After 
his death), Fu Ytieh mounted to the eastern portion 
of the Milky Way, where, riding on Sagittarius and 
Scorpio, he took his place among the stars. 

8. Nan-po 3 ze -khwei 5 asked Nti Yii 6 , saying, 
' You are old, Sir, while your complexion is like 
that of a child ; — how is it so ? ' The reply was, 
' I have become acquainted with the Tao.' The 
other said, 'Can I learn the Tao ?' Nii Yii said, 
'No. How canyou? You, Sir, are not the man 
to do so. There was Pu-liang 1 7 who had the 
abilities of a sagely man, but not the Tao, while 
I had the Tao, but not the abilities. I wished, 
however, to teach him, if, peradventure, he might 

1 The Spirit of the Northern regions, with a man's face, and a 
bird's body, &c. 

2 A queen of the Genii on mount Khwan-lun. See Mayers's 
Manual, pp. 178, 179. 

s Phang 3u has been before us in Bk. I. Shun is intended by 
' the Lord of Yii.' The five Chiefs ; — see Mencius, VI, ii, 7. 

4 See the Shu, IV, viii ; but we have nothing there of course 
about the Milky Way and the stars. — This passage certainly 
lessens our confidence in .ffwang-jze's statements. 

6 Perhaps the same as Nan-po Qze-tM in Bk. IV, par. 7. 

6 Must have been a great TSoist. Nothing more can be said 
of him or her. 

7 Only mentioned here. 

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246 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. vi. 

become the sagely man indeed. If he should not 
do so, it was easy (I thought) for one possessing 
the Tao of the sagely man to communicate it to 
another possessing his abilities. Accordingly, I 
proceeded to do so, but with deliberation 1 . After 
three days, he was able to banish from his mind 
all worldly (matters). This accomplished, I continued 
my intercourse with him in the same way; and in 
seven days he was able to banish from his mind 
all thought of men and things. This accomplished, 
and my instructions continued, after nine days, he 
was able to count his life as foreign to himself. 
This accomplished, his mind was afterwards clear 
as the morning ; and after this he was able to see 
his own individuality 2 . That individuality per- 
ceived, he was able to banish all thought of Past 
or Present. Freed from this, he was able to pene- 
trate to (the truth that there is no difference be- 
tween) life and death ; — (how) the destruction of 
life is not dying, and the communication of other 
life is not living. (The Tao) is a thing which 
accompanies all other things and meets them, which 
is present when they are overthrown and when 
they obtain their completion. Its name is Tran- 
quillity amid all Disturbances, meaning that 
such Disturbances lead to Its Perfection 3 .' 

' And how did you, being alone (without any 
teacher), learn all this ? ' 'I learned it,' was the 
reply, ' from the son of Fu-mo 4 ; he learned it from 

1 So the -vj* is explained. 

3 Standing by himself, as it were face to face with the TSo. 

3 Amid all changes, in life and death, the possessor of the Tao 
has peace. 

4 Meaning writings ; literally, ' the son of the assisting pigment.' 

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the grandson of Lo-sung ; he learned it from Shan- 
ming ; he learned it from Nieh-hsii ; he, from 
Hsu-yi; he, from Wu-ao; he, from Hsuan-ming; 
he, from 3han-liao ; and he learned it from I-shih.' 

9. 3 z e-sze : , 3 ze ~yu \ 3 ze_ h \ and 3 ze- lai S these 
four men, were talking together, when some one 
said, 'Who can suppose the head to be made from 
nothing, the spine from life, and the rump-bone 
from death ? Who knows how death and birth, 
living on and disappearing, compose the one body ? 
— I would be friends with him 2 .' The four men 
looked at one another and laughed, but no one 
seized with his mind the drift of the questions. 
All, however, were friends together. 

Not long after 3 z e-yii fell ill, and 3 z e-sze went to 
inquire for him. ' How great,' said (the sufferer), 
' is the Creator 3 ! That He should have made me 
the deformed object that I am ! ' He was a crooked 
hunchback ; his five viscera were squeezed into the 

We are not to suppose that by this and the other names that 
follow individuals are intended. ^Twang-jze seems to have wished 
to give, in his own fashion, some notion of the genesis of the idea 
of the Tao from the first speculations about the origin of things. 

1 We need not suppose that these are the names of real men. 
They are brought on the stage by our author to serve his purpose. 
Hwai-nan makes the name of the first to have been 3 ze - snu i 

2 Compare the same representation in Bk. XXIII, par. 10. 
iPu Teh-^ih says on it here, ' The head, the spine, the rump-bone 
mean simply the head and tail, the beginning and end. All things 
begin from nothing and end in nothing. Their birth and their 
death are only the creations of our thought, the going and coming 
of the primary ether. When we have penetrated to the non-reality 
of life and death, what remains of the body of so many feet ? ' 

3 The ' Creator ' or ' Maker' (jg; ^ ^f) is the Tao. 

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upper part of his body; his chin bent over his 
navel ; his shoulder was higher than his crown ; 
on his crown was an ulcer pointing to the sky ; 
his breath came and went in gasps 1 : — yet he was 
easy in his mind, and made no trouble of his con- 
dition. He limped to a well, looked at himself 
in it, and said, 'Alas that the Creator should have 
made me the deformed object that I am ! ' 3 ze 
said, ' Do you dislike your condition ? ' He replied, 
' No, why should I dislike it ? If He were to 
transform my left arm into a cock, I should be 
watching with it the time of the night; if He were 
to transform my right arm into a cross-bow, I 
should then be looking for a hsiao to (bring down 
and) roast ; if He were to transform my rump-bone 
into a wheel, and my spirit into a horse, I should 
then be mounting it, and would not change it for 
another steed. Moreover, when we have got (what 
we are to do), there is the time (of life) in which 
to do it ; when we lose that (at death), submission 
(is what is required). When we rest in what the 
time requires, and manifest that submission, neither 
joy nor sorrow can find entrance (to the mind) 2 . 
This would be what the ancients called loosing the 
cord by which (the life) is suspended. But one 
hung up cannot loose himself; — he is held fast by 
his bonds 3 . And that creatures cannot overcome 

1 Compare this description of 3ze-yii's deformity with that of 
the poor Shu, in IV, 8. 

2 Such is the submission to one's lot produced by the teaching 
of T&oism. 

3 Compare the same phraseology in III, par. 4, near the end. In 
correcting Mr. Balfour's mistranslation of the text, Mr. Giles him- 
self falls into a mistranslation through not observing that the ji& 

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Heaven (the inevitable) is a long-acknowledged 
fact ; — why should I hate my condition ? ' 

10. Before long 3 z e-lai fell ill, and lay gasping 
at the point of death, while his wife and children 
stood around him wailing \ $ze-\l went to ask for 
him, and said to them, ' Hush ! Get out of the 
way! Do not disturb him as he is passing through 
his change.' Then, leaning against the door, he 
said (to the dying man), ' Great indeed is the 
Creator! What will He now make you to become ? 
Where will He take you to ? Will He make you 
the liver of a rat, or the arm of an insect 2 ? ' 
3ze-lai replied, 'Wherever a parent tells a son to 
go, east, west, south, or north, he simply follows 
the command. The Yin and Yang are more to 
a man than his parents are. If they are hastening 
my death, and I do not quietly submit to them, 
I shall be obstinate and rebellious. There is the 
great Mass (of nature) ; — I find the support of my 
body in it; my life is spent in toil on it; my old 
age seeks ease on it ; at death I find rest on it : — 
what has made my life a good will make my death 
also a good. 

' Here now is a great founder, casting his metal. 
If the metal were to leap up (in the pot), and say, 
" I must be made into a (sword like the) Mo-yeh 3 ," 

is passive, having the ;fip that precedes as its subject (observe the 
force of the -jjjj after ^^ in the best editions), and not active, or 
governing the }jM that follows. 

1 Compare the account of the scene at Lao-jze's death, in III, 
par. 4. 

2 Here comes in the belief in transformation. 

3 The name of a famous sword, made for Ho-lii, the king of 

250 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. vi. 

the great founder would be sure to regard it as 
uncanny. So, again, when a form is being fashioned 
in the mould of the womb, if it were to say, " I 
must become a man ; I must become a man," the 
Creator would be sure to regard it as uncanny. 
When we once understand that heaven and earth 
are a great melting-pot, and the Creator a great 
founder, where can we have to go to that shall 
not be right for us ? We are born as from a quiet 
sleep, and we die to a calm awaking.' 

11. 3 ze-san g Hu 1 , Mang 3 z e-fan \ and j$ze-Min 
Aang 1 , these three men, were friends together. 
(One of them said), ' Who can associate together 
without any (thought of) such association, or act 
together without any (evidence of) such co-opera- 
tion ? Who can mount up into the sky and enjoy 
himself amidst the mists, disporting beyond the 
utmost limits (of things) 2 , and forgetting all others 
as if this were living, and would have no end ? ' 
The three men looked at one another and laughed, 
not perceiving the drift of the questions ; and they 
continued to associate together as friends. 

Suddenly, after a time 3 , 3ze-sang Hu died. Before 
he was buried, Confucius heard of the event, and 

Wu (b. c. 514-494). See the account of the forging of it in the 
j|C ^Jj ^'J H ^> c h- 74- The mention of it would seem to 
indicate that 3ze-lai and the other three men were of the time of 

1 These three men were undoubtedly of the time of Confucius, 
and some would identify them with the 3 ze_san g Po-gze of Ana. 
VI, 1, Mang iTih-fan of VI, 13, and the Lao of IX, vi, 4. This 
is very unlikely. They were Taoists. 

3 Or, ' without end.' 

3 Or, ' Some time went by silently, and.' 


sent 3 z e-kung to go and see if he could render 
any assistance. One of the survivors had com- 
posed a ditty, and the other was playing on his 
lute. Then they sang together in unison, 

'Ah! come, Sang Hu ! ah! come, Sang Hu! 
Your being true you've got again, 
While we, as men, still here remain 

Ohone 1 1 ' 

3ze-kung hastened forward to them, and said, 
' I venture to ask whether it be according to the 
rules to be singing thus in the presence of the 
corpse ? ' The two men looked at each other, and 
laughed, saying, ' What does this man know about 
the idea that underlies (our) rules ? ' 3 ze_ kung 
returned to Confucius, and reported to him, saying, 
' What sort of men are those ? They had made 
none of the usual preparations 2 , and treated the 
body as a thing foreign to them. They were 
singing in the presence of the corpse, and there was 
no change in their countenances. I cannot describe 
them ; — what sort of men are they ? ' Confucius 
replied, ' Those men occupy and enjoy themselves 
in what is outside the (common) ways (of the world), 
while I occupy and enjoy myself in what lies within 
those ways. There is no common ground for those 
of such different ways ; and when I sent you to 
condole with those men, I was acting stupidly. 
They, moreover, make man to be the fellow of the 

1 In accordance with the ancient and modern practice in China 
of calling the dead back. But these were doing so in a song to 
the lute. 

2 Or, ' they do not regulate their doings (in the usual way).' 

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Creator, and seek their enjoyment in the formless 
condition of heaven and earth. They consider 
life to be an appendage attached, an excrescence 
annexed to them, and death to be a separation of 
the appendage and a dispersion of the contents 
of the excrescence. With these views, how should 
they know wherein death and life are to be found, 
or what is first and what is last ? They borrow 
different substances, and pretend that the common 
form of the body is composed of them \ They 
dismiss the thought of (its inward constituents like) 
the liver and gall, and (its outward constituents), 
the ears and eyes. Again and again they end 
and they begin, having no knowledge of first 
principles. They occupy themselves ignorantly and 
vaguely with what (they say) lies outside the dust 
and dirt (of the world), and seek their enjoyment 
in the business of doing nothing. How should 
they confusedly address themselves to the cere- 
monies practised by the common people, and 
exhibit themselves as doing so to the ears and eyes 
of the multitude ? ' 

3ze-kung said, 'Yes, but why do you, Master, 
act according to the (common) ways (of the world) ? ' 
The reply was, ' I am in this under the condemning 
sentence of Heaven 2 . Nevertheless, I will share 

1 The idea that the body is composed of the elements of earth, 
wind or air, fire, and water. 

2 A strange description of himself by the sage. Literally, ' I am 
(one of) the people killed and exposed to public view by Heaven ; ' 
referring, perhaps, to the description of a living man as ' suspended 
by a string from God.' Confucius was content to accept his 
life, and used it in pursuing the path of duty, according to his con- 
ception of it, without aiming at the transcendental method of the 
Taoists. I can attach no other or better meaning to the expression. 

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with you (what I have attained to).' 3 ze_ kung re- 
joined, ' I venture to ask the method which you 
pursue ;' and Confucius said, 'Fishes breed and grow 
in the water; man developes in the Tao. Growing 
in the water, the fishes cleave the pools, and their 
nourishment is supplied to them. Developing in 
the Tao, men do nothing, and the enjoyment of 
their life is secured. Hence it is said, " Fishes for- 
get one another in the rivers and lakes ; men forget 
one another in the arts of the Tao." ' 

3ze-kung said, ' I venture to ask about the man 
who stands aloof from others V The reply was, 
' He stands aloof from other men, but he is in accord 
with Heaven ! Hence it is said, " The small man 
of Heaven is the superior man among men ; the 
superior man among men is the small man of 
Heaven 2 !"' 

12. Yen Hui asked isTung-ni, saying, 'When the 
mother of Mang-sun 3hai 3 died, in all his wailing for 
her he did not shed a tear ; in the core of his heart 
he felt no distress ; during all the mourning rites, he 
exhibited no sorrow. Without these three things, 
he (was considered to have) discharged his mourn- 
ing'well ; — is it that in the state of Lu one who has 
not the reality may yet get the reputation of having 
it ? I think the matter very strange.' ./sfung-nl 

1 Misled by the text of Hsiiang Ying, Mr. Balfour here reads 
^ instead of Hj^. 

2 Here, however, he aptly compares with the language of Christ 
in Matthew vii. 28. — JTwang-jze seems to make Confucius praise 
the system of Taoism as better than his own ! 

8 Must have been a member of the Mang or Mang-sun family 
of Lu, to a branch of which Mencius belonged. 

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said, ' That Mang-sun carried out (his views) to the 
utmost. He was advanced in knowledge ; but (in 
this case) it was not possible for him to appear to be 
negligent (in his ceremonial observances) 1 , but he 
succeeded in being really so to himself. Mang-sun 
does not know either what purposes life serves, or 
what death serves ; he does not know which should 
be first sought, and which last 2 . If he is to be trans- 
formed into something else, he will simply await the 
transformation which he does not yet know. This 
is all he does. And moreover, when one is about 
to undergo his change, how does he know that it has 
not taken place ? And when he is not about to un- 
dergo his change, how does he know that it has 
taken place 3 ? Take the case of me and you : — are 
we in a dream from which we have not begun to 
awake 4 ? 

' Moreover, Mang-sun presented in his body the 
appearance of being agitated, but in his mind he was 
conscious of no loss. The death was to him like the 
issuing from one's dwelling at dawn, and no (more 
terrible) reality. He was more awake than others 
were. When they wailed, he also wailed, having in 
himself the reason why he did so. And we all have 
our individuality which makes us what we are as 
compared together ; but how do we know that we 

1 The people set such store by the mourning rites, that Mang- 
sun felt he must present the appearance of observing them. This 
would seem to show that T&oism arose after the earlier views of 
the Chinese. 

2 I adopt here, with many of the critics, the reading of §k 
instead of the more common Jjfc. 

3 This is to me very obscure. 

* Are such dreams possible ? See what I have said on II, par. 9. 

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determine in any case correctly that individuality ? 
Moreover you dream that you are a bird, and seem 
to be soaring to the sky ; or that you are a fish, and 
seem to be diving in the deep. But you do not 
know whether we that are now speaking are awake 
or in a dream 1 . It is not the meeting with what is 
pleasurable that produces the smile; it is not the 
smile suddenly produced that produces the arrange- 
ment (of the person). When one rests in what has 
been arranged, and puts away all thought of the 
transformation, he is in unity with the mysterious 

: 3- *-r 3 z e 2 having gone to see Hsu Yu, the latter 
said to him, ' What benefit have you received from 
Yao ? ' The reply was, ' Yao says to me, You 
must yourself labour at benevolence and righteous- 
ness, and be able to tell clearly which is right and 
which wrong (in conflicting statements).' Hsu Yu 
rejoined, ' Why then have you come to me ? Since 
Yao has put on you the brand of his benevolence 
and righteousness, and cut off your nose with his 
right and wrong 3 , how will you be able to wander 
in the way of aimless enjoyment, of unregulated 
contemplation, and the ever-changing forms (of dis- 
pute) ? ' \-r 3ze said, ' That may be ; but I should 

1 This also is obscure ; but Confucius is again made to praise 
the T&oistic system. 

2 I-r is said by Li 1 to have been ' a worthy scholar ; ' but 1-r is 
an old name for the swallow, and there is a legend of a being of 
this name appearing to king Mfi, and then flying away as a 
swallow; — see the Khang-hsi Thesaurus under ffjj. The per- 
sonage is entirely fabulous. 

3 Dismembered or disfigured you. 

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256 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. vi. 

like to skirt along its hedges.' ' But,' said the other, 
' it cannot be. Eyes without pupils can see nothing 
of the beauty of the eyebrows, eyes, and other 
features ; the blind have nothing to do with the 
green, yellow, and variegated colours of the sacri- 
ficial robes.' l-r 3 ze rejoined, ' Yet, when Wu- 
/^wang 1 lost his beauty, ./soi-liang 1 his strength, 
and Hwang-Tt his wisdom, they all (recovered 
them) 2 under the moulding (of your system) ; — how 
do you know that the Maker will not obliterate the 
marks of my branding, and supply my dismember- 
ment, so that, again perfect in my form, I may follow 
you as my teacher ? ' Hsu Yu said, ' Ah ! that can- 
not yet be known. I will tell you the rudiments. 
O my Master ! O my Master ! He gives to all 
things their blended qualities, and does not count it 
any righteousness ; His favours reach to all genera- 
tions, and He does not count it any benevolence ; 
He is more ancient than the highest antiquity, and 
does not count Himself old ; He overspreads heaven 
and supports the earth ; He carves and fashions all 
bodily forms, and does not consider it any act of 
skill ; — this is He in whom I find my enjoyment.' 

14. Yen Hui said, ' I am making progress.' Kung- 
nt replied, ' What do you mean ? ' 'I have ceased 
to think of benevolence and righteousness,' was the 
reply. ' Very well ; but that is not enough.' 

Another day, Hui again saw Aaing-nl, and said, 
' I am making progress.' ' What do you mean ? ' 

1 Names of parties, of whom we know nothing. It is implied, 
we must suppose, that they had suffered as is said by their own 

2 We must suppose that they had done so. 

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' I have lost all thought of ceremonies and music' 
' Very well, but that is not enough.' 

A third day, Hui again saw (the Master), and 
said, ' I am making progress.' ' What do you mean ? ' 
' I sit and forget everything V A'ung-ni changed 
countenance, and said, ' What do you mean by say- 
ing that you sit and forget (everything) ? ' Yen Hui 
replied, ' My connexion with the body and its parts 
is dissolved ; my perceptive organs are discarded. 
Thus leaving my material form, and bidding fare- 
well to my knowledge, I am become one with the 
Great Pervader 2 . This I call sitting and forgetting 
all things.' .Afung-nl said, ' One (with that Pervader), 
you are free from all likings ; so transformed, you 
are become impermanent. You have, indeed, be- 
come superior to me ! I must ask leave to follow 
in your steps 3 .' 

15. 3 ze- y u 4 an d 3 ze_san g 4 were friends. (Once), 
when it had rained continuously for ten days, 3 z e-y u 
said, ' I fear that 3 z e-sang may be in distress.' So 
he wrapped up some rice, and went to give it to him 
to eat. When he came to 3 ze - san g' s door, there 
issued from it sounds between singing and wailing ; 

1 'I sit and forget;' — generally thus supplemented (^l£ j5jj* ^|C 

Tt£). Hui proceeds to set forth the meaning he himself attached 

to the phrase. 

2 Another denomination, I think, of the Tao. The p^ j^ 
is also explained as meaning, ' the great void in which there is no 
obstruction (£ J^ £ M £§).' 

3 Here is another testimony, adduced by our author, of Confu- 
cius's appreciation of Taoism ; to which the sage would, no doubt, 
have taken exception. 

4 Two of the men in pars. 9, to. 

[39] S 

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a lute was struck, and there came the words, ' O 
Father! Mother! Heaven! OMen!' The 
voice could not sustain itself, and the line was hur- 
riedly pronounced. 3 ze_ y u entered and said, ' Why 
are you singing, Sir, this line of poetry in such a 
way ? ' The other replied, ' I was thinking, and think- 
ing in vain, how it was that I was brought to such 
extremity. Would my parents have wished me to be 
so poor ? Heaven overspreads all without any par- 
tial feeling, and so does Earth sustain all ; — would 
Heaven and Earth make me so poor with any un- 
kindly feeling ? I was trying to find out who had 
done it, and I could not do so. But here I am in this 
extremity ! — it is what was appointed for me 1 !' 

1 Here is the highest issue of Taoism ; — unquestioning sub- 
mission to what is beyond our knowledge and control. 

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Part I. Section VII. 

Ying Ti Wang 1 , or 'The Normal Course for 
Rulers and Kings 1 .' 

1. Nieh .Allien 2 put four questions to Wang 1 2 , 
not one of which did he know (how to answer). On 
this Nieh iOiieh leaped up, and in great delight 
walked away and informed Phu-1-jze 3 of it, who said 
to him, ' Do you (only) now know it ?' He of the line 
of Yii * was not equal to him of the line of Thai 5 . 
He of Yii still kept in himself (the idea of) bene- 
volence by which to constrain (the submission of) 
men ; and he did win men, but he had not begun to 
proceed by what did not belong to him as a man. 
He of the line of Thai would sleep tranquilly, and 
awake in contented simplicity. He would consider 
himself now (merely) as a horse, and now (merely) 
as an ox 6 . His knowledge was real and untroubled 

1 See pp. 136-138. 

2 See p. 190, note 5. 

3 An ancient Taoist, of the time of Shun. So, Hwang-fu Mf, 
who adds that Shun served him as his master when he was eight 
years old. I suppose the name indicates that his clothes were made 
of rushes. 

* Shun. See p. 245, note 3. 

6 An ancient sovereign, earlier, no doubt, than Fu-hsf ; but 
nothing is known of him. 

6 He thought nothing about his being, as a man, superior to the 
lower creatures. Shun in governing employed his acquired know- 
ledge ; Thai had not begun to do so. 

S 2 

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260 THE TEXTS OF TAoiSM. bk.VH. 

by doubts ; and his virtue was very true : — he had 
not begun to proceed by what belonged to him as 
a man. 

2. Kitw Wu 1 went to see the mad (recluse), 
.Oieh-yu 2 , who said to him, 'What did Zah-iung 
Shih 3 tell you ?' The reply was, ' He told me that 
when rulers gave forth their regulations according to 
their own views and enacted righteous measures, no 
one would venture not to obey them, and all would 
be transformed.' ^T^ieh-yu said, ' That is but the 
hypocrisy of virtue. For the right ordering of the 
world it would be like trying to wade through the 
sea and dig through the Ho, or employing a mus- 
quito to carry a mountain on its back. And when 
a sage is governing, does he govern men's out- 
ward actions ? He is (himself) correct, and so (his 
government) goes on ; — this is the simple and certain 
way by which he secures the success of his affairs. 
Think of the bird which flies high, to avoid being hurt 
by the dart on the string of the archer, and the little 
mouse which makes its hole deep under Shan- 
kJi\& i to avoid the danger of being smoked or dug 
out ; — are (rulers) less knowing than these two little 
creatures ?' 

3. Thien Kan 5 , rambling on the south of (mount) 
Yin 6 , came to the neighbourhood of the Liao- water. 

1 See p. 170, note 2. 

2 See p. 170, note 3. 

3 A name ; — ' a worthy,' it is said. 

4 Name of some hill, or height. 

5 A name (' Root of the sky'), but probably mythical. There is 
a star so called. 

6 Probably the name of a mountain, though this meaning of 
Yin is not given in the dictionary. 

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Happening there to meet with the man whose name is 
not known 1 , he put a question to him, saying, ' I beg to 
ask what should be done 2 in order to (carry on) the 
government of the world.' The nameless man said, 
' Go away; you are a rude borderer. Why do you 
put to me a question for which you are unprepared 3 ? 
I would simply play the part of the Maker of (all) 
things 4 . When wearied, I would mount on the bird 
of the light and empty air, proceed beyond the six 
cardinal points, and wander in the region of non- 
entity, to dwell in the wilderness of desert space. 
What method have you, moreover, for the govern- 
ment of the world that you (thus) agitate my mind ?' 
(Thien Kan), however, again asked the question, 
and the nameless man said, ' Let your mind find its 
enjoyment in pure simplicity; blend yourself with 
(the primary) ether in idle indifference ; allow all 
things to take their natural course ; and admit no 
personal or selfish consideration : — do this and the 
world will be governed.' 

4. Yang 3 ze -*£u 5 , having an interview with Lao 
Tan, said to him, ' Here is a man, alert and vigorous 

1 Or, ' a nameless man.' We cannot tell whether .AVang-jze 
had any particular Being, so named, in view or not. 

3 The objectionable point in the question is the supposition that 
'doing ' was necessary in the case. 

3 Or, 'I am unprepared.' But as Thien Kan repeats the 
question, it seems better to supply the second pronoun. He had 
thought on the subject. 

* See the same phraseology in VI, par. 11. What follows is 
merely our author's way of describing the non-action of the 

6 The Yang Kxi, whom Mencius attacked so fiercely. He was, 
perhaps, a contemporary and disciple of Lao-jze. 

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262 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. vii. 

in responding to all matters 1 , clearsighted and 
widely intelligent, and an unwearied student of the 
Tao ; — can he be compared to one of the intelligent 
kings ? ' The reply was, ' Such a man is to one of 
the intelligent kings but as the bustling underling of 
a court who toils his body and distresses his mind 
with his various contrivances 2 . And moreover, it is 
the beauty of the skins of the tiger and leopard 
which makes men hunt them ; the agility of the 
monkey, or (the sagacity of) the dog that catches 
the yak, which make men lead them in strings ; 
but can one similarly endowed be compared to the 
intelligent kings ? ' 

Yang 3ze-M looked discomposed and said, ' I 
venture to ask you what the government of the 
intelligent kings is.' Lao Tan replied, ' In the 
governing of the intelligent kings, their services 
overspread all under the sky, but they did not seem 
to consider it as proceeding from themselves ; their 
transforming influence reached to all things, but the 
people did not refer it to them with hope. No one 
could tell the name of their agency, but they made 
men and things be joyful in themselves. Where 
they took their stand could not be fathomed, and 
they found their enjoyment in (the realm of) 

5. In Kang there was a mysterious wizard 3 called 

1 The Hf§ may be taken as = |hJ , in which case we must 
understand a *ja[ as its object ; or as = ^, ' an echo,' indicating 
the quickness of the man's response to things. 

2 Compare the language of Mo Tan, in Bk. XII, par. 8, near 
the beginning. 

8 3? is generally feminine, meaning ' a witch.' We must take 

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^Ti-hsien, He knew all about the deaths and births 
of men, their preservation and ruin, their misery and 
happiness, and whether their lives would be long or 
short, foretelling the year, the month, the decade 
and the day like a spirit. When the people of AUng 
saw him, they all ran out of his way. Lieh-jze went 
to see him, and was fascinated 1 by him. Returning, 
he told Hu-jze of his interview, and said, ' I con- 
sidered your doctrine, my master, to be perfect, but 
I have found another which is superior to it.' Hu-jze 2 
replied, ' I have communicated to you but the out- 
ward letter of my doctrine, and have not communi- 
cated its reality and spirit; and do you think that 
you are in possession of it ? However many hens 
there be, if there be not the cock among them, 
how should they lay (real) eggs 3 ? When you con- 
front the world with your doctrine, you are sure 
to show in your countenance (all that is in your 
mind) 4 , and so enable (this) man to succeed in inter- 
preting your physiognomy. Try and come to me 
with him, that I may show myself to him.' 

On the morrow, accordingly, Lieh-jze came with 
the man and saw Hu-jze. When they went out, the 

it here as masculine (=3ij^). The general meaning of the cha- 
racter is ' magical,' the antics of such performers to bring down the 

1 Literally, 'intoxicated.' 

2 The teacher in Taoism of Lieh-jze, called also Hu KM&, with 

the name Lin (/fefc). See the remarks on the whole paragraph in 
the Introductory Notice of the Book. 

3 ' The hens ' signify the letter of the doctrine ; ' the cock,' its 
spirit ; ' the eggs/ a real knowledge of it. 

4 f=f is here in the first tone, and read as ffi, meaning ' to 
stretch,' 'to set forth.' 

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264 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM, bk. vii. 

wizard said, ' Alas ! your master is a dead man. He 
will not live ; — not for ten days more ! I saw some- 
thing strange about him ; — I saw the ashes (of his 
life) all slaked with water ! ' When Lieh-jze re- 
entered, he wept till the front of his jacket was wet 
with his tears, and told Hu-jze what the man had 
said. Hu-jze said, ' I showed myself to him with the 
forms of (vegetation beneath) the earth. There were 
the sprouts indeed, but without (any appearance of) 
growth or regularity: — he seemed to see me with 
the springs of my (vital) power closed up. Try and 
come to me with him again.' 

Next day, accordingly, Lieh-jze brought the man 
again and saw Hu-jze. When they went out, the 
man said, ' It is a fortunate thing for your master 
that he met with me. He will get better ; he has 
all the signs of living ! I saw the balance (of the 
springs of life) that had been stopped (inclining in 
his favour).' Lieh-jze went in, and reported these 
words to his master, who said, ' I showed myself to 
him after the pattern of the earth (beneath the) sky. 
Neither semblance nor reality entered (into my ex- 
hibition), but the springs (of life) were issuing from 
beneath my feet ; — he seemed to see me with the 
springs of vigorous action in full play. Try and 
come with him again.' 

Next day Lieh-jze came with the man again, 
and again saw Hu-jze with him. When they went 
out, the wizard said, ' Your master is never the 
same. I cannot understand his physiognomy. Let 
him try to steady himself, and I will again view him.' 
Lieh-jze went in and reported this to Hfi-jze, who 
said, ' This time I showed myself to him after the 
pattern of the grand harmony (of the two elemental 

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pt. i. sect. vii. THE WRITINGS OF JiTWANG-SZE. 265 

forces), with the superiority inclining to neither. 
He seemed to see me with the springs of (vital) 
power in equal balance. Where the water wheels 
about from (the movements of) a dugong l , there is 
an abyss ; where it does so from the arresting (of its 
course), there is an abyss ; where it does so, and the 
water keeps flowing on, there is an abyss. There 
are nine abysses with their several names, and I 
have only exhibited three of them. Try and come 
with him again.' 

Next day they came, and they again saw Hu-jze. 
But before he had settled himself in his position, 
the wizard lost himself and ran away. ' Pursue 
him,' said Hti-jze, and Lieh-jze did so, but could 
not come up with him. He returned, and told 
Hu-jze, saying, ' There is an end of him ; he is 
lost; I could not find him.' Hti-jze rejoined, ' I was 
showing him myself after the pattern of what was 
before I began to come from my author. I con- 
fronted him with pure vacancy, and an easy in- 
difference. He did not know what I meant to 
represent. Now he thought it was the idea of ex- 
hausted strength, and now that of an onward flow, 
and therefore he ran away.' 

After this, Lieh-^ze considered that he had not 
yet begun to learn (his master's doctrine). He 
returned to his house, and for three years did not 
go out. He did the cooking for his wife. He fed 
the pigs as if he were feeding men. He took no part 

1 One of the dugong. It has various names in Chinese, one being 
^ •J3EJ, 'the Man-Fish,' from a fancied resemblance of its head 
and face to a human being ; — the origin perhaps of the idea of the 

Digitized by 


266 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM, bk. vii. 

or interest in occurring affairs. He put away the 
carving and sculpture about him, and returned to 
pure simplicity. Like a clod of earth he stood there 
in his bodily presence. Amid all distractions he 
was (silent) and shut up in himself. And in this 
way he continued to the end of his life. 

6. Non-action (makes its exemplifier) the lord of 
all fame ; non-action (serves him as) the treasury of 
all plans ; non-action (fits him for) the burden of 
all offices ; non-action (makes him) the lord of all 
wisdom \ The range of his action is inexhaustible, 
but there is nowhere any trace of his presence. He 
fulfils all that he has received from Heaven 2 , but 
he does not see that he was the recipient of anything. 
A pure vacancy (of all purpose) is what characterises 
him. When the perfect man employs his mind, it is 
a mirror. It conducts nothing and anticipates no- 
thing ; it responds to (what is before it), but does 
not retain it. Thus he is able to deal successfully 
with all things, and injures none. 

7. The Ruler 3 of the Southern Ocean was Shu 4 , the 

1 The four members of this sentence occasion the translator no 
small trouble. They are constructed on the same lines, and seem 
to me to be indicative and not imperative. Lin Hst-^ung observes 
that all the explanations that had been offered of them were inap- 
propriate. My own version is substantially in accordance with his 
interpretations. The chief difficulty is with the first member, 
which seems anti-Taoistic ; but our author is not speaking of the 
purpose of any actor, but of the result of his non-action. Jr* 
is to be taken in the sense of t£, 'lord,' 'exercising lordship.' 
The Jat in the third sentence indicates a person or persons in the 
author's mind in what precedes. 

2 = the Heavenly or self-determining nature. 

3 Perhaps ' god ' would be a better translation. 

4 Meaning ' Heedless.' 

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Ruler of the Northern Ocean was Hu 1 , and the Ruler 
of the Centre was Chaos. Shu and Hu were continu- 
ally meeting in the land of Chaos, who treated them 
very well. They consulted together how they might 
repay his kindness, and said, ' Men all have seven 
orifices for the purpose of seeing, hearing, eating, 
and breathing, while this (poor) Ruler alone has not 
one. Let us try and make them for him.' Accord- 
ingly they dug one orifice in him every day ; and 
at the end of seven days Chaos died 2 . 

1 Meaning ' Sudden.' 

2 The little allegory is ingenious and amusing. ' It indicates,' 
says Lin, 'how action (the opposite of non-inaction) injures the 
first condition of things.' More especially it is in harmony with 
the TSoistic opposition to the use of knowledge in government. 
One critic says that an ' alas ! ' might well follow the concluding 
' died.' But surely it was better that Chaos should give place to 
another state. ' Heedless ' and ' Sudden' did not do a bad work. 

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268 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. viii. 

Part IL Section I. 

Phien Mau, or 'Webbed Toes 1 .' 

i. A ligament uniting the big toe with the other 
toes and an extra finger may be natural 2 growths, 
but they are more than is good for use. Excres- 
cences on the person and hanging tumours are 
growths from the body, but they are unnatural 
additions to it. There are man}' arts of benevolence 
and righteousness, and the exercise of them is dis- 
tributed among the five viscera 3 ; but this is not the 
correct method according to the characteristics of the 
Tao. Thus it is that the addition to the foot is but 
the attachment to it of so much useless flesh, and 
the addition to the hand is but the planting on it of 
a useless finger. (So it is that) the connecting (the 
virtues) with the five viscera renders, by excess or 
restraint, the action of benevolence and righteous- 
ness bad, and leads to many arts as in the employ- 
ment of (great) powers of hearing or of vision. 

2. Therefore an extraordinary power of vision 

1 See pp. 138, 139. 

2 ' Come out from the nature,' but ' nature ' must be taken here 
as in the translation. The character is not TSo. 

3 The five viscera are the heart, the liver, the stomach, the lungs, 
and the kidneys. To the liver are assigned the element ' wood,' 
and the virtue of benevolence ; to the lungs, the element ' metal,' 
and the virtue of righteousness. 


leads to the confusion of the five colours * and an 
excessive use of ornament. (Its possessor), in the 
resplendence of his green and yellow, white and 
black, black and green, will not stop till he has be- 
come a LI JTu 2 . An extraordinary power of hear- 
ing leads to a confusion of the five notes 3 , and an 
excessive use of the six musical accords 4 . (Its 
possessor), in bringing out the tones from the instru- 
ments of metal, stone, silk, and bamboo, aided by 
the Hwang-/£ung 4 and Ta-lii 4 (tubes), will not 
stop till he has become a Shih Khwang 6 . (So), 
excessive benevolence eagerly brings out virtues 
and restrains its (proper) nature, that (its possessor) 
may acquire a famous reputation, and cause all the 
organs and drums in the world to celebrate an un- 
attainable condition ; and he will not stop till he has 
become a 3&ng (Shan) 6 or a Shih (3hiu) 7 . An ex- 

1 Black, red, azure (green, blue, or black), white, and yellow. 

2 The same as the Lt Liu of Mencius (IV, i, 1), — of the time of 
Hwang-Ti. It is not easy to construe the text here, and in the 
analogous sentences below. Hsilan Ying, having read on to the 
j*|8. ^=1 as the uninterrupted predicate of the sharp seer, says, ' Is 
not this a proof of the extraordinary gift ? ' What follows would 
be, ' But it was exemplified in Lt Kb.' The meaning that is given 
in the version was the first that occurred to myself. 

3 The five notes of the Chinese musical scale. 

4 There are twelve of these musical notes, determined by the 
twelve regulating tubes; six, represented here by Hwang-iung, 
the name of the first tube, giving the sharp notes ; and six, repre- 
sented by Ti-lii, giving the flat notes. 

6 See in II, par. 5. 

6 The famous 3ang-jze, or Sang Shan, one of Confucius's ablest 

7 An officer of Wei in the sixth century b. c. He belonged to a 
family of historiographers, and hence the surname Shih (^£M. 
Confucius mentions him in the most honourable terms in the 

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270 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk.viii. 

traordinary faculty in debating leads to the piling up 
of arguments like a builder with his bricks, or a net- 
maker with his string. (Its possessor) cunningly 
contrives his sentences and enjoys himself in dis- 
cussing what hardness is and what whiteness is, 
where views agree and where they differ, and pressing 
on, though weary, with short steps, with (a multitude 
of) useless words to make good his opinion ; nor will 
he stop till he has become a Yang (-A'u) 1 or Mo (Ti) 1 . 
B ut in all thes e cases the parties, wit h their re- 
dundant and diverg en t methods. do_ jloj_proceed_by 
t hat which is the correct path for all _undgr_the 
sky. That which is the perfe ctly correct path is not 
, t o lose the real character of the nature with which 
1 we are endowed . Hence the union (of parts) should 
I not be considered redundance, nor their divergence 
superfluity ; what is long should not be considered 
too long, nor what is short too short: A duck's legs, 
for instance, are short, but if we try to lengthen 
them, it occasions pain ; and a crane's legs are long, 
but if we try to cut off a portion of them, it produces 
grief. Where a part is by nature long, we are not to 
amputate, or where it is by nature short, we are not 
\J to lengthen it. There is no occasion to try to 
remove any trouble that it may cause. 

3. The presumption is that benevolence and right- 
eousness are not constituents of humanity ; for to 
how much anxiety does the exercise of them give 
rise ! Moreover when another toe is united to the 

Analect XV, vi, by the name Shih Yu. ' Righteousness ' was 
his great attribute. 

1 The two heresiarchs so much denounced by Mencius. Both 
have appeared in previous Books. 


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great toe, to divide the membrane makes you 
weep ; and when there is an extra finger, to gnaw it 
off makes you cry out. In the one case there is a 
member too many, and in the other a member too 
few ; but the anxiety and pain which they cause is 
the same. The benevolent men of the present age 
look at the evils of the world, as with eyes full of 
dust, and are filled with sorrow by them, while those 
who are not benevolent, having violently altered the 
character of their proper nature, greedily pursue 
after riches and honours. The presumption there- 
fore is that benevolence and righteousness are con- 
trary to the nature of man : — how full of trouble and l^ 
contention has the world been ever since the three 
dynasties 1 began ! 

And moreover, in employing the hook and line, 
the compass and square, to give things their correct 
form you must cut away portions of what naturally 
belongs to them ; in employing strings and fasten- 
ings, glue and varnish to make things firm, you must 
violently interfere with their qualities. The bendings 
and stoppings in ceremonies and music, and the fac- 
titious expression in the countenance of benevolence 
and righteousness, in order to comfort the minds of 
men : — these all show a failure in observing the 
regular principles (of the human constitution). All 
men are furnished with such regular principles ; and 
according to them what is bent is not made so by 
the hook, nor what is straight by the line, nor what 
is round by the compass, nor what is square by the 
carpenter's square. Nor is adhesion effected by 

1 Those of Hsia, Shang, and Kzss.; — from the twenty-third L 
century b. c. to our author's own time. 

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272 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk.viii. 

the use of glue and varnish, nor are things bound 
together by means of strings and bands. Thus it 
is that all in the world are produced what they are 
by a certain guidance, while they do not know how 
they are produced so ; and they equally attain their 
several ends while they do not know how it is that 
they do so. Anciently it was so, and it is so now ; 
and this constitution of things should not be made 
of none effect. Why then should benevolence and 
righteousness be employed as connecting (links), or 
as glue and varnish, strings and bands, and the 
enjoyment arising from the Tao and its character- 
istics be attributed to them ? — it is a deception prac- 
tised upon the world. Where the deception is small, 
there will be a change in the direction (of the objects 
pursued) ; where it is great, there will be a change of 
the nature itself. How do I know that it is so ? 
Since he of the line of Yii called in his benevolence 
and righteousness to distort and vex the world, the 
world has not ceased to hurry about to execute 
their commands ; — has not this been by means of 
benevolence and righteousness to change (men's 
views) of their nature ? 

4. I will therefore try and discuss this matter. 
From the commencement of the three dynasties 
downwards, nowhere has there been a man who 
has not under (the influence of external) things 
altered (the course of) his nature. Small men for 
the sake of gain have sacrificed their persons ; 
scholars for the sake of fame have done so ; great 
officers, for the sake of their families; and sagely 
men, for the sake of the kingdom. These several 
classes, with different occupations, and different repu- 

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tations, have agreed in doing injury to their nature 
and sacrificing their persons. Take the case of a 
male and female slave 1 ; — they have to feed the sheep 
together, but they both lose their sheep. Ask the 
one what he was doing, and you will find that he 
was holding his bamboo tablets and reading. Ask 
the other, and you will find that she was amusing 
herself with some game 2 . They were differently 
occupied, but they equally lose their sheep. (So), 
Po-i 3 died at the foot of Shau-yang * to maintain his 
fame, and the robber K'xh. 6 died on the top of Tung- 
ling 6 in his eagerness for gain. Their deaths were 
occasioned by different causes, but they equally 
shortened their lives and did violence to their 
nature ; — why must we approve of Po-i, and condemn 
the robber Kih ? In cases of such sacrifice all over 
the world, when one makes it for the sake of bene- 
volence and righteousness, the common people style 
him ' a superior man,' but when another does it for 
the sake of goods and riches, they style him ' a small 
man.' The action of sacrificing is the same, and yet 
we have ' the superior man ' and ' the small man ! ' 
In the matter of destroying his life, and doing injury 
to his nature, the robber Kih simply did the same as 
Po-t ; — why must we make the distinction of ' superior 
man ' and ' small man ' between them ? 

1 See the Khang-hsi dictionary under the character ^j|£. 

2 Playing at some game with dice. 8 See VI, par. 3. 

* A mountain in the present Shan-hsi, probably in the depart- 
ment of Phu-&iu. 

5 A strange character, but not historical, represented as a brother 
of Liu-hsid Hui. See Bk. XXIX. 

• ' The Eastern Height,' = the Thai mountain in the present 

[39] T 

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5. Moreover, those who devote their nature to 
(the pursuit) of benevolence and righteousness, 
though they should attain to be like 3&ng (Shan) 
and Shih (3hiu), I do not pronounce to be good ; 
those who devote it to (the study of) the five 
flavours, though they attain to be like Shu-r 1 , I do 
not pronounce to be good ; those who devote it to 
the (discrimination of the) five notes, though they 
attain to be like Shih Khwang, I do not pronounce 
to be quick of hearing ; those who devote it to 
the (appreciation of the) five colours, though they 
attain to be like Li A"u, I do not pronounce to be 
clear of vision. When I pronounce men to be good, 
I am not speaking of their benevolence and right- 
eousness ; — the goodness is simply (their possession 
of) the qualities (of the Tao). When I pronounce 
them to be good, I am not speaking of what are 
called benevolence and righteousness ; but simply 
of their allowing the nature with which they are 
endowed to have its free course. When I pronounce 
men to be quick of hearing, I do not mean that they 
hearken to anything else, but that they hearken to 
themselves ; when I pronounce them to be clear of 
vision, I do not mean that they look to anything 
else, but that they look to themselves. Now those 
who do not see themselves but see other things, 
who do not get possession of themselves but get 
possession of other things, get possession of what 
belongs to others, and not of what is their own ; and 
they reach forth to what attracts others, and not to 
that in themselves which should attract them. But 

1 Different from Yih-ya, the famous cook of duke Hwan of KM. 
This is said to have been of the time of Hwang-Tf. But there are 
different readings of the name. 

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thus reaching forth to what attracts others and not 
to what should attract them in themselves, be they 
like the robber Kih or like Po-t, they equally err in 
the way of excess or of perversity. What I am 
ashamed of is erring in the characteristics of the 
T&o, and therefore, in the higher sphere, I do not 
dare to insist on the practice of benevolence and 
righteousness, and, in the lower, I do not dare 
to allow myself either in the exercise of excess or 

t 2 

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Part II. Section II. 

Ma Thl, or 'Horses's Hoofs 1 .' 

1. Horses can with their hoofs tread on the hoar- 
frost and snow, and with their hair withstand the 
wind and cold ; they feed on the grass and drink 
water ; they prance with their legs and leap : — this 
is the true nature of horses. Though there were 
made for them grand towers 2 and large dormitories, 
they would prefer not to use them. But when Po- 
lao 3 (arose and) said, ' I know well how to manage 
horses,' (men proceeded) 4 to singe and mark them, 
to clip their hair, to pare their hoofs, to halter their 
heads, to bridle them and hobble them, and to con- 
fine them in stables and corrals. (When subjected 
to this treatment), two or three in every ten of them 
died. (Men proceeded further) to subject them to 
hunger and thirst, to gallop them and race them, 

1 See pp. 140, 141. 

2 Literally, 'righteous towers;' but g| is very variously applied, 
and there are other readings. Compare the name of ling thSi, 
given by the people to the tower built by king Wan ; Shih, III, i, 8. 

8 A mythical being, the first tamer of horses. The name is 
given to a star, where he is supposed to have his seat as superin- 
tendent of the horses of heaven. It became a designation of Sun 
Yang, a famous charioteer of the later period of the .Xau dynasty, 
but it could not be he whom .ffwang-jze had in view. 

4 Po-l&o set the example of dealing with horses as now de- 
scribed; but the supplement which I have introduced seems to 
bring out better our author's meaning. 

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and to make them go together in regular order. In 
front were the evils of the bit and ornamented breast- 
bands, and behind were the terrors of the whip and 
switch. (When so treated), more than half of them 

The (first) potter said, ' I know well how to deal 
with clay ; ' and (men proceeded) to mould it into 
circles as exact as if made by the compass, and into 
squares as exact as if formed by the measuring 
square. The (first) carpenter said, ' I know well 
how to deal with wood ; ' and (men proceeded) to 
make it bent as if by the application of the hook, and 
straight as if by the application of the plumb-line. 
But is it the nature of clay and wood to require the 
application of the compass and square, of the hook 
and line ? And yet age after age men have praised 
Po-lao, saying, ' He knew well how to manage 
horses,' and also the (first) potter and carpenter, 
saying, ' They knew well how to deal with clay and 
wood.' This is just the error committed by the 
governors of the world. 

2. According to my idea, those who know well to 
govern mankind would not act so. The people had 
their regular and constant nature * : — they wove and 
made themselves clothes ; they tilled the ground and 
got food z . This was their common faculty. They 
were all one in this, and did not form themselves 
into separate classes ; so were they constituted and 
left to their natural tendencies 3 . Therefore in the 

1 Compare the same language in the previous Book, par. 3. 

2 But the weaver's or agriculturist's art has no more title to be 
called primitive than the potter's or carpenter's. 

3 A difficult expression ; but the translation, probably, gives its 

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age of perfect virtue men walked along with slow 
and grave step, and with their looks steadily directed 
forwards. At that time, on the hills there were no 
foot-paths, nor excavated passages ; on the lakes 
there were no boats nor dams ; all creatures lived in 
companies ; and the places of their settlement were 
made close to one another. Birds and beasts multi- 
plied to flocks and herds ; the grass and trees grew 
luxuriant and long. In this condition the birds and 
beasts might be led about without feeling the con- 
straint ; the nest of the magpie might be climbed to, 
and peeped into. Yes, in the age of perfect virtue, 
men lived in common with birds and beasts, and 
were on terms of equality with all creatures, as 
forming one family ; — how could they know among 
themselves the distinctions of superior men and 
small men ? Equally without knowledge, they did 
not leave (the path of) their natural virtue ; equally 
free from desires, they were in the state of pure 
simplicity. In that state of pure simplicity, the 
nature of the people was what it ought to be. But 
when the sagely men appeared, limping and wheeling 
about in (the exercise of) benevolence, pressing 
along and standing on tiptoe in the doing of right- 
eousness, then men universally began to be per- 
plexed. (Those sages also) went to excess in their 
performances of music, and in their gesticulations in 
the practice of ceremonies, and then men began to 
be separated from one another. If the raw materials 

true significance. ' Heaven' here is synonymous with 'the Tao ;' 
but its use shows how readily the minds, even of Lao and ^Twang, 
had recourse to the earliest term by which the Chinese fathers had 
expressed their recognition of a Supreme and Controlling Power 
and Government. 

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had not been cut and hacked, who could have made 
a sacrificial vase from them ? If the natural jade 
had not been broken and injured, who could have 
made the handles for the libation-cups from it ? If 
the attributes of the Tao had not been disallowed, 
how should they have preferred benevolence and 
righteousness ? If the instincts of the nature had 
not been departed from, how should ceremonies and 
music have come into use ? If the five colours had 
not been confused, how should the ornamental figures 
have been formed ? If the five notes had not been 
confused, how should they have supplemented 
them by the musical accords ? The cutting and 
hacking of the raw materials to form vessels was the 
crime of the skilful workman ; the injury done to the 
characteristics of the Tao in order to the practice of 
benevolence and righteousness was the error of the 
sagely men. 

3. Horses, when living in the open country, eat 
the grass, and drink water ; when pleased, they 
intertwine their necks and rub one another ; when 
enraged, they turn back to back and kick one 
another ; — this is all that they know to do. But 
if we put the yoke on their necks, with the moon- 
like frontlet displayed on all their foreheads, then 
they know to look slily askance, to curve their necks, 
to rush viciously, trying to get the bit out of their 
mouths, and to filch the reins (from their driver) ; — 
this knowledge of the horse and its ability thus to 
act the part of a thief is the crime of Po-lio. In 
the time of (the Ti) Ho-hsii \ the people occupied 

1 An ancient sovereign ; but nothing more definite can be said 
about him. Most of the critics identify him with Shan-nang, the 

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their dwellings without knowing what they were 
doing, and walked out without knowing where they 
were going. They filled their mouths with food 
and were glad ; they slapped their stomachs to ex- 
press their satisfaction. This was all the ability 
which they possessed. But when the sagely men 
appeared, with their bendings and stoppings in cere- 
monies and music to adjust the persons of all, and 
hanging up their benevolence and righteousness to 
excite the endeavours of all to reach them, in order 
to comfort their minds, then the people began to 
stump and limp about in their love of knowledge, 
and strove with one another in their pursuit of gain, 
so that there was no stopping them : — this was the 
error of those sagely men. 

Father of Husbandry, who occupies the place in chronological 
tables after Fu-hsf, between him and Hwang-T). In the Tables 
of the Dynastic Histories, published in 1817, he is placed seventh 
in the list of fifteen reigns, which are placed without any specifica- 
tion of their length between Fu-hsf and Shan-nang. The name 

is written as ^ ^ and jffiffi £$. 

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Part II. Section III. 

Khvi Kh'ith., or ' Cutting open Satchels 1 .' 

1. In taking precautions against thieves who cut 
open satchels, search bags, and break open boxes, 
people are sure to cord and fasten them well, and to 
employ strong bonds and clasps ; and in this they 
are ordinarily said to show their wisdom. When a 
great thief comes, however, he shoulders the box, 
lifts up the satchel, carries off the bag, and runs 
away with them, afraid only that the cords, bonds, 
and clasps may not be secure ; and in this case what 
was called the wisdom (of the owners) proves to be 
nothing but a collecting of the things for the great 
thief. Let me try and set this matter forth. Do 
not those who are vulgarly called wise prove to be 
collectors for the great thieves ? And do not those 
who are called sages prove to be but guardians in 
the interest of the great thieves ? 

How do I know that the case is so ? Formerly, 
in the state of Khi, the neighbouring towns could see 
one another ; their cocks and dogs never ceased to 
answer the crowing and barking of other cocks and 
dogs (between them). The nets were set (in the 
water and on the land); and the ploughs and hoes 
were employed over more than a space of two thou- 
sand 11 square. All within its four boundaries, the 

1 See pp. 141, 142. 

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establishment of the ancestral temples and of the 
altars of the land and grain, and the ordering of the 
hamlets and houses, and of every corner in the 
districts, large, medium, and small, were in all parti- 
culars according to the rules of the sages \ So it 
was ; but yet one morning, Thien .A^ang-jze 2 killed 
the ruler of KM, and stole his state. And was it 
only the state that he stole ? Along with it he stole 
also the regulations of the sages and wise men 
(observed in it). And so, though he got the name 
of being a thief and a robber, yet he himself con- 
tinued to live as securely as Yao and Shun had done. 
Small states did not dare to find fault with him ; 
great states did not dare to take him off; for twelve 
generations (his descendants) have possessed the 
state of KM 3 . Thus do we not have a case in 
which not only did (the party) steal the state of KM, 

1 The meaning is plain ; but to introduce the various geograph- 
ical terms would make the translation cumbrous. The concluding 
|Uj is perplexing. 

2 This event is mentioned in the Analects, XIV, xxii, where the 
perpetrator of the murder is called Khan .AfMng-jze, and Kh&n 
Hang. Hang was his name, and .ATMng the honorary title given to 
him after his death. The family to which he belonged had origin- 
ally taken refuge in Kh\ from the state of Kfvkn in b. c. 672. Why 
and when its chiefs adopted the surname Thien instead of KJ&n. is 
not well known. The murder took place in 482. Hang did not 
immediately usurp the marquisate ; but he and his successors dis- 
posed of it at their pleasure among the representatives of the old 
House till 386, when Thien Ho was recognised by the king of 
Ki\x as the marquis ; and his next successor but one took the title 
of king. 

3 The kingdom of KM came to an end in B.C. 221, the first 
year of the dynasty of .Oin, after it had lasted through five 
reigns. How -ATwang-jze made out his ' twelve generations ' we 
cannot tell. There may be an interpolation in his text made in 
the time of Khm, or subsequently. 

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but at the same time the regulations of its sages and 
wise men, which thereby served to guard the person 
of him, thief and robber as he was ? 

2. Let me try to set forth this subject (still fur- 
ther). Have not there been among those vulgarly 
styled the wisest, such as have collected (their 
wealth) for the great chief? and among those styled 
the most sage such as have guarded it for him ? 
How do I know that it has been so ? Formerly, 
Lung-fang 1 was beheaded ; Pi-kan 2 had his heart 
torn out; Khavig Hung 3 was ripped open; and 3ze- 
hsii * was reduced to pulp (in the Alang). Worthy 
as those four men were, they did not escape such 
dreadful deaths. The followers of the robber 
Afih 5 asked him, saying, ' Has the robber also any 
method or principle (in his proceedings) ? ' He 
replied, ' What profession is there which has not its 
principles ? That the robber in his recklessness 
comes to the conclusion that there are valuable de- 
posits in an apartment shows his sageness ; that he 
is the first to enter it shows his bravery ; that he is 
the last to quit it shows his righteousness ; that he 
knows whether (the robbery) may be attempted or 
not shows his wisdom ; and that he makes an equal 

1 See on Book IV, par. 1. 

2 See on Book IV, par. 1. 

8 A historiographer of .Xau, with whom Confucius is said to 
have studied music. He was weakly and unjustly put to death, as 
here described by king .ATang, in b. c. 492. 

* Wfi 3ze-hsti, the hero of revenge, who fled from Khd to Wu, 
which he long served. He was driven at last to commit suicide, 
and his body was then put into a leathern wine-sack, and thrown 
into the .ATiang near the present Su-Mu ; — about b. c. 475. 

6 See on Book VIII, par. 4. 

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division of the plunder shows his benevolence. With- 
out all these five qualities no one in the world has 
ever attained to become a great robber.' Looking 
at the subject in this way, we see that good men do 
not arise without having the principles of the sages, 
and that K\h. could not have pursued his course 
without the same principles. But the good men in 
the world are few, and those who are not good are 
many ; — it follows that the sages benefit the world 
in a few instances and injure it in many. Hence it is 
that we have the sayings, ' When the lips are gone 
the teeth are cold 1 ;' 'The poor wine of Lu gave occa- 
sion to the siege of Han-tan 2 ;' ' When sages are born 
great robbers arise 3 .' When the stream is dried, 
the valley is empty; when the mound is levelled, 
the deep pool (beside it) is filled up. When the 
sages have died, the great robbers will not arise; 
the world would be at peace, and there would be no 
more troubles. While the sagely men have not 
died, great robbers will not cease to appear. The 
more right that is attached to (the views of) the 
sagely men for the government of the world, the 
more advantage will accrue to (such men as) the 
robber Kih. If we make for men pecks and bushels 

1 This is an instance of cause and effect naturally happening. 

2 At a meeting of the princes, presided over by king Hsflan of 
KAh (b. c. 369-340), the ruler of Lu brought very poor wine for 
the king, which was presented to him as wine of K&o, in conse- 
quence of a grudge against that kingdom by his officer of wines. 
In consequence of this king Hsiian ordered siege to be laid to 
Han-tan, the capital of Kko. This is an instance of cause and 
effect occurring irregularly. 

3 There seems to be no connexion of cause and effect here ; 
but .ffwang-jze goes on in his own way to make out that there is 
such a connexion. 

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to measure (their wares), even by means of those 
pecks and bushels should we be teaching them to 
steal 1 ; if we make for them weights and steelyards 
to weigh (their wares), even by means of those 
weights and steelyards shall we be teaching them 
to steal. If we make for them tallies and seals to 
secure their good faith, even by means of those 
tallies and seals shall we be teaching them to steal. 
If we make for them benevolence and righteousness 
to make their doings correct, even by means of bene- 
volence and righteousness shall we be teaching them 
to steal. How do I know that it is so ? Here is 
one who steals a hook (for his girdle) ; — he is put to 
death for it : here is another who steals a state ; — he 
becomes its prince. But it is at the gates of the 
princes that we find benevolence and righteousness 
(most strongly) professed ; — is not this stealing bene- 
volence and righteousness, sageness and wisdom ? 
Thus they hasten to become great robbers, carry 
off princedoms, and steal benevolence and righteous- 
ness, with all the gains springing from the use of 
pecks and bushels, weights and steelyards, tallies 
and seals : — even the rewards of carriages and 
coronets have no power to influence (to a different 
course), and the terrors of the axe have no power to 
restrain in such cases. The giving of so great gain 
to robbers (like) A'ih, and making it impossible to 
restrain them ; — this is the error committed by the 

3. In accordance with this it is said, 'Fish should 

1 The verb *to steal' is here used transitively, and with a 
hiphil force. 

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not be taken from (the protection of) the deep 
waters ; the agencies for the profit of a state should 
not be shown to men V But those sages (and their 
teachings) are the agencies for the profit of the 
world, and should not be exhibited to it. Therefore 
if an end were put to sageness and wisdom put away, 
the great robbers would cease to arise. If jade were 
put away and pearls broken to bits, the small thieves 
would not appear. If tallies were burned and seals 
broken in pieces, the people would become simple 
and unsophisticated. If pecks were destroyed and 
steelyards snapped in two, the people would have no 
wrangling. If the rules of the sages were entirely 
set aside in the world, a beginning might be made 
of reasoning with the people. If the six musical 
accords were reduced to a state of utter confusion, 
organs and lutes all burned, and the ears of the 
(musicians like the) blind Khwang 2 stopped up, all 
men would begin to possess and employ their 
(natural) power of hearing. If elegant ornaments 
were abolished, the five embellishing colours disused, 
and the eyes of (men like) Lt Kd s glued up, all 
men would begin to possess and employ their 
(natural) power of vision. If the hook and line were 
destroyed, the compass and square thrown away, and 
the fingers of men (like) the artful A^ui 4 smashed, 
all men would begin to possess and employ their 
(natural) skill ; — as it is said, ' The greatest art is 

1 See the Tao Teh King, ch. 36. Our author's use of it 
throws light on its meaning. 
a Note 1, p. 186. 

3 Note 2, p. 269. 

4 A skilful maker of arrows of the time of Ydo, — the Kung- 
kung of the Shu, II, i, 21 ; V, xxii, 19. 

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like stupidity 1 .' If conduct such as that of 
(Shan) 2 and Shih (A^iu) 3 were discarded, the mouths 
of Yang (Aft) * and Mo (Ti) gagged, and bene- 
volence and righteousness seized and thrown aside, 
the virtue of all men would begin to display its 
mysterious excellence. When men possessed and 
employed their (natural) power of vision, there would 
be no distortion in the world. When they possessed 
and employed their (natural) power of hearing, there 
would be no distractions in the world. When they 
possessed and employed their (natural) faculty of 
knowledge, there would be no delusions in the world. 
When they possessed and employed their (natural) 
virtue, there would be no depravity in the world. 
Men like 3ang (Shan), Shih (Khfa), Yang (Kb), Mo 
(Tl), Shih Khwang (the musician), the artist Kkvx, 
and Ll Kb, all display their qualities outwardly, and 
set the world in a blaze (of admiration) and confound 
it ; — a method which is of no use ! 

4. Are you, Sir, unacquainted with the age of 
perfect virtue ? Anciently there were Yung-Mang, 
Ta-thing, Po-hwang, Aang-yang, Li-lu, Li-Mu, 
Hsien-yuan, Ho-hsii, 3 un- l u > A'u-yung, Fu-hsl, 
and Shan-nang 5 . In their times the people made 

1 The TSo Teh A'ing, ch. 45. 

2 Note 6, p. 269. 
8 Note 7, p. 269. 
4 Note 5, p. 261. 

8 Of the twelve names mentioned here the reader is probably 
familiar with those of Fu-hsi and Shan-nang, the first and second 
of the Ti in chronology. Hsien-yuan is another name for Hwang- 
Ti, the third of them, Kt-yung was, perhaps, a minister of Hwang- 
Ti. Ho-hsii has occurred before in Book IV. Of the other seven, 
five occur among the fifteen sovereigns placed in the ' Compendium 

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knots on cords in carrying on their affairs. They 
thought their (simple) food pleasant, and their 
(plain) clothing beautiful. They were happy in 
their (simple) manners, and felt at rest in their 
(poor) dwellings. (The people of) neighbouring 
states might be able to descry one another; the 
voices of their cocks and dogs might be heard (all 
the way) from one to the other ; they might not die 
till they were old ; and yet all their life they would 
have no communication together 1 . In those times 
perfect good order prevailed. 

Now-a-days, however, such is the state of things 
that you shall see the people stretching out their 
necks, and standing on tiptoe, while they say, ' In 
such and such a place there is a wise and able 
man.' Then they carry with them whatever dry 
provisions they may have left, and hurry towards 
it, abandoning their parents in their homes, and 
neglecting the service of their rulers abroad. Their 
footsteps may be traced in lines from one state 
to another, and the ruts of their chariot-wheels also 
for more than a thousand 1 1. This is owing to the 
error of their superiors in their (inordinate) fondness 
for knowledge. When those superiors do really love 
knowledge, but do not follow the (proper) course, 
the whole world is thrown into great confusion. 

How do I know that the case is so ? The know- 
ledge shown in the (making of) bows, cross-bows, 
hand-nets, stringed arrows, and contrivances with 
springs is great, but the birds are troubled by them 

of History ' between Fu-hsi and Shan-nang. The remaining two 
may be found, I suppose, in the Lfl Shih of Lo Pt. 
1 See the eightieth chapter of the Tio Teh A'ing. 

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above; the knowledge shown in the hooks, baits, 
various kinds of nets, and bamboo traps is great, 
but the fishes are disturbed by them in the waters ; 
the knowledge shown in the arrangements for 
setting nets, and the nets and snares themselves, 
is great, but the animals are disturbed by them in 
the marshy grounds. (So), the versatility shown 
in artful deceptions becoming more and more 
pernicious, in ingenious discussions as to what is 
hard and what is white, and in attempts to disperse 
the dust and reconcile different views, is great, but 
the common people are perplexed by all the sophistry. 
Hence there is great disorder continually in the 
world, and the guilt of it is due to that fondness 
for knowledge. Thus it is that all men know to 
seek for the knowledge that they have not attained 
to ; and do not know to seek for that which they 
already have (in themselves) ; and that they know 
to condemn what they do not approve (in others), 
and do not know to condemn what they have 
allowed in themselves ; — it is this which occasions 
the great confusion and disorder. It is just as if, 
above, the brightness of the sun and moon were 
darkened ; as if, beneath, the productive vigour of 
the hills and streams were dried up ; and as if, 
between, the operation of the four seasons were 
brought to an end : — in which case there would not 
be a single weak and wriggling insect, nor any plant 
that grows up, which would not lose its proper 
nature. Great indeed is the disorder produced in 
the world by the love of knowledge. From the 
time of the three dynasties downwards it has been so. 
The plain and honest-minded people are neglected, 
and the plausible representations of restless spirits 
[39] u 

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received with pleasure; the quiet and unexciting 
method of non-action is put away, and pleasure 
taken in ideas garrulously expressed. It is this 
garrulity of speech which puts the world in dis- 

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U. - 




Part II. Section IV. 

3&i Yu, or 'Letting Be, and Exercising For- 
bearance V 

1. I have heard of letting the world be, and 
exercising forbearance ; I have not heard of govern- 
ing the world. Letting be is from the fear that 
men, (when interfered with), will carry their nature 
beyond its normal condition ; exercising forbearance 
is from the fear that men, (when not so dealt with), 
will alter the characteristics of their nature. When 
all men do not carry their nature beyond its normal 
condition, nor alter its characteristics, the good 
government of the world is secured. 

Formerly, Yao's government of the world made 
men look joyful ; but when they have this joy in 
their nature, there is a want of its (proper) 
placidity. The government of the world by A'ieh, 
(on the contrary), made men look distressed ; but 
when their nature shows the symptoms of distress, 
there is a want of its (proper) contentment. The 
want of placidity and the want of contentment are 
contrary to the character (of the nature) ; and where 
this obtains, it is impossible that any man or state 
should anywhere abide long. Are men exceedingly 
joyful ? — the Yang or element of expansion in them 
is too much developed. Are they exceedingly 

1 See pp. 142, 143. 
U 2 

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irritated? — the Yin or opposite element is too 
much developed. When those elements thus pre- 
dominate in men, (it is as if 1 ) the four seasons 
were not to come (at their proper times), and the 
harmony of cold and heat were not to be main- 
tained ; — would there not result injury to the bodies 
of men ? Men's joy and dissatisfaction are made to 
arise where they ought not to do so ; their move- 
ments are all uncertain ; they lose the mastery of 
their thoughts ; they stop short midway, and do not 
finish what they have begun. In this state of 
things the world begins to have lofty aims, and 
jealous dislikes, ambitious courses, and fierce ani- 
mosities, and then we have actions like those of the 
robber A'ih, or of 3^ng (Shan) and Shih (3hiu) 2 . 
If now the whole world were taken to reward the 
good it would not suffice, nor would it be possible 
with it to punish the bad. Thus the world, great 
as it is, not sufficing for rewards and punishments, 
from the time of the three dynasties downwards, 
there has been nothing but bustle and excitement. 
Always occupied with rewards and punishments, 
what leisure have men had to rest in the instincts 
of the nature with which they are endowed ? 

2. Moreover, delight in the power of vision leads 

1 I supply the ' it is as if/ after the example of the critic Lu Shu- 
flh, who here introduces a >J|| in his commentary (>Jjj| I7IJ 0^ 

^C. Jf& ^ 31: Jf* ^T 2r)' What the text seems to state as a 
fact is only an illustration. Compare the concluding paragraphs 
in all the Sections and Parts of the fourth Book of the Li K\. 

2 Our moral instincts protest against Taoism which thus places 
in the same category such sovereigns as Y&o and Kieh, and such 
men as the brigand K\\\ and 3ang and Shih. 

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to excess in the pursuit of (ornamental) colours ; 
delight in the power of hearing, to excess in seeking 
(the pleasures of) sound ; delight in benevolence 
tends to disorder that virtue (as proper to the 
nature) ; delight in righteousness sets the man in 
opposition to what is right in reason ; delight in (the 
practice of) ceremonies is helpful to artful forms ; 
delight in music leads to voluptuous airs ; delight 
in sageness is helpful to ingenious contrivances ; 
delight in knowledge contributes to fault-finding. 
If all men were to rest in the instincts of their 
nature, to keep or to extinguish these eight delights 
might be a matter of indifference ; but if they will 
not rest in those instincts, then those eight delights 
begin to be imperfectly and unevenly developed or 
violently suppressed, and the world is thrown into 
disorder. But when men begin to honour them, 
and to long for them, how great is the deception 
practised on the world! And not only, when (a 
performance of them) is once over, do they not 
have done with them, but they prepare themselves 
(as) with fasting to describe them, they seem to 
kneel reverentially when they bring them forward, 
and they go through them with the excitements of 
music and singing; and then what can be done 
(to remedy the evil of them) ? Therefore the 
superior man, who feels himself constrained to en- 
gage in the administration of the world will find it 
his best way to do nothing 1 . In (that policy of) 
doing nothing, he can rest in the instincts of the 
nature with which he is endowed. Hence he who 
will administer (the government of) the world 

1 Here is the Taoistic meaning of the title of this Book. 


honouring it as he honours his own person, may 
have that government committed to him, and he 
who will administer it loving it as he loves his own 
person, may have it entrusted to him l . Therefore, 
if the superior man will keep (the faculties lodged 
in) his five viscera unemployed, and not display his 
powers of seeing and hearing, while he is motionless 
as a representative of the dead, his dragon-like 
presence will be seen ; while he is profoundly silent, 
the thunder (of his words) will resound ; while his 
movements are (unseen) like those of a spirit, all 
heavenly influences will follow them ; while he is 
(thus) unconcerned and does nothing, his genial 
influence will attract and gather all things round 
him : — what leisure has he to do anything more for 
the government of the world ? 

3. 3hui KM 2 asked Lao Tan, saying, ' If you do 
not govern the world, how can you make men's 
minds good ? ' The reply was, ' Take care how you 
meddle with and disturb men's minds. The mind, 
if pushed about, gets depressed ; if helped forward, 
it gets exalted. Now exalted, now depressed, here 
it appears as a prisoner, and there as a wrathful fury. 
(At one time) it becomes pliable and soft, yielding 
to what is hard and strong ; (at another), it is sharp 
as the sharpest corner, fit to carve or chisel (stone 
or jade). Now it is hot as a scorching fire, and anon 
it is cold as ice. It is so swift that while one is 
bending down and lifting up his head, it shall twice 

1 A quotation, but without any indication that it is so, from the 
Tdo Teh JTing, ch. 13. 
a Probably an imaginary personage. 


have put forth a soothing hand beyond the four seas. 
Resting, it is still as a deep abyss ; moving, it is like 
one of the bodies in the sky ; in its resolute haughti- 
ness, it refuses to be bound ; — such is the mind of 
man 1 !' 

Anciently, Hwang-Ti was the first to meddle with 
and disturb the mind of man with his benevolence 
and righteousness 2 . After him, Yao and Shun wore 
their thighs bare and the hair off the calves of their 
legs, in their labours to nourish the bodies of the 
people. They toiled painfully with all the powers 
in their five viscera at the practice of their benevo- 
lence and righteousness ; they tasked their blood 
and breath to make out a code of laws ; — and after 
all they were unsuccessful. On this Yao sent away 
Hwan Tau to Kkung hill, and (the Chiefs of) the 
Three Miao to San-wei, and banished the Minister of 
Works to the Dark Capital ; so unequal had they 
been to cope with the world 3 . Then we are carried 
on to the kings of the Three (dynasties), when the 
world was in a state of great distraction. Of the 
lowest type of character there were Aleh and Kih. ; 
of a higher type there were 3&ng (Shan) and Shih 
(3hiu). At the same time there arose the classes of 

1 I must suppose that the words of Lao-jze stop here, and that 
what follows is from ^Twang-jze himself, down to the end of the 
paragraph. We cannot have Lio-jze referring to men later than 
himself, and quoting from his own Book. 

a Hitherto Y3o and Shun have appeared as the first disturbers 
of the rule of the T&o by their benevolence and righteousness. 
Here that innovation is carried further back to Hwang-Ti. 

3 See these parties, and the way they were dealt with, in the Shu 
King, Part II, Book I, 3. The punishment of them is there 
ascribed to Shun ; but Ydo was still alive, and Shun was acting as 
his viceroy. 

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the Literati and the Mohists. Hereupon, compla- 
cency in, and hatred of, one another produced mutual 
suspicions ; the stupid and the wise imposed on one 
another ; the good and the bad condemned one 
another; the boastful and the sincere interchanged 
their recriminations ; — and the world fell into decay. 
Views as to what was greatly virtuous did not agree, 
and the nature with its endowments became as if 
shrivelled by fire or carried away by a flood. All were 
eager for knowledge, and the people were exhausted 
with their searchings (after what was good). On 
this the axe and the saw were brought into play ; 
guilt was determined as by the plumb-line and death 
inflicted ; the hammer and gouge did their work. 
The world fell into great disorder, and presented the 
appearance of a jagged mountain ridge. The crime 
to which all was due was the meddling with and 
disturbing men's minds. The effect was that men 
of ability and worth lay concealed at the foot of the 
crags of mount Thai, and princes of ten thousand 
chariots were anxious and terrified in their ancestral 
temples. In the present age those who have been 
put to death in various ways lie thick as if pillowed on 
each other ; those who are wearing the cangue press 
on each other (on the roads) ; those who are suffer- 
ing the bastinado can see each other (all over the 
land). And now the Literati and the Mohists begin 
to stand, on tiptoe and with bare arms, among the 
fettered and manacled crowd ! Ah ! extreme is their 
shamelessness, and their failure to see the disgrace ! 
Strange that we should be slow to recognise their 
sageness and wisdom in the bars of the cangue, and 
their benevolence and righteousness in the rivets of 
the fetters and handcuffs ! How do we know that 

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3&ng and Shih are not the whizzing arrows of A'ieh 
and Kib. 1 ? Therefore it is said, ' Abolish sageness 
and cast away knowledge, and the world will be 
brought to a state of great order V 

4. Hwang-Ti had been on the throne for nineteen 
years 3 , and his ordinances were in operation all 
through the kingdom, when he heard that Kwang 
ATMng-jze 4 was living on the summit of Khung- 
thung 5 , and went to see him. ' I have heard,' he 
said, 'that you, Sir, are well acquainted with the 
perfect Tao. I venture to ask you what is the 
essential thing in it. I wish to take the subtlest 
influences of heaven and earth, and assist with them 
the (growth of the) five cereals for the (better) 
nourishment of the people. I also wish to direct 
the (operation of the) Yin and Yang, so as to 
secure the comfort of all living beings. How shall 
I proceed to accomplish those objects ? ' Kwang 
.A'Mng-jze replied, ' What you wish to ask about 
is the original substance of all things e ; what you 

1 Compare this picture of the times after Yao and Shun with 
that given by Mencius in III, ii, ch. 9 et al. But the conclusions 
arrived at as to the causes and cure of their evils by him and our 
author are very different. 

2 A quotation, with the regular formula, from the Tao Teh 
Jifing, ch. 19, with some variation of the text. 

3 ? in b.c. 2678. 

* Another imaginary personage ; apparently, a personification of 
the Tao. Some say he was Lao-jze, — in one of his early states 
of existence; others that he was 'a True Man,' the teacher of 
Hwang-Ti. See Ko Hung's ' Immortals,' I, i. 

5 Equally imaginary is the mountain Khung-thung. Some 
critics find a place for it in the province of Ho-nan ; the majority 
say it is the highest point in the constellation of the Great Bear. 

6 The original ether, undivided, out of which all things were 



wish to have the direction of is that substance as it 
was shattered and divided 1 . According to your 
government of the world, the vapours of the clouds, 
before they were collected, would descend in rain ; 
the herbs and trees would shed their leaves before 
they became yellow ; and the light of the sun and 
moon would hasten to extinction. Your mind is 
that of a flatterer with his plausible words ; — it is 
not fit that I should tell you the perfect Tao.' 

Hwang-Ti withdrew, gave up (his government of) 
the kingdom, built himself a solitary apartment, 
spread in it a mat of the white mao grass, dwelt in it 
unoccupied for three months, and then went again to 
seek an interview with (the recluse). Kwang ^Oang- 
$ze was then lying down with his head to the south. 
Hwang-Ti, with an air of deferential submission, 
went forward on his knees, twice bowed low with his 
face to the ground, and asked him, saying, ' I have 
heard that you, Sir, are well acquainted with the 
perfect Tao; — I venture to ask how I should rule 
my body, in order that it may continue for a long 
time.' Kwang AT^ang-jze hastily rose, and said, ' A 
good question ! Come and I will tell you the per- 
fect Tao. Its essence is (surrounded with) the 
deepest obscurity; its highest reach is in darkness 
and silence. There is nothing to be seen ; nothing 
to be heard. When it holds the spirit in its arms 
in stillness, then the bodily form of itself will become 
correct. You must be still ; you must be pure ; 
not subjecting your body to toil, not agitating your 
vital force ; — then you may live for long. When 

1 The same ether, now in motion, now at rest, divided into the 
Yin and Yang. 

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your eyes see nothing, your ears hear nothing, and 
your mind knows nothing, your spirit will keep your 
body, and the body will live long. Watch over what 
is within you, shut up the avenues that connect you 
with what is external ; — much knowledge is perni- 
cious. I (will) proceed with you to the summit of 
the Grand Brilliance, where we come to the source 
of the bright and expanding (element) ; I will enter 
with you the gate of the Deepest Obscurity, where 
we come to the source of the dark and repressing 
(element). There heaven and earth have their con- 
trollers ; there the Yin and Yang have their Reposi- 
tories. Watch over and keep your body, and all 
things will of themselves give it vigour. I maintain 
the (original) unity (of these elements), and dwell in 
the harmony of them. In this way I have cultivated 
myself for one thousand and two hundred years, and 
my bodily form has undergone no decay 1 .' 

Hwang-Ti twice bowed low with his head to the 
ground, and said, ' In Kwang A^ang-jze we have an 
example of what is called Heaven V The other said, 
' Come, and I will tell you : — (The perfect Tao) is 
something inexhaustible, and yet men all think it 
has an end ; it is something unfathomable, and yet 
men all think its extreme limit can be reached. He 
who attains to my Tao, if he be in a high position, 
will be one of the August ones, and in a low posi- 
tion, will be a king. He who fails in attaining it, 
in his highest attainment will see the light, but will 

1 It seems very clear here that the earliest T&oism taught that 
the cultivation of the Tao tended to prolong and preserve the bodily 

s A remarkable, but not a singular, instance of iTwang-jze's appli- 
cation of the name ' Heaven.' 

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300 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. xi. 

descend and be of the Earth. At present all things 
are produced from the Earth and return to the Earth. 
Therefore I will leave you, and enter the gate of the 
Unending, to enjoy myself in the fields of the Illi- 
mitable. I will blend my light with that of the sun 
and moon, and will endure while heaven and earth 
endure. If men agree with my views, I will be 
unconscious of it ; if they keep far apart from them, 
I will be unconscious of it ; they may all die, and I 
will abide alone 1 ! ' 

5. Yiin jfiaang 2 , rambling to the east, having been 
borne along on a gentle breeze 3 , suddenly encoun- 
tered Hung Mung 2 , who was rambling about, slap- 
ping his buttocks * and hopping like a bird. Amazed 
at the sight, Yiin Kxang stood reverentially, and 
said to the other, ' Venerable Sir, who are you ? and 
why are you doing this ? ' Hung Mung went on 
slapping his buttocks and hopping like a bird, but 
replied, ' I am enjoying myself.' Yiin K\ said, ' I 

1 A very difficult sentence, in interpreting which there are great 
differences among the critics. 

2 I have preferred to retain Yiin .Slang and Hung Mung as if 
they were the surnames and names of two personages here intro- 
duced. Mr. Balfour renders them by ' The Spirit of the Clouds,' 
and ' Mists of Chaos.' The Spirits of heaven or the sky have still 
their place in the Sacrificial Canon of China, as 'the Cloud- 
Master, the Rain-Master, the Baron of the Winds, and the Thunder 
Master.' Hung Mung, again, is a name for ' the Great Ether,' or, 
as Dr. Medhurst calls it, ' the Primitive Chaos.' 

3 Literally, 'passing by a branch of Fu-y&o; ' but we find ffi- 
yao in Book I, meaning ' a whirlwind.' The term ' branch ' has 
made some critics explain it here as ' the name of a tree,' which is 
inadmissible. I have translated according to the view of Lu 

4 Or ' stomach,' — according to another reading. 

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wish to ask you a question.' Hung Mung lifted up 
his head, looked at the stranger, and said, ' Pooh ! ' 
YUn A'iang, however, continued, ' The breath of 
heaven is out of harmony; the breath of earth is 
bound up ; the six elemental influences 1 do not act 
in concord ; the four seasons do not observe their 
proper times. Now I wish to blend together the 
essential qualities of those six influences in order to 
nourish all living things ; — how shall I go about it ? ' 
Hung Mung slapped his buttocks, hopped about, and 
shook his head, saying, ' I do not know ; I do not 

Yun A"iang could not pursue his question; but three 
years afterwards, when (again) rambling in the east, 
as he was passing by the wild of Sung, he happened 
to meet Hung Mung. Delighted with the ren- 
contre, he hastened to him, and said, ' Have you 
forgotten me, O Heaven ? Have you forgotten me, 

Heaven 2 ?' At the same time, he bowed twice 
with his head to the ground, wishing to receive his 
instructions. Hung Mung said, 'Wandering listlessly 
about, I know not what I seek ; carried on by a wild 
impulse, I know not where I am going. I wander 
about in the strange manner (which you have seen), 
and see that nothing proceeds without method and 
order 3 ; — what more should I know?' Yun A'iang 
replied, ' I also seem carried on by an aimless influ- 
ence, and yet the people follow me wherever I go. 

1 cannot help their doing so. But now as they thus 

1 Probably, they in, the yang, wind, rain, darkness, and light; — 
see Mayers, p. 323. 

2 See Introduction, pp. 17, 18. 

8 Compare in Book XXIII, par. 1. 

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imitate me, I wish to hear a word from you (in the 
case).' The other said, ' What disturbs the regular 
method of Heaven, comes into collision with the 
nature of things, prevents the accomplishment of 
the mysterious (operation of) Heaven, scatters the 
herds of animals, makes the birds all sing at night, 
is calamitous to vegetation, and disastrous to all 
insects ; — all this is owing, I conceive, to the error 
of governing men.' ' What then,' said Yiin A'iang, 
'shall I do?' 'Ah,' said the other, 'you will only 
injure them ! I will leave you in my dancing way, 
and return to my place.' Yiin .Afiang rejoined, ' It 
has been a difficult thing to get this meeting with 
you, O Heaven ! I should like to hear from you a 
word (more).' Hung Mung said, ' Ah ! your mind 
(needs to be) nourished. Do you only take the 
position of doing nothing, and things will of them- 
selves become transformed. Neglect your body ; 
cast out from you your power of hearing and sight ; 
forget what you have in common with things ; cul- 
tivate a grand similarity with the chaos of the plastic 
ether ; unloose your mind ; set your spirit free ; be 
still as if you had no soul. Of all the multitude of 
things every one returns to its root. Every one re- 
turns to its root, and does not know (that it is doing 
so). They all are as in the state of chaos, and 
during all their existence they do not leave it x . If 

1 They never show any will of their own. — On the names Yiin 
.ATiang and Hung Mung, Lu Shu-fth makes the following re- 
marks : — ' These were not men, and yet they are introduced here 
as questioning and answering each other; showing us that our 
author frames and employs his surnames and names to serve his 
own purpose. Those names and the speeches made by the parties 
are all from him. We must believe that he introduces Confucius, 
Y&o, and Shun just in the same way.' 

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they knew (that they were returning to their root), 
they would be (consciously) leaving it. They do 
not ask its name ; they do not seek to spy out their 
nature; and thus it is that things come to life of 

Yun isfiang said, ' Heaven, you have conferred on 
me (the knowledge of) your operation, and revealed 
to me the mystery of it. All my life I had been 
seeking for it, and now I have obtained it' He 
then bowed twice, with his head to the ground, arose, 
took his leave, and walked away. 

6. The ordinary men of the world x all rejoice in 
men's agreeing with themselves, and dislike men's 
being different from themselves. This rejoicing and 
this ■ dislike arise from their being bent on making 
themselves distinguished above all others. But 
have they who have this object at heart so risen out 
above all others ? They depend on them to rest 
quietly (in the position which they desire), and their 
knowledge is not equal to the multitude of the arts 
of all those others 2 ! When they wish again to ad- 
minister a state for its ruler, they proceed to employ 
all the methods which the kings of the three dynasties 
considered profitable without seeing the evils of such 
a course. This is to make the state depend on the 
peradventure of their luck. But how seldom it is 
that that peradventure does not issue in the ruin of 
the state ! Not once in ten thousand instances will 
such men preserve a state. Not once will they suc- 
ceed, and in more than ten thousand cases will they 

1 Meaning eccentric thinkers not Taoists, like Hui-jze, Kung- 
sun Lung, and others. 

2 The construing and connexion of this sentence are puzzling. 

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ruin it. Alas that the possessors of territory, — (the 
rulers of states), — should not know the danger (of 
employing such men) ! Now the possessors of terri- 
tory possess the greatest of (all) things. Possessing 
the greatest of all things, — (possessing, that is, men), 
— they should not try to deal with them as (simply) 
things. And it is he who is not a thing (himself) 
that is therefore able to deal with (all) things as 
they severally require. When (a ruler) clearly under- 
stands that he who should so deal with all things is 
not a thing himself, will he only rule the kingdom ? 
He will go out and in throughout the universe (at 
his pleasure) ; he will roam over the nine regions \ 
alone in going, alone in coming. Him we call the 
sole possessor (of this ability); and the sole possessor 

(of this ability) is what is called the noblest of all. 

The teaching of (this) great man goes forth as the 
shadow from the substance, as the echo responds to 
the sound. When questioned, he responds, ex- 
hausting (from his own stores) all that is in the 
(enquirer's) mind, as if front to front with all under 
heaven. His resting-place gives forth no sound ; 
his sphere of activity has no restriction of place. 
He conducts every one to his proper goal, proceed- 
ing to it and bringing him back to it as by his own 
movement. His movements have no trace ; his 
going forth and his re-enterings have no deviation ; 
his course is like that of the sun without beginning 
(or ending). 

1 ' The nine regions ' generally means the nine provinces into 
which the Great Yii divided the kingdom. As our author is here 
describing the grand Taoist ruler after his fashion in his relation to 
the universe, we must give the phrase a wider meaning ; but I have 
not met with any attempt to define it. 

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If you would praise or discourse about his per- 
sonality, he is united with the great community of 
existences. He belongs to that great community, 
and has no individual self. Having no individual 
self, how should he have anything that can be called 
his ? If you look at those who have what they call 
their own, they are the superior men of former times ; 
if you look at him who has nothing of the kind, he 
is the friend of heaven and earth. 

7. Mean, and yet demanding to be allowed their 
free course ; — such are Things. Low, and yet re- 
quiring to be relied on ; — such are the People. 
Hidden (as to their issues), and yet requiring to be 
done ; — such are Affairs. Coarse, and yet necessary 
to be set forth ; — such are Laws. Remote, and yet 
necessary to have dwelling (in one's self) ; — such is 
Righteousness. Near, and yet necessary to be 
widely extended ; — such is Benevolence. Restrictive, 
and yet necessary to be multiplied ; — such are Cere- 
monies. Lodged in the centre, and yet requiring to 
be exalted ; — such is Virtue. Always One, and yet 
requiring to be modified ; — such is the Tao. Spirit- 
like, and yet requiring to be exercised ; — such is 
Heaven 1 . 

Therefore the sages contemplated Heaven, but 
did not assist It. They tried to perfect their virtue, 
but did not allow it to embarrass them. They pro- 
ceeded according to the Tao, but did not lay any 
plans. They associated benevolence (with all their 
doings), but did not rely on it. They pursued right- 

1 All these sentences are understood to show that even in the 
non-action of the Master of the T do there are still things he 
must do. 

[39] X 

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eousness extensively, but did not try to accumulate 
it. They responded to ceremonies, but did not con- 
ceal (their opinion as to the troublesomeness of 
them). They engaged in affairs as they occurred, 
and did not decline them. They strove to render 
their laws uniform, but (feared that confusion) might 
arise from them. They relied upon the people, and 
did not set light by them. They depended on things 
as their instruments, and did not discard them \ 

They did not think things equal to what they em- 
ployed them for, but yet they did not see that they 
could do without employing them. Those who do 
not understand Heaven are not pure in their virtue. 
Those who do not comprehend the Tao have no 
course which they can pursue successfully. Alas for 
them who do not clearly understand the Tao ! 

What is it that we call the Tao 2 ? There is the 
Tao, or Way of Heaven; and there is the Tao, or 
Way of Man. Doing nothing and yet attracting all 
honour is the Way of Heaven ; Doing and being 
embarrassed thereby is the Way of Man. It is the 
Way of Heaven that plays the part of the Lord ; 
it is the Way of Man that plays the part of the 
Servant. The Way of Heaven and the Way of 
Man are far apart. They should be clearly dis- 
tinguished from each other. 

1 Antithetic to the previous sentences, and showing that what 
such a Master does does not interfere with his non-action. 

2 This question and what follows shows clearly enough that, even 
with .ffwang-jze, the character Tao (it|J retained its proper 
meaning of the Way or Course. 

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Part II. Section V. 

Thien Tl, or 'Heaven and Earth 1 .' 

i. Notwithstanding the greatness of heaven and 
earth, their transforming power proceeds from one 
lathe; notwithstanding the number of the myriad 
things, the government of them is one and the 
same ; notwithstanding the multitude of mankind, 
the lord of them is their (one) ruler 2 . The ruler's 
(course) should proceed from the qualities (of 
the Tao) and be perfected by Heaven 3 , when it 
is so, it is called ' Mysterious and Sublime.' The 
ancients ruled the world by doing nothing ; — simply 
by this attribute of Heaven 4 . 

If we look at their words 6 in the light of the Tao, 
(we see that) the appellation for the ruler of the 

1 See pp. 143, 144. 

2 Implying that that ruler, ' the Son of Heaven,' is only one. 

8 ' Heaven ' is here defined as meaning ' Non-action, what is of 
itself (|ffi ^ ^ $$)> ' the t eh (f^) is the virtue, or qualities of 
the T&o ; — see the first paragraph of the next Book. 

4 This sentence gives the thesis, or subject-matter of the whole 
Book, which the author never loses sight of. 

6 Perhaps we should translate here, 'They looked at their words,' 
referring to 'the ancient rulers.' So Gabelentz construes : — 'Dem 
TSo gemass betrachteten sie die reden.' The meaning that I have 
given is substantially the same. The term ' words ' occasions a 
difficulty. I understand it here, with most of the critics, as ^^ 
j£ ^ =|r , ' the words of appellation.' 

X 2 

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world 1 was correctly assigned ; if we look in the 
same light at the distinctions which they instituted, 
(we see that) the separation of ruler and ministers 
was right ; if we look at the abilities which they 
called forth in the same light, (we see that the 
duties of) all the offices were well performed ; and 
if we look generally in the same way at all things, 
(we see that) their response (to this rule) was com- 
plete 2 . Therefore that which pervades (the action 
of) Heaven and Earth is (this one) attribute ; that 
which operates in all things is (this one) course ; 
that by which their superiors govern the people is 
the business (of the various departments) ; and that 
by which aptitude is given to ability is skill. The 
skill was manifested in all the (departments of) 
business ; those departments were all administered 
in righteousness ; the righteousness was (the outflow 
of) the natural virtue ; the virtue was manifested 
according to the Tao; and the Tao was according 
to (the pattern of) Heaven. 

Hence it is said 3 , 'The ancients who had the 
nourishment of the world wished for nothing and 
the world had enough ; they did nothing and all 
things were transformed ; their stillness was abysmal, 
and the people were all composed.' The Record 
says 4 , ' When the one (Tio) pervades it, all business 

1 Meaning, probably, his appellation as Thien 3ze, ' the Son of 

2 That is, 'they responded to the Tao,' without any constraint 
but the example of their rulers. 

s Here there would seem to be a quotation which I have not 
been able to trace to its source. 

4 This ' Record ' is attributed to Lao-jze ; but we know nothing 
of it. In illustration of the sentiment in the sentence, the critics 

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is completed. When the mind gets to be free from 
all aim, even the Spirits submit.' 

2. The Master said 1 , 'It is the Tao that over- 
spreads and sustains all things. How great It is in 
Its overflowing influence ! The Superior man ought 
by all means to remove from his mind (all that is con- 
trary to It). Acting without action is what is called 
Heaven(-like). Speech coming forth of itself is 
what is called (a mark of) the (true) Virtue. Loving 
men and benefiting things is what is called Benevo- 
lence. Seeing wherein things that are different yet 
agree is what is called being Great. Conduct free 
from the ambition of being distinguished above 
others is what is called being Generous. The pos- 
session in himself of a myriad points of difference 
is what is called being Rich. Therefore to hold 
fast the natural attributes is what is called the 
Guiding Line (of government) 2 ; the perfecting of 
those attributes is what is called its Establishment ; 
accordance with the Tao is what is called being 
Complete; and not allowing anything external to 
affect the will is what is called being Perfect. When 
the Superior man understands these ten things, 
he keeps all matters as it were sheathed in himself, 
showing the greatness of his mind; and through 
the outflow of his doings, all things move (and come 
to him). Being such, he lets the gold lie hid in the 
hill, and the pearls in the deep ; he considers not 

refer to par. 34 in the fourth Appendix to the Yi King ; but it is 
not to the point. 

1 Who is ' the Master ' here ? Confucius ? or Lao-jze ? I think 
the latter, though sometimes even our author thus denominates 
Confucius ; — see par. 9. 

2 ? the Tao. 

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property or money to be any gain ; he keeps aloof 
from riches and honours ; he rejoices not in long life, 
and grieves not for early death ; he does not account 
prosperity a glory, nor is ashamed of indigence ; he 
would not grasp at the gain of the whole world 
to be held as his own private portion ; he would 
not desire to rule over the whole world as his own 
private distinction. His distinction is in under- 
standing that all things belong to the one treasury, 
and that death and life should be viewed in the 
same way 1 .' 

3. The Master said, ' How still and deep is the 
place where the Tao resides! How limpid is its 
purity! Metal and stone without It would give 
forth no sound. They have indeed the (power of) 
sound (in them), but if they be not struck, they do 
not emit it. Who can determine (the qualities that 
are in) all things ? 

' The man of kingly qualities holds on his way 
unoccupied, and is ashamed to busy himself with 
(the conduct of) affairs. He establishes himself in 
(what is) the root and source (of his capacity), and 
his wisdom grows to be spirit-like. In this way his 
attributes become more and more great, and when 
his mind goes forth, whatever things come in his 
way, it lays hold of them (and deals with them). 
Thus, if there were not the Tao, the bodily form 
would not have life, and its life, without the attri- 
butes (of the Tao), would not be manifested. Is 
not he who preserves the body and gives the fullest 
development to the life, who establishes the attri- 

1 Balfour : — ' The difference between life and death exists no 
more ; ' Gabelentz : — ' Sterben und Leben haben gleiche Ersch- 

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butes of the Tao and clearly displays It, possessed 
of kingly qualities ? How majestic is he in his 
sudden issuings forth, and in his unexpected move- 
ments, when all things follow him ! — This we call 
the man whose qualities fit him to rule. 

' He sees where there is the deepest obscurity ; he 
hears where there is no sound. In the midst of the 
deepest obscurity, he alone sees and can distinguish 
(various objects) ; in the midst of a soundless 
(abyss), he alone can hear a harmony (of notes). 
Therefore where one deep is succeeded by a greater, 
he can people all with things ; where one mysterious 
range is followed by another that is more so, he 
can lay hold of the subtlest character of each. In 
this way in his intercourse with all things, while he 
is farthest from having anything, he can yet give 
to them what they seek ; while he is always hurrying 
forth, he yet returns to his resting-place ; now large, 
now small ; now long, now short ; now distant, now 
near V 

4. Hwang-Tl, enjoying himself on the north of 
the Red-water, ascended to the height of the 
Khwan-lun (mountain), and having looked towards 
the south, was returning home, when he lost his 
dark-coloured pearl 2 . He employed Wisdom to 
search for it, but he could not find it. He employed 
(the clear-sighted) Li A'u to search for it, but he 

1 I can hardly follow the reasoning of Awang-jze here. The whole 
of the paragraph is obscure. I have translated the two concluding 
characters jj|y jo, as if they were is iff, after the example of Lin 
Hsf-yf, whose edition of ^Twang-jze was first published in 1261. 

2 Meaning the Tao. This is not to be got or learned by 
wisdom, or perspicacity, or man's reasoning. It is instinctive to 
man, as the Heavenly gift or Truth (^^ ja) . 

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3 I 2 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. xh. 

could not find it. He employed (the vehement 
debater) A^ieh Kkku 1 to search for it, but he could 
not find it. He then employed Purposeless 1 , who 
found it ; on which Hwang-Ti said, ' How strange 
that it was Purposeless who was able to find it ! ' 

5. The teacher of Yao was Hsu Yu 2 ; of Hsu 
Yu, Nieh KAueh 2 ; of Nieh KMeh, Wang t 2 ; of 
Wang 1, Phei-1 2 . Yao asked Hsu Yu, saying, ' Is 
Nieh A^iieh fit to be the correlate of Heaven 3 ? 
(If you think he is), I will avail myself of the 
services of Wang 1 to constrain him (to take my 
place).' Hsu Yu replied, 'Such a measure would 
be hazardous, and full of peril to the kingdom ! 
The character of Nieh A^ueh is this; — he is acute, 
perspicacious, shrewd and knowing, ready in reply, 
sharp in retort, and hasty ; his natural (endowments) 
surpass those of other men, but by his human 
qualities he seeks to obtain the Heavenly gift ; 
he exercises his discrimination in suppressing his 
errors, but he does not know what is the source 
from which his errors arise. Make him the corre- 
late of Heaven! He would employ the human 
qualities, so that no regard would be paid to the 
Heavenly gift. Moreover, he would assign different 
functions to the different parts of the one person 4 . 

1 The meaning of the characters shows what is the idea emblemed 
by this name ; and so with Hsiang Wang, — ' a Semblance,' and 
' Nonentity ; '=' Mindless,' ' Purposeless.' 

2 All these names have occurred, excepting that of Phei-f, who 
heads Hwang-fu Mi's list of eminent Taoists. We shall meet with 
him again. He is to be distinguished from Phu-i. 

3 ' Match Heaven ; ' that is, be sovereign below, as Heaven 
above ruled all. 

4 We are referred for the meaning of this characteristic to jj^ B|| 
%*M> inBk.V,par. 1. 

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Moreover, honour would be given to knowledge, 
and he would have his plans take effect with the 
speed of fire. Moreover, he would be the slave of 
everything he initiated. Moreover, he would be 
embarrassed by things. Moreover, he would be 
looking all round for the response of things (to his 
measures). Moreover, he would be responding to 
the opinion of the multitude as to what was right. 
Moreover, he would be changing as things changed, 
and would not begin to have any principle of con- 
stancy. How can such a man be fit to be the 
correlate of Heaven ? Nevertheless, as there are 
the smaller branches of a family and the common 
ancestor of all its branches, he might be the father 
of a branch, but not the father of the fathers of all 
the branches ] . Such government (as he would 
conduct) would lead to disorder. It would be 
calamity in one in the position of a minister, and 
ruin if he were in the position of the sovereign.' 

6. Yao was looking about him at Hwa 2 , the 
border-warden of which said, 'Ha! the sage ! Let 
me ask blessings on the sage ! May he live long ! ' 

1 That is, Nieh might be a minister, but could not be the 
sovereign. The phraseology is based on the rules for the rise of 
sub-surnames in the same clan, and the consequent division of 
clans under different ancestors ; — see the Li K\, Bk. XIII, i, 10-14, 
and XIV, 8. 

2 'Hwa' is evidently intended for the name of a place, but 
where it was can hardly be determined. The genuineness of the 
whole paragraph is called in question; and I pass it by, merely 
calling attention to what the border-warden is made to say about 
the close of the life of the sage (Taoist), who after living a thousand 
years, ascends among the Immortals (-^ = f{ij), and arrives at 
the place of God, and is free from the three evils of disease, old 
age, and death ; or as some say, after the Buddhists, water, fire, and 

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Yao said, ' Hush ! ' but the other went on, ' May the 
sage become rich ! ' Yao (again) said, ' Hush ! ' but 
(the warden) continued, ' May the sage have many 
sons ! ' When Yao repeated his ' Hush,' the warden 
said, ' Long life, riches, and many sons are what men 
wish for ; — how is it that you alone do not wish for 
them ? ' Yao replied, ' Many sons bring many fears ; 
riches bring many troubles; and long life gives 
rise to many obloquies. These three things do not 
help to nourish virtue ; and therefore I wish to 
decline them.' The warden rejoined, ' At first I 
considered you to be a sage ; now I see in you only 
a Superior man. Heaven, in producing the myriads 
of the people, is sure to have appointed for them 
their several offices. If you had many sons, and 
gave them (all their) offices, what would you have 
to fear ? If you had riches, and made other men 
share them with you, what trouble would you have ? 
The sage finds his dwelling like the quail (without 
any choice of its own), and is fed like the fledgling ; 
he is like the bird which passes on (through the 
air), and leaves no trace (of its flight). When good 
order prevails in the world, he shares in the general 
prosperity. When there is no such order, he culti- 
vates his virtue, and seeks to be unoccupied. After 
a thousand years, tired of the world, he leaves it, 
and ascends among the immortals. He mounts on 
the white clouds, and arrives at the place of God. 
The three forms of evil do not reach him, his 
person is always free from misfortune ; — what 
obloquy has he to incur ? ' 

With this the border-warden left him. Yao fol- 
lowed him, saying, ' I beg to ask — ; ' but the other 
said, ' Begone ! ' 

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7. When Yao was ruling the world, Po-Mang j$ze- 
kio * was appointed by him prince of one of the 
states. From Yao (afterwards) the throne passed to 
Shun, and from Shun (again) to Yii ; and (then) Po- 
kkaxig 3 z e~kao resigned his principality and began 
to cultivate the ground. Yli went to see him, and 
found him ploughing in the open country. Hurry- 
ing to him, and bowing low in acknowledgment of 
his superiority, Yii then stood up, and asked him, 
saying, ' Formerly, when Yao was ruling the world, 
you, Sir, were appointed prince of a state. He 
gave his sovereignty to Shun, and Shun gave his to 
me, when you, Sir, resigned your dignity, and are 
(now) ploughing (here) ; — I venture to ask the rea- 
son of your conduct.' 3 ze- kao said, 'When Yao 
ruled the world, the people stimulated one another 
(to what was right) without his offering them re- 
wards, and stood in awe (of doing wrong) without 
his threatening them with punishments. Now you 
employ both rewards and punishments, and the 
people notwithstanding are not good. Their virtue 
will from this time decay ; punishments will from this 
time prevail ; the disorder of future ages will from 
this time begin. Why do you, my master, not go 
away, and not interrupt my work ? ' With this he 
resumed his ploughing with his head bent down, and 
did not (again) look round. 

8. In the Grand Beginning (of all things) there 
was nothing in all the vacancy of space ; there was 
nothing that could be named 2 . It was in this state 

1 Some legends say that this Po-^ang 3ze-k£o was a pre-incar- 
nation of Lao-jze ; but this paragraph is like the last, and cannot 
be received as genuine. 

2 This sentence is differently understood, according as it is 

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that there arose the first existence 1 ; — the first exis- 
tence, but still without bodily shape. From this 
things could then be produced, (receiving) what we 
call their proper character 2 . That which had no 
bodily shape was divided 3 ; and then without inter- 
mission there was what we call the process of con- 
ferring 4 . (The two processes) continuing in opera- 
tion, things were produced. As things were com- 
pleted, there were produced the distinguishing lines 
of each, which we call the bodily shape. That shape 
was the body preserving in it the spirit 5 , and each 
had its peculiar manifestation, which we call its 
Nature. When the Nature has been cultivated, it 
returns to its proper character ; and when that has 
been fully reached, there is the same condition as at 
the Beginning. That sameness is pure vacancy, 
and the vacancy is great. It is like the closing of 
the beak and silencing the singing (of a bird). That 
closing and silencing is like the union of heaven and 
earth (at the beginning) 6 . The union, effected, as it 

punctuated;-^ M M, ~% M %> OT ^ M> M ^ M 

£f. Each punctuation has its advocates. For myself, I can only 
adopt the former; the other is contrary to my idea of Chinese 
composition. If the author had wished to be understood so, he 
would have written differently, as, for instance, ^E ^ ^ ^. 

1 Probably, the primary ether, what is called the Thai A'ih. 

2 This sentence is anticipatory. 

3 Into what we call the yin and the yang; — the same ether, 
now at rest, now in motion. 

4 The conferring of something more than what was material. 
By whom or what? By Heaven; the Taoist understanding by 
that term the TSo. 

8 So then, man consists of the material body and the immaterial 

8 The potential heaven and earth, not yet fashioned from the 
primal ether. 

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is, might seem to indicate stupidity or darkness, but 
it is what we call the ' mysterious quality' (existing 
at the beginning) ; it is the same as the Grand Sub- 
mission (to the Natural Course). 

9. The Master l asked Lao Tan, saying, ' Some 
men regulate the Tao (as by a law), which they have 
only to follow ; — (a thing, they say,) is admissible or 
it is inadmissible ; it is so, or it is not so. (They 
are like) the sophists who say that they can dis- 
tinguish what is hard and what is white as clearly 
as if the objects were houses suspended in the sky. 
Can such men be said to be sages 2 ?' The reply was, 
' They are like the busy underlings of a court, who 
toil their bodies and distress their minds with their 
various artifices ; — dogs, (employed) to their sorrow 
to catch the yak, or monkeys 3 that are brought 
from their forests (for their tricksiness). K&ib, I 
tell you this ; — it is what you cannot hear, and what 
you cannot speak of: — Of those who have their 
heads and feet, and yet have neither minds nor ears, 
there are multitudes ; while of those who have their 
bodies, and at the same time preserve that which 
has no bodily form or shape, there are really none. 
It is not in their movements or stoppages, their 
dying or living, their falling and rising again, that 
this is to be found. The regulation of the course 
lies in (their dealing with) the human element in 
them. When they have forgotten external things, 

1 This ' Master ' is without doubt Confucius. 

* The meaning and point of Confucius's question are not clear. 
Did he mean to object to L&o-jze that all his disquisitions about 
the Tio as the one thing to be studied and followed were 
unnecessary ? 

3 Compare in Bk. VII, par. 4. 

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3*8 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. xii. 

and have also forgotten the heavenly element in 
them, they may be named men who have forgotten 
themselves. The man who has forgotten himself is 
he of whom it is said that he has become identified 
with Heaven 1 .' 

10. At an interview with K\ Kkth. 2 , TsTiang-lu 
Mien 2 said to him, 'Our ruler of Lu asked to receive 
my instructions. I declined, on the ground that I 
had not received any message 3 for him. After- 
wards, however, I told him (my thoughts). I do not 
know whether (what I said) was right or not, and I 
beg to repeat it to you. I said to him, " You must 
strive to be courteous and to exercise self-restraint ; 
you must distinguish the public-spirited and loyal, 
and repress the cringing and selfish ; — who among 
the people will in that case dare not to be in har- 
mony with you ? " ' KS. Kk&h. laughed quietly and 
said, ' Your words, my master, as a description of the 
right course for a Ti or King, were like the threaten- 
ing movement of its arms by a mantis which would 
thereby stop the advance of a carriage ; — inadequate 
to accomplish your object. And moreover, if he 
guided himself by your directions, it would be as if he 
were to increase the dangerous height of his towers 

1 Their action is like that of Heaven, silent but most effective, 
without motive from within or without, simply from the impulse of 
the Tao. 

2 These two men are only known by the mention of them here. 
They must have been officers of Lu, K\ Kh&h a member of 
the great K\ or At-sun family of that state. He would appear 
also to have been the teacher of the other ; if, indeed, they were 
real personages, and not merely the production of .ffwang-jze's 

3 That is any lessons or instructions from you, my master, 
which I should communicate to him. 

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and add to the number of his valuables collected in 
them ; — the multitudes (of the people) would leave 
their (old) ways, and bend their steps in the same 

A'iang-lii Mien was awe-struck, and said in his 
fright, ' I am startled by your words, Master, never- 
theless, I should like to hear you describe the in- 
fluence (which a ruler should exert).' The other 
said, ' If a great sage ruled the kingdom, he would 
stimulate the minds of the people, and cause them to 
carry out his instructions fully, and change their 
manners ; he would take their minds which had be- 
come evil and violent and extinguish them, carrying 
them all forward to act in accordance with the 
(good) will belonging to them as individuals, as if 
they did it of themselves from their nature, while 
they knew not what it was that made them do 
so. Would such an one be willing to look up to Yao 
and Shun in their instruction of the people as his 
elder brothers ? He would treat them as his juniors, 
belonging himself to the period of the original plas- 
tic ether 1 . His wish would be that all should 
agree with the virtue (of that early period), and 
quietly rest in it.' 

1 1 . 3 ze_ kung had been rambling in the south in 
Khb, and was returning to 3 m - As he passed (a 
place) on the north of the Han, he saw an old man 
who was going to work on his vegetable garden. 
He had dug his channels, gone to the well, and was 
bringing from it in his arms a jar of water to pour 
into them. Toiling away, he expended a great deal 

1 The Chinese phrase here is explained by Dr. Williams : — 
' A vivifying influence, a vapour or aura producing things.' 

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of strength, but the result which he accomplished 
was very small. 3 ze_ k un g sa id to him, ' There is a 
contrivance here, by means of which a hundred 
plots of ground may be irrigated in one day. With 
the expenditure of a very little strength, the result 
accomplished is great. Would you, Master, not like 
(to try it) ? ' The gardener looked up at him, and 
said, ' How does it work ? ' 3 ze "k un g' sa id, 'It 1S a 
lever made of wood, heavy behind, and light in 
front. It raises the water as quickly as you could do 
with your hand, or as it bubbles over from a boiler. 
Its name is a shadoof.' The gardener put on an 
angry look, laughed, and said, ' I have heard from 
my teacher that, where there are ingenious contri- 
vances, there are sure to be subtle doings ; and that, 
where there are subtle doings, there is sure to be a 
scheming mind. But, when there is a scheming mind 
in the breast, its pure simplicity is impaired. When 
this pure simplicity is impaired, the spirit becomes 
unsettled, and the unsettled spirit is not the proper 
residence of the Tao. It is not that I do not know 
(the contrivance which you mention), but I should be 
ashamed to use it.' 

(At these words) 3 ze ~kung looked blank and 
ashamed ; he hung down his head, and made no 
reply. After an interval, the gardener said to him, 
' Who are you, Sir ? ' 'A disciple of Khung K/nu,' 
was the reply. The other continued, ' Are you not 
the scholar whose great learning makes you com- 
parable to a sage, who make it your boast that you 
surpass all others, who sing melancholy ditties all 
by yourself, thus purchasing a famous reputation 
throughout the kingdom ? If you would (only) for- 
get the energy of your spirit, and neglect the care of 

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your body, you might approximate (to the Tao). 
But while you cannot regulate yourself, what leisure 
have you to be regulating the world ? Go on your 
way, Sir, and do not interrupt my work.' 

3ze-kung shrunk back abashed, and turned pale. 
He was perturbed, and lost his self-possession, nor did 
he recover it, till he had walked a distance of thirty 
11. His disciples then said, ' Who was that man ? 
Why, Master, when you saw him, did you change 
your bearing, and become pale, so that you have 
been all day without returning to yourself ? ' He 
replied to them, ' Formerly I thought that there was 
but one man J in the world, and did not know that 
there was this man. I have heard the Master say 
that to seek for the means of conducting his under- 
takings so that his success in carrying them out may 
be complete, and how by the employment of a little 
strength great results may be obtained, is the way 
of the sage. Now (I perceive that) it is not so at 
all. They who hold fast and cleave to the Tao 
are complete in the qualities belonging to it. Com- 
plete in those qualities, they are complete in their 
bodies. Complete in their bodies, they are com- 
plete in their spirits. To be complete in spirit is 
the way of the sage. (Such men) live in the world 
in closest union with the people, going along with 
them, but they do not know where they are going. 
Vast and complete is their simplicity ! Success, 
gain, and ingenious contrivances, and artful clever- 
ness, indicate (in their opinion) a forgetfulness of the 
(proper) mind of man. These men will not go 
where their mind does not carry them, and will do 

1 Confucius. 
[39] Y 

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322 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. xii. 

nothing of which their mind does not approve. 
Though all the world should praise them, 
they would (only) get what they think should 
be loftily disregarded ; and though all the world 
should blame them, they would but lose (what they 
think) fortuitous and not to be received ; — the 
world's blame and praise can do them neither benefit 
nor injury. Such men may be described as possess- 
ing all the attributes (of the T ao), while I can only be 
called one of those who are like the waves carried 
about by the wind.' When he returned to Lu, (3ze- 
kung) reported the interview and conversation to 
Confucius, who said, ' The man makes a pretence of 
cultivating the arts of the Embryonic Age 1 . He 
knows the first thing, but not the sequel to it. He 
regulates what is internal in himself, but not what is 
external to himself. If he had intelligence enough 
to be entirely unsophisticated, and by doing nothing 
to seek to return to the normal simplicity, embody- 
ing (the instincts of) his nature, and keeping his 
spirit (as it were) in his arms, so enjoying himself in 
the common ways, you might then indeed be afraid 
of him ! But what should you and I find in the arts 
of the embryonic time, worth our knowing?' 

12. Kun Ming 2 , on his way to the ocean, met with 
Yuan Fung 2 on the shore of the eastern sea, and 

1 The ' arts of the Embryonic Age' suggests the idea of the 
earliest men in their struggles for support; not the Tao of Heaven 
in its formation of the universe. But the whole of the paragraph, 
not in itself uninteresting, is believed to be a spurious introduction, 
and not the production of .ffwang-jze. 

2 These are not names of men, but like Yun Jfiang and Hung 
Mung in the fifth paragraph of the last Book. By A!un MSng, it 
is said, we are to understand ' the great primal ether,' and by Yuan 

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was asked by him where he was going. ' I am 
going,' he replied, ' to the ocean ; ' and the other 
again asked, ' What for ? ' Kun Mang said, ' Such 
is the nature of the ocean that the waters which 
flow into it can never fill it, nor those which flow 
from it exhaust it. I will enjoy myself, rambling by 
it.' Yuan Fung replied, ' Have you no thoughts 
about mankind * ? I should like to hear from you 
about sagely government.' A!un Mang said, ' Under 
the government of sages, all offices are distributed 
according to the fitness of their nature ; all appoint- 
ments are made according to the ability of the men ; 
whatever is done is after a complete survey of all 
circumstances ; actions and words proceed from the 
inner impulse, and the whole world is transformed. 
Wherever their hands are pointed and their looks 
directed, from all quarters the people are all sure to 
come (to do what they desire) : — this is what is 
called government by sages.' 

' I should like to hear about (the government of) 
the kindly, virtuous men V (continued Yuan Fung). 
The reply was, ' Under the government of the vir- 
tuous, when quietly occupying (their place), they 
have no thought, and, when they act, they have no 
anxiety; they do not keep stored (in their minds) 
what is right and what is wrong, what is good and 

Fung, ' the east wind.' Why these should discourse together as 
they are here made to do, only A!wang-jze himself could tell. 

1 Literally, ' men with their cross eyes ;' an appellation for man- 
kind, men having their eyes set across their face more on the same 
plane than other animals ; — ' an extraordinary application of the 
characters,' says Lin Hsi-£ung. 

2 The text is simply ' virtuous men ; ' but the reply justifies us 
in giving the meaning as ' kindly ' as well, ^ra has often this 

Y 2 

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what is bad. They share their benefits among all 
within the four seas, and this produces what is called 
(the state of) satisfaction ; they dispense their gifts 
to all, and this produces what is called (the state of) 
rest. (The people) grieve (on their death) like 
babies who have lost their mothers, and are per- 
plexed like travellers who have lost their way. 
They have a superabundance of wealth and all 
necessaries, and they know not whence it comes ; 
they have a sufficiency of food and drink, and they 
know not from whom they get it : — such are the 
appearances (under the government) of the kindly 
and virtuous.' 

' I should like to hear about (the government of) the 
spirit-like men,' (continued Yiian Fung once more). 

The reply was, ' Men of the highest spirit-like 
qualities mount up on the light, and (the limitations 
of) the body vanish. This we call being bright and 
ethereal. They carry out to the utmost the powers 
with which they are endowed, and have not a single 
attribute unexhausted. Their joy is that of heaven 
and earth, and all embarrassments of affairs melt 
away and disappear ; all things return to their 
proper nature : — and this is what is called (the state 
of) chaotic obscurity 1 .' 

13. Man Wti-kwei 2 and K/tih-tang Man-Mi 2 had 
been looking at the army of king Wfi, when the 
latter said, ' It is because he was not born in the 
time of the Lord of Yli 3 , that therefore he is in- 

1 When no human element had come in to mar the development 
of the Tao. 

2 If these be the names of real personages, they must have been 
of the time of king Wu, about b. c. 1122. 

3 Generally understood to mean ' He is not equal to the Lord of 

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volved in this trouble (of war).' Man Wu-kwei 
replied, 'Was it when the kingdom was in good 
order, that the Lord of Yti governed it ? or was it 
after it had become disordered that he governed 
it ? ' The other said, ' That the kingdom be in a 
condition of good order, is what (all) desire, and (in 
that case) what necessity would there be to say any- 
thing about the Lord of Yii ? He had medicine for 
sores ; false hair for the bald ; and healing for those 
who were ill : — he was like the filial son carrying in 
the medicine to cure his kind father, with every sign 
of distress in his countenance. A sage would be 
ashamed (of such a thing) '. 

' In the age of perfect virtue they attached no 
value to wisdom, nor employed men of ability. 
Superiors were (but) as the higher branches of a tree ; 
and the people were like the deer of the wild. They 
were upright and correct, without knowing that to 
be so was Righteousness ; they loved one another, 
without knowing that to do so was Benevolence ; 
they were honest and leal-hearted, without knowing 
that it was Loyalty; they fulfilled their engage- 
ments, without knowing that to do so was Good 
Faith ; in their simple movements they employed 
the services of one another, without thinking that 
they were conferring or receiving any gift. There- 
fore their actions left no trace, and there was no 
record of their affairs.' 

14. The filial son who does not flatter his father, 

Yii,' or Shun. The meaning which I have given is that propounded 
by Hu Wan-ying, and seems to agree better with the general pur- 
port of the paragraph. 

1 Ashamed that he had not been able to keep his father from 
getting sick, and requiring to be thus attended to. 

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and the loyal minister who does not fawn on his 
ruler, are the highest examples of a minister and a 
son. When a son assents to all that his father says, 
and approves of all that his father does, common 
opinion pronounces him an unworthy son ; when a 
minister assents to all that his ruler says, and ap- 
proves of all that his ruler does, common opinion 
pronounces him an unworthy minister. Nor does 
any one reflect that this view is necessarily correct 1 . 
But when common opinion (itself) affirms anything 
and men therefore assent to it, or counts anything 
good and men also approve of it, then it is not said 
that they are mere consenters and flatterers; — is 
common opinion then more authoritative than a 
father, or more to be honoured than a ruler ? Tell 
a man that he is merely following (the opinions) of 
another, or that he is a flatterer of others, and at 
once he flushes with anger. And yet all his life he 
is merely following others, and flattering them. His 
illustrations are made to agree with theirs ; his phrases 
are glossed : — to win the approbation of the multi- 
tudes. From first to last, from beginning to end, he 
finds no fault with their views. He will let his robes 
hang down 2 , display the colours on them, and arrange 
his movements and bearing, so as to win the favour 
of his age, and yet not call himself a flatterer. He 
is but a follower of those others, approving and dis- 

1 We can hardly tell whether this paragraph should be under- 
stood as a continuation of -Oih-^ang's remarks, or as from .ffwang- 
jze himself. The meaning here is that every one feels that this 
opinion is right, without pausing to reason about it. 

2 See the Yt King, Appendix III, ii, 15, where this letting his 
robes hang down is attributed to Shun. Ought we to infer from 
this that in this paragraph we have still speaking about 
and against the common opinion of Shun's superiority to king Wu ? 

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approving as they do, and yet he will not say that 
he is one of them. This is the height of stupidity. 

He who knows his stupidity is not very stupid ; 
he who knows that he is under a delusion is not 
greatly deluded. He who is greatly deluded will 
never shake the delusion off; he who is very stupid 
will all his life not become intelligent. If three men 
be walking together, and (only) one of them be 
under a delusion (as to their way), they may yet 
reach their goal, the deluded being the fewer ; but 
if two of them be under the delusion, they will not 
do so, the deluded being the majority. At the pre- 
sent time, when the whole world is under a delusion, 
though I pray men to go in the right direction, I 
cannot make them do so ; — is it not a sad case ? 

Grand music does not penetrate the ears of vil- 
lagers ; but if they hear ' The Breaking of the Wil- 
low,' or ' The Bright Flowers V they will roar with 
laughter. So it is that lofty words do not remain in 
the minds of the multitude, and that perfect words 
are not heard, because the vulgar words predomi- 
nate. By two earthenware instruments the (music of) 
a bell will be confused, and the pleasure that it would 
afford cannot be obtained. At the present time the 
whole world is under a delusion, and though I wish 
to go in a certain direction, how can I succeed in 
doing so ? Knowing that I cannot do so, if I were 
to try to force my way, that would be another de- 
lusion. Therefore my best course is to let my pur- 
pose go, and no more pursue it. If I do not pursue 
it, whom shall I have to share in my sorrow 2 ? 

1 The names of two songs, favourites with the common people. 

2 I shall only feel the more that I am alone without any to sym- 
pathise with me, and be the more sad. 

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If an ugly man 1 have a son born to him at mid- 
night, he hastens with a light to look at it. Very 
eagerly he does so, only afraid that it may be like 

1 5 2 . From a tree a hundred years old a portion 
shall be cut and fashioned into a sacrificial vase, 
with the bull figured on it, which is ornamented 
further with green and yellow, while the rest (of 
that portion) is cut away and thrown into a ditch. 
If now we compare the sacrificial vase with what 
was thrown into the ditch, there will be a difference 
between them as respects their beauty and ugliness ; 
but they both agree in having lost the (proper) 
nature of the wood. So in respect of their practice 
of righteousness there is a difference between (the 
robber) A"ih on the one hand, and Sang (Shan) or 
Shih (3hiu) on the other ; but they all agree in 
having lost (the proper qualities of) their nature. 

Now there are five things which produce (in men) 
the loss of their (proper) nature. The first is (their 
fondness for) the five colours which disorder the 
eye, and take from it its (proper) clearness of vision ; 
the second is (their fondness for) the five notes (of 
music), which disorder the ear and take from it its 

|j§| ^ should perhaps be translated ' a leper.' The illustra- 
tion is edited by -ffiao Hung and others as a paragraph by itself. 
They cannot tell whether it be intended to end the paragraph that 
precedes or to introduce the one that follows. 

2 This paragraph must be our author's own. Kh\h-kax\g, of the 
time of king Wu, could not be criticising the schemes of life pro- 
pounded by Mo and Yang, whose views were so much later in 
time. It breathes the animosity of Lao and ^Twang against all 
schemes of learning and culture, as contrary to the simplicity of 
life according to the Tao. 

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(proper) power of hearing ; the third is (their fond- 
ness for) the five odours which penetrate the nos- 
trils, and produce a feeling of distress all over the 
forehead ; the fourth is (their fondness for) the five 
flavours, which deaden the mouth, and pervert its 
sense of taste ; the fifth is their preferences and 
dislikes, which unsettle the mind, and cause the 
nature to go flying about. These five things are all 
injurious to the life ; and now Yang and Mo begin 
to stretch forward from their different standpoints, 
each thinking that he has hit on (the proper course 
for men). 

But the courses they have hit on are not what I 
call the proper course. What they have hit on (only) 
leads to distress ; — can they have hit on what is 
the right thing ? If they have, we may say that the 
dove in a cage has found the right thing for it. 
Moreover, those preferences and dislikes, that (fond- 
ness for) music and colours, serve but to pile up fuel 
(in their breasts) ; while their caps of leather, the 
bonnet with kingfishers' plumes, the memorandum 
tablets which they carry, and their long girdles, 
serve but as restraints on their persons. Thus in- 
wardly stuffed full as a hole for fuel, and outwardly 
fast bound with cords, when they look quietly round 
from out of their bondage, and think they have got 
all they could desire, they are no better than criminals 
whose arms are tied together, and their fingers sub- 
jected to the screw, or than tigers and leopards in 
sacks or cages, and yet thinking that they have got 
(all they could wish). 

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Part II. Section VI. 

Thien Tao, or ' The Way of Heaven 1 .' 

i. The Way of Heaven operates (unceasingly), 
and leaves no accumulation 2 (of its influence) in any 
particular place, so that all things are brought to 
perfection by it; so does the Way of the Tis 
operate, and all under the sky turn to them (as their 
directors) ; so also does the Way of the Sages 
operate, and all within the seas submit to them. 
Those who clearly understand (the Way of) Heaven, 
who are in sympathy with (that of) the sages, and 
familiar through the universe and in the four quarters 
(of the earth) with the work of the T!s and the kings, 
yet act spontaneously from themselves : — with the 
appearance of being ignorant they are yet entirely 

The stillness of the sages does not belong to them 
as a consequence of their skilful ability 3 ; all things 
are not able to disturb their minds ; — it is on this 
account that they are still. When water is still, its 
clearness shows the beard and eyebrows (of him 

1 See pp. 144, 145. 

2 That is, its operation is universal. The Chinese critics gene- 
rally explain ' accumulation ' here by ' rest,' which is not quite the 

3 Such is the meaning here of the aS, as in the Tao Teh 
■ATing, chaps. 2, 8, and often. 

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who looks into it). It is a perfect Level 1 , and the 
greatest artificer takes his rule from it. Such is the 
clearness of still water, and how much greater is that 
of the human Spirit! The still mind of the sage 
is the mirror of heaven and earth, the glass of all 

Vacancy, stillness, placidity, tastelessness, quietude, 
silence, and non-action ; — this is the Level of heaven 
and earth, and the perfection of the Tao and its 
characteristics 2 . Therefore theTls, Kings, and Sages 
found in this their resting-place 3 . Resting here, 
they were vacant ; from their vacancy came fullness ; 
from their fullness came the nice distinctions (of 
things). From their vacancy came stillness ; that 
stillness was followed by movement ; their move- 
ments were successful. From their stillness came 
their non-action. Doing-nothing, they devolved the 
cares of office on their employes. Doing-nothing was 
accompanied by the feeling of satisfaction. Where 
there is that feeling of satisfaction, anxieties and 
troubles find no place ; and the years of life are 

Vacancy, stillness, placidity, tastelessness, quietude, 
silence, and doing-nothing are the root of all things. 
When this is understood, we find such a ruler on the 
throne as Yao, and such a minister as Shun. When 
with this a high position is occupied, we find the attri- 
butes of the Tls and kings, — the sons of Heaven ; 
with this in a low position, we find the mysterious 

V|b here, is contracted in many editions into ^Jg, which some 
have mistaken for ^^. 
2 Such are the natural characteristics of the Taoistic mind. 
8 Implying cessation from all thought and purpose. 

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sages, the uncrowned kings, with their ways. With this 
retiring (from public life), and enjoying themselves 
at leisure, we find the scholars who dwell by the 
rivers and seas, among the hills and forests, all sub- 
missive to it ; with this coming forward to active life 
and comforting their age, their merit is great, and 
their fame is distinguished ; — and all the world 
becomes united in one. 

2. (Such men) by their stillness become sages ; 
and by their movement, kings. Doing-nothing, they 
are honoured ; in their plain simplicity, no one in the 
world can strive with them (for the palm of) excel- 
lence. The clear understanding of the virtue of 
Heaven and Earth is what is called 'The Great 
Root,' and ' The Great Origin ; ' — they who have it 
are in harmony with Heaven, and so they produce 
all equable arrangements in the world ; — they are 
those who are in harmony with men. Being in 
harmony with men is called the Joy of men ; being 
in harmony with Heaven is called the Joy of Heaven, 
isfwang-jze said, ' My Master ! my Master ! He 
shall hash and blend all things in mass without being 
cruel ; he shall dispense his favours to all ages with- 
out being benevolent. He is older than the highest 
antiquity, and yet is not old. He overspreads the 
heavens and sustains the earth ; from him is the 
carving of all forms without any artful skill 1 ! This 
is what is called the Joy of Heaven. Hence it is 
said, " Those who know the Joy of Heaven during 
their life, act like Heaven, and at death undergo 
transformation like (other) things 2 ; in their stillness 

1 Compare in Bk.VI, pars. 13 and 7. 

2 They do not cease to be, but only become transformed or 
c hanged. 

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they possess the quality of the Yin, and in their 
movement they flow abroad as the Yang. There- 
fore he who knows the Joy of Heaven has no mur- 
muring against Heaven, nor any fault-finding with 
men; and suffers no embarrassment from things, nor 
any reproof from ghosts. Hence it is said, ' His 
movements are those of Heaven ; his stillness is 
that of Earth ; his whole mind is fixed, and he rules 
over the world. The spirits of his dead do not come 
to scare him ; he is not worn out by their souls. 
His words proceeding from his vacancy and stillness, 
yet reach to heaven and earth, and show a communi- 
cation with all things : — this is what is called the Joy 
of Heaven. This Joy of Heaven forms the mind of 
the sage whereby he nurtures all under the sky V " ' 

3. It was the Way 2 of the Tls and Kings to 
regard Heaven and Earth as their Author, the Tao 
and its characteristics as their Lord, and Doing- 
nothing as their constant rule. Doing-nothing, they 
could use the whole world in their service and might 
have done more ; acting, they were not sufficient for 
the service required of them by the world. Hence 
the men of old held non-inaction in honour. When 
superiors do nothing and their inferiors also do 
nothing, inferiors and superiors possess the same 
virtue ; and when inferiors and superiors possess the 
same virtue, there are none to act as ministers. 
When inferiors act, and their superiors also act, 
then superiors and inferiors possess the same Tao ; 
and when superiors and inferiors possess the same 

1 I suppose that from ' It is said ' to this is all quotation, but 
from -what book we do not know. 

2 ' The virtue,' or attribute ;=the way. 

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Tao, there is none to preside as Lord. But that 
the superiors do nothing and yet thereby use the 
world in their service, and that the inferiors, while 
acting, be employed in the service of the world, is 
an unchangeable principle. Therefore the ancient 
kings who presided over the world, though their 
knowledge embraced (all the operations of) Heaven 
and Earth, took no thought of their own about 
them ; though their nice discrimination appreciated 
the fine fashioning of all things, they said not a word 
about it ; though their power comprehended all 
within the seas, they did nothing themselves. 
Heaven produces nothing, yet all things experience 
their transformations ; Earth effects no growth, yet all 
things receive their nurture; the TIs and Kings did 
nothing, yet all the world testified their effective ser- 
vices. Hence it is said, 'There is nothing more spirit- 
like than Heaven; there is nothing richer than Earth ; 
there are none greater than the Tts and Kings.' Hence 
it is said (further), ' The attributes of the Tls and 
kings corresponded to those of Heaven and Earth.' 
It was thus that they availed themselves of (the 
operations of) Heaven and Earth, carried all things 
on unceasingly (in their courses), and employed the 
various classes of men in their service. 

4. Originating belongs to those in the higher 
position ; details (of work) to those who are in the 
lower. The compendious decision belongs to the 
lord ; the minutiae of execution, to his ministers. 
The direction of the three hosts 1 and their men with 
the five weapons 2 is but a trifling quality ; rewards 

1 ' Three hosts ' constituted the military force of one of the 
largest states. 

2 The bow, the club, the spear, the lance, the javelin. Other 

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and penalties with their advantages and sufferings, 
and the inflictions of the five punishments x are but 
trivial elements of instruction ; ceremonies, laws, 
measures, and numbers, with all the minutiae of 
jurisprudence 2 , are small matters in government ; 
the notes of bells and drums, and the display of 
plumes and flags are the slightest things in music, 
and the various grades of the mourning garments are 
the most unimportant manifestations of grief. These 
five unimportant adjuncts required the operation of 
the excited spirit and the employment of the arts of 
the mind, to bring them into use. The men of old 
had them indeed, but they did not give them the 
first place. 

The ruler precedes, and the minister follows ; the 
father precedes, and the son follows ; the elder 
brother precedes, and the younger follows ; the 
senior precedes, and the junior follows ; the male 
precedes, and the female follows ; the husband pre- 
cedes, and the wife follows. 

This precedence of the more honourable and se- 
quence of the meaner is seen in the (relative) action 
of heaven and earth, and hence the sages took them 
as their pattern. The more honourable position of 
heaven and the lower one of earth are equivalent to 
a designation of their spirit-like and intelligent 
qualities. The precedence of spring and summer 
and the sequence of autumn and winter mark the 

enumerations of them are given. See the ' Officers of Khi,' Bk. 

1 Branding, cutting off the nose, cutting off the feet, castra- 
tion, death. 

3 IreadhereJflJ(not^)^. 

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order of the four seasons. In the transformations 
and growth of all things, every bud and feature has 
its proper form ; and in this we have their gradual 
maturing and decay, the constant flow of transforma- 
tion and change. Thus since Heaven and Earth, 
which are most spirit-like, are distinguished as more 
honourable and less, and by precedence and sequence, 
how much more must we look for this in the ways 
of men ! In the ancestral temple it is to kinship that 
honour is given ; in court, to rank ; in the neigh- 
bourhoods and districts, to age ; in the conduct of 
affairs, to wisdom ; such is the order in those great 
ways. If we speak of the course (to be pursued in 
them), and do not observe their order, we violate 
their course. If we speak of the course, and do not 
observe it, why do we apply that name to it ? 

5. Therefore the ancients who clearly understood 
the great Tao first sought to apprehend what was 
meant by Heaven 1 , and the Tao and its characteris- 
tics came next. When this was apprehended, then 
came Benevolence and Righteousness. When these 
were apprehended, then came the Distinction of duties 
and the observance of them. This accomplished, 
there came objects and their names. After objects 
and their names, came the employment of men 
according to their qualities: on this there followed 
the examination of the men and of their work. This 
led to the approval or disapproval of them, which 
again was succeeded by the apportioning of rewards 
and penalties. After this the stupid and the intelli- 
gent understood what was required of them, and the 
honourable and the mean occupied their several posi- 

1 The meaning, probably, is ' spontaneity.' 

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tions. The good and the able, and those inferior 
to them, sincerely did their best. Their ability 
was distributed ; the duties implied in their official 
names were fulfilled. In this way did they serve 
their superiors, nourish their inferiors, regulate 
things, and cultivate their persons. They did not call 
their knowledge and schemes into requisition ; they 
were required to fall back upon (the method of) 
Heaven : — this was what is called the Perfection of 
the Rule of Great Peace. Hence it is said in the 
Book \ ' There are objects and there are their names.' 
Objects and their names the ancients had ; but they 
did not put them in the foremost place. 

When the ancients spoke of the Great Tao, it 
was only after four other steps that they gave a 
place to ' Objects and their Names,' and after eight 
steps that they gave a place to ' Rewards and 
Penalties.' If they had all at once spoken of 
'Objects and their Names,' they would have shown 
an ignorance of what is the Root (of government) ; if 
they had all at once spoken of ' Rewards and Penalties,' 
they would have shown an ignorance of the first 
steps of it. Those whose words are thus an in-r 
version of the (proper) course, or in opposition to it, 
are (only fit to be) ruled by others ; — how can they 
rule others ? To speak all at once of ' Objects and 
their Names,' and of ' Rewards and Penalties,' only 
shows that the speaker knows the instruments of 
government, but does not know the method of it, 
is fit to be used as an instrument in the world, but 
not fit to use others as his instruments : — he is what 
we call a mere sophist, a man of one small idea. 

1 We cannot tell what book or books. 
[39] Z 

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Ceremonies, laws, numbers, measures, with all the 
minutiae of jurisprudence, the ancients had ; but it 
is by these that inferiors serve their superiors ; it is 
not by them that those superiors nourish the world. 

6. Anciently, Shun asked Yao, saying, ' In what 
way does your Majesty by the Grace of Heaven 1 
exercise your mind ? ' The reply was, ' I simply 
show no arrogance towards the helpless ; I do not 
neglect the poor people ; I grieve for those who die ; 
I love their infant children ; and I compassionate 
their widows.' Shun rejoined, ' Admirable, as far as 
it goes ; but it is not what is Great.' 'How then,' 
asked Yao, ' do you think I should do ? ' Shun re- 
plied, 'When (a sovereign) possesses the virtue of 
Heaven, then when he shows himself in action, it is 
in stillness. The sun and moon (simply) shine, 
and the four seasons pursue their courses. So it is 
with the regular phenomena of day and night, and 
with the movement of the clouds by which the rain 
is distributed.' Yao said, ' Then I have only been 
persistently troubling myself! What you wish is 
to be in harmony with Heaven, while I wish to 
be in harmony with men.' Now (the Way of) 
Heaven and Earth was much thought of of old, 
and Hwang-Tl, Yao, and Shun united in admiring it. 
Hence the kings of the world of old did nothing, 
but tried to imitate that Way. 

7. Confucius went to the west to deposit (some) 
writings in the library of K&n 2 , when 3 ze_ lu coun- 

1 So, in the ' Spring and Autumn ' Chronicle, the rightful reign- 
ing sovereign is ordinarily designated, ' Heaven's King.' It is not 
a Taoistic mode of speaking of him. 

a It is supposed that Confucius, disappointed by his want of 

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selled him, saying, ' I have heard that the officer in 
charge of this A'ang 1 Repository of A'au was one 
Lao Tan, who has given up his office, and is living 
in his own house. As you, Master, wish to deposit 
these writings here, why not go to him, and obtain 
his help (to accomplish your object) 2 .' Confucius 
said, 'Good;' and he went and saw Lao Tan, who 
refused his assistance. On this he proceeded to 
give an abstract of the Twelve Classics 3 to bring 
the other over to his views 4 . Lao Tan, however, 
interrupted him while he was speaking, and said, 
' This is too vague ; let me hear the substance of 
them in brief.' Confucius said, ' The substance of 
them is occupied with Benevolence and Righteous- 
ness.' The other said, ' Let me ask whether you 
consider Benevolence and Righteousness to con- 
stitute the nature of man ? ' 'I do,' was the answer. 
' If the superior man be not benevolent, he will not 
fulfil his character ; if he be not righteous, he might 
as well not have been born. Benevolence and 
Righteousness are truly the nature of man.' Lao 
Tan continued, ' Let me ask you what you mean by 
Benevolence and Righteousness.' Confucius said, 
' To be in one's inmost heart in kindly sympathy 

success, wished to deposit the writings or books which he prized so 
much in the Royal Library, that they might not be lost, and be 
available for some future teacher, more fortunate than himself. 

1 The name of the Royal Library (^h) > meaning, perhaps, 
' Approved.' 

a That is, help him to get his books deposited in the Library. 

3 Meaning, perhaps, the 'Spring and Autumn,' containing a 
chronicle of twelve marquises of Lu. We know of no collection in 
the time of Confucius which could be styled the ' Twelve Classics.' 

Wt ' s t0 ^ e rea d shui. 

Z 2 

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with all things ; to love all men ; and to allow no 
selfish thoughts ; — this is the nature of Benevolence 
and Righteousness.' Lao Tan exclaimed, ' Ah ! you 
almost show your inferiority by such words ! " To 
love all men ! " is not that vague and extravagant ? 
" To be seeking to allow no selfish thoughts ! " — that 
is selfishness 2 ! If you, Master, wish men not to be 
without their (proper) shepherding, think of Heaven 
and Earth, which certainly pursue their invariable 
course ; think of the sun and moon, which surely 
maintain their brightness ; think of the stars in the 
zodiac, which preserve their order and courses ; 
think of birds and beasts, which do not fail to collect 
together in their flocks and herds ; and think of 
the trees, which do not fail to stand up (in their 
places). Do you, Master, imitate this way and carry 
it into practice ; hurry on, following this course, and 
you will reach your end. Why must you further be 
vehement in putting forward your Benevolence and 
Righteousness, as if you were beating a drum, and 
seeking a fugitive son, (only making him run away 
the more) ? Ah ! Master, you are introducing dis- 
order into the nature of man ! ' 

8. Sh'ih-/e/iang KM. 2 , having an interview with 
Lao-jze, asked him, saying, ' I heard, Master, that 
you were a sage, and I came here, wishing to see 
you, without grudging the length of the journey. 
During the stages of the hundred days, the soles 
of my feet became quite callous, but I did not dare 
to stop and rest. Now I perceive that you are not 

1 The unselfishness was not spontaneous. 

2 We know nothing of this personage, but what is related here ; 
nor does the whole paragraph serve to advance the argument of 
the Book. 

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a sage. Because there was some rice left about the 
holes of the rats, you sent away your younger sister, 
which was unkind ; when your food, whether raw 
or cooked, remains before you not all consumed, 
you keep on hoarding it up to any extent 1 .' Lao- 
jze looked indifferent, and gave him no answer. 

Next day Khi again saw Lao-jze, and said, 
' Yesterday I taunted you ; but to-day I have gone 
back to a better mood of mind. What is the cause 
(of the change) 2 ? ' Lao-jze replied, ' I consider that 
I have freed myself from the trammels of claiming to 
be artfully knowing, spirit-like, and sage. Yesterday 
if you had called me an ox, you might have 
done so ; or if you had called me a horse, you 
might have done so 3 . If there be a reality (corre- 
sponding to men's ideas), and men give it a name, 
which another will not receive, he will in the sequel 
suffer the more. My manner was what I constantly 
observe ; — I did not put it on for the occasion.' 

Shih-^/*ang KM sidled away out of Lao's shadow; 
then he retraced his steps, advanced forward, and 
asked how he should cultivate himself. The reply 
was, ' Your demeanour is repelling ; you stare 
with your eyes ; your forehead is broad and yet 
tapering ; you bark and growl with your mouth ; 
your appearance is severe and pretentious ; you are 
like a horse held by its tether, you would move, but 
are restrained, and (if let go) would start off like an 

1 These seem strange charges to bring against Lao-jze, and no 
light is thrown on them from other sources. 

2 The change had been produced by the demeanour of L&o-jze ; 
the other could not tell how. Other explanations of the question 
are given by some of the critics. 

s Compare in. the first paragraph of Book VII. 

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arrow from a bow ; you examine all the minutiae of 
a thing ; your wisdom is artful, and yet you try to 
look at ease. All these are to be considered proofs 
of your want of sincerity. If on the borders one 
were to be found with them, he would be named a 

9. The Master 1 said, ' The Tao does not exhaust 
itself in what is greatest, nor is it ever absent from 
what is least ; and therefore it is to be found com- 
plete and diffused in all things. How wide is its 
universal comprehension ! How deep is its un- 
fathomableness ! The embodiment of its attributes 
in benevolence and righteousness is but a small 
result of its spirit-like (working) ; but it is only the 
perfect man who can determine this. The perfect 
man has (the charge of) the world ; — is not the 
charge great ? and yet it is not sufficient to em- 
barrass him. He wields the handle of power over 
the whole world, and yet it is nothing to him. His 
discrimination detects everything false, and no con- 
sideration of gain moves him. He penetrates to 
the truth of things, and can guard that which is 
fundamental. So it is that heaven and earth are ex- 
ternal to him, and he views all things with indifference, 
and his spirit is never straitened by them. He has 
comprehended the Tao, and is in harmony with its 
characteristics; he pushes back benevolence and 
righteousness (into their proper place), and deals 
with ceremonies and music as (simply) guests : — 
yes, the mind of the perfect man determines all 
things aright.' 

1 No doubt, Lao-jze. In the « Complete Works of the Ten 
Philosophers,' the text is ^&" -¥* and not -^ -3p. 

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10. What the world thinks the most valuable ex- 
hibition of the Tao is to be found in books. But 
books are only a collection of words. Words have 
what is valuable in them ; — what is valuable in 
words is the ideas they convey. But those ideas 
are a sequence of something else ; — and what that 
something else is cannot be conveyed by words. 
When the world, because of the value which it 
attaches to words, commits them to books, that 
for which it so values them may not deserve to be 
valued; — because that which it values is not what 
is really valuable. 

Thus it is that what we look at and can see is 
(only) the outward form and colour, and what we 
listen to and can hear is (only) names and sounds. 
Alas ! that men of the world should think that form 
and colour, name and sound, should be sufficient to 
give them the real nature of the Tao. The form 
and colour, the name and sound, are certainly not 
sufficient to convey its real nature ; and so it is 
that ' the wise do not speak and those who do speak 
are not wise.' How should the world know that 
real nature ? 

Duke Hwan 1 , seated above in his hall, was (once) 
reading a book, and the wheelwright Phien was 
making a wheel below it 2 . Laying aside his 
hammer and chisel, Phien went up the steps, and 
said, ' I venture to ask your Grace what words you 
are reading ? ' The duke said, ' The words of 
the sages.' 'Are those sages alive?' Phien con- 

1 No doubt, duke Hwan of Kh\, the first of the five presiding 
chiefs of the K&xs. dynasty. 

2 See in Mencius I, i, vii, 4 a similar reference to the hall and 
the courtyard below it. 

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tmued. ' They are dead,' was the reply. ' Then,' 
said the other, ' what you, my Ruler, are reading are 
only the dregs and sediments of those old men.' 
The duke said, ' How should you, a wheelwright, 
have anything to say about the book which I am 
reading ? If you can explain yourself, very well ; 
if you cannot, you shall die!' The wheelwright 
said, ' Your servant will look at the thing from the 
point of view of his own art. In making a wheel, 
if I proceed gently, that is pleasant enough, but the 
workmanship is not strong ; if I proceed violently, 
that is toilsome and the joinings do not fit. If the 
movements of my hand are neither (too) gentle nor 
(too) violent, the idea in my mind is realised. But 
I cannot tell (how to do this) by word of mouth ; — 
there is a knack in it. I cannot teach the knack to 
my son, nor can my son learn it from me. Thus it 
is that I am in my seventieth year, and am (still) 
making wheels in my old age *. But these ancients, 
and what it was not possible for them to convey, are 
dead and gone : — so then what you, my Ruler, are 
reading is but their dregs and sediments ! ' 

1 Compare the story in Book III about the ruler Wan-hui and 
his butcher ; and other passages. 

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ft.ii.SECT.vii. THE WRITINGS OF £WANG-3ZE. 345 

Part II. Section VII. 

Thien Yiin, or ' The Revolution of Heaven 1 .' 

1. How (ceaselessly) heaven revolves! How 
(constantly) earth abides at rest ! And do the sun 
and moon contend about their (respective) places ? 
Who presides over and directs these (things) ? Who 
binds and connects them together ? Who is it that, 
without trouble or exertion on his part, causes and 
maintains them ? Is it, perhaps, that there is some 
secret spring, in consequence of which they cannot 
be but as they are ? Or is it, perhaps, that they 
move and turn as they do, and cannot stop of 
themselves ? 

(Then) how the clouds become rain ! And how 
the rain again forms the clouds ! Who diffuses 
them so abundantly ? Who is it that, without 
trouble or exertion on his part, produces this ele- 
mental enjoyment, and seems to stimulate it ? 

The winds rise in the north ; one blows to the 
west, and another to the east ; while some rise 
upwards, uncertain in their direction. By whose 
breathing are they produced ? Who is it that, 
without any trouble and exertion of his own, effects 
all their undulations ? I venture to ask their cause 2 . 

1 See pp. 145, 146. 

2 Down to this we have a description of the phenomena of 
heaven and earth and of nature generally as proceeding regularly 

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Wu-hsien Thiao 1 said, 'Come, and I will tell you. 
To heaven there belong the six Extreme Points, and 
the five Elements 2 . When the Tts and Kings acted 
in accordance with them, there was good govern- 
ment ; when they acted contrary to them, there was 
evil. Observing the things (described) in the nine 
divisions (of the writing) of Lo 3 , their government 
was perfected and their virtue was complete. They 
inspected and enlightened the kingdom beneath 
them, and all under the sky acknowledged and sus- 
tained them. Such was the condition under the 
august (sovereigns 4 ) and those before them.' 

2. Tang 5 , the chief administrator of Shang 5 , asked 
iifwang-jze about Benevolence 6 , and the answer 
was, ' Wolves and tigers are benevolent.' ' What do 
you mean ? ' said Tang. Awang-jze replied, ' Father 
and son (among them) are affectionate to one an- 
other. Why should they be considered as not bene- 

and noiselessly, without any apparent cause; which is the chief 
subject of the Book. As the description is not assigned to any 
one, we must suppose it to be from .ffwang-jze himself; and that 
it is he who asks the question in the last three characters. 

1 This is said by the critics to have been a minister of the Shang 
dynasty, under TMi-mau in the seventeenth century B.C. ; but even 
^wang-jze would hardly so violate the unity of time. 

2 Generally means 'the Five Regular Virtues;' supposed to 
mean here ' the Five Elements.' 

3 Probably the ' Nine Divisions of the Great Plan,' in the Shu 
King, V, iv, fancied to be derived from the writing, which a tortoise 
from the Lo river exhibited to the great Yii. 

* Possibly Ffl-hst, Shan Nang, and Hwang-Tf. 
5 ' Shang ' must be taken as the duchy of Sung, assigned by 
king Wu to the representative of the kings of the dynasty of 
Shang. ' Tang ' would be a principal minister of it in the time of 
. 6 The chief of all the virtues according to Confucianism. 

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volent ?' 'Allow me to ask about perfect benevo- 
lence/ pursued the other. ATwang-jze said, ' Perfect 
benevolence 1 does not admit (the feeling) of affec- 
tion.' The minister said, ' I have heard that, with- 
out (the feeling of) affection there is no love, and 
without love there is not filial duty ; — is it permis- 
sible to say that the perfectly benevolent are not 
filial ? ' A'wang-jze rejoined, ' That is not the way 
to put the case. Perfect Benevolence is the very 
highest thing ; — filial duty is by no means sufficient 
to describe it. The saying which you quote is not to 
the effect that (such benevolence) transcends filial 
duty; — it does not refer to such duty at all. One, 
travelling to the south, comes (at last) to Ying 2 , and 
there, standing with his face to the north, he does not 
see mount Ming 3 . Why does he not see it? Because 
he is so far from it. Hence it is said, " Filial duty 
as a part of reverence is easy, but filial duty as a 
part of love is difficult. If it be easy as a part of 
love, yet it is difficult to forget 4 one's parents. It 
may be easy for me to forget my parents, but it is 
difficult to make my parents forget me. If it were 
easy to make my parents forget me, it is difficult for 
me to forget all men in the world. If it were easy 
to forget all men in the world, it is difficult to make 
them all forget me." 

' This virtue might make one think light of Yao 
and Shun, and not wish to be they 5 . The profit 

1 A denomination here for the Tdo, employed by .ffwang-jze for 
the purpose of his argument. 

2 The capital of the state of Khtii in the south. 

3 Name of a hill in the extreme north. 

4 The T&o requires such forgetfulness on the part of both giver 
and receiver ; it is a part of its ' doing-nothing.' 

6 I think this is the meaning. 

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and beneficial influences of it extend to a myriad 
ages, and no one in the world knows whence they 
come. How can you simply heave a great sigh, 
and speak (as you do) of benevolence and filial duty ? 
Filial duty, fraternal respect, benevolence, righteous- 
ness, loyalty, sincerity, firmness, and purity; — all 
these may be pressed into the service of this virtue, 
but they are far from sufficient to come up to it. 
Therefore it is said, " To him who has what is most 
noble 1 , all the dignities of a state are as nothing 2 ; to 
him who has what is the greatest riches, all the 
wealth of a state is as nothing; to him who has 
all that he could wish, fame and praise are as 
nothing." It is thus that the Tao admits of no 

3. Pei-man A^ang 3 asked Hwang-Tl, saying, 
' You were celebrating, O Ti, a performance of the 
music of the Hsien-^Aih*, in the open country near 
the Thung-thing lake. When I heard the first part 
of it, I was afraid ; the next made me weary ; and 
the last perplexed me. I became agitated and un- 
able to speak, and lost my self-possession.' The Tl 
said, * It was likely that it should so affect you ! It 
was performed with (the instruments of) men, and all 
attuned according to (the influences of) Heaven. It 

1 The Tao. 

2 This free version takes ^f as = Jpjp . So the Khang-hsi 
dictionary explains it. 

3 Only heard of, so far as I know, in this passage. 

4 The name of Hwang-Ti's music ; I do not venture to translate 
it. In his elaborate description of it, our author intended to give 
an idea of the Tao, and the effect which the study of it was 
calculated to produce on the mind ; as appears from the concluding 
sentence of the paragraph. 

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proceeded according to (the principles of) propriety 
and righteousness, and was pervaded by (the idea of) 
the Grand Purity. 

' The Perfect Music first had its response in the 
affairs of men, and was conformed to the principles 
of Heaven ; it indicated the action of the five virtues, 
and corresponded to the spontaneity (apparent in 
nature). After this it showed the blended distinc- 
tions of the four seasons, and the grand harmony of 
all things ; — the succession of those seasons one after 
another, and the production of things in their proper 
order. Now it swelled, and now it died away, its 
peaceful and military strains clearly distinguished 
and given forth. Now it was clear, and now rough, 
as if the contracting and expanding of the elemen- 
tal processes blended harmoniously (in its notes). 
Those notes then flowed away in waves of light, 
till, as when the hibernating insects first begin to 
move, I commanded the terrifying crash of thunder. 
Its end was marked by no formal conclusion, and it 
began again without any prelude. It seemed to die 
away, and then it burst into life ; it came to a close, 
and then it rose again. So it went on regularly and 
inexhaustibly, and without the intervention of any 
pause : — it was this which made you afraid. 

' In the second part (of the performance), I made 
it describe the harmony of the Yin and Yang, and 
threw round it the brilliance of the sun and moon. 
Its notes were now short and now long, now soft 
and now hard, Their changes, however, were 
marked by an unbroken unity, though not domi- 
nated by a fixed regularity. They filled every 
valley and ravine ; you might shut up every crevice, 
and guard your spirit (against their entrance), yet 

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there was nothing but gave admission to them. 
Yea, those notes resounded slowly, and might have 
been pronounced high and clear. Hence the shades 
of the dead kept in their obscurity ; the sun and 
moon, and all the stars of the zodiac, pursued their 
several courses. I made (my instruments) leave off, 
when (the performance) came to an end, and their 
(echoes) flowed on without stopping. You thought 
anxiously about it, and were not able to understand 
it ; you looked for it, and were not able to see it ; 
you pursued it, and were not able to reach it. All- 
amazed, you stood in the way all open around you, 
and then you leant against an old rotten dryandra- 
tree and hummed. The power of your eyes was ex- 
hausted by what you wished to see ; your strength 
failed in your desire to pursue it, while I myself 
could not reach it. Your body was but so much 
empty vacancy while you endeavoured to retain 
your self-possession 1 : — it was that endeavour which 
made you weary. 

' In the last part (of the performance), I employed 
notes which did not have that wearying effect. I 
blended them together as at the command of spon- 
taneity. Hence they came as if following one an- 
other in confusion, like a clump of plants springing 
from one root, or like the music of a forest pro- 
duced by no visible form. They spread themselves 
all around without leaving a trace (of their cause) ; 
and seemed to issue from deep obscurity where 
there was no sound. Their movements came from 
nowhere ; their home was in the deep darkness ; — 

1 See the usage of the two characters ^S ifc'g in the Shih King, 
I, ii, Ode 3. 

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conditions which some would call death, and some 
life ; some, the fruit, and some, (merely) the flower. 
Those notes, moving and flowing on, separating and 
shifting, and not following any regular sounds, the 
world might well have doubts about them, and refer 
them to the judgment of a sage, for the sages under- 
stand the nature of this music, and judge in accord- 
ance with the prescribed (spontaneity). While the 
spring of that spontaneity has not been touched, 
and yet the regulators of the five notes are all 
prepared ; — this is what is called the music of 
Heaven, delightihg the mind without the use of 
words. Hence it is said in the eulogy of the Lord 
of Piao 1 ) " You listen for it, and do not hear its 
sound ; you look for it, and do not perceive its form ; 
it fills heaven and earth ; it envelopes all within the 
universe." You wished to hear it, but could not 
take it in ; and therefore you were perplexed. 

' I performed first the music calculated to awe ; 
and you were frightened as if by a ghostly visita- 
tion. I followed it with that calculated to weary ; 
and in your weariness you would have withdrawn. 
I concluded with that calculated to perplex ; and in 
your perplexity you felt your stupidity. But that 
stupidity is akin to the Tao; you may with it 
convey the Tao in your person, and have it (ever) 

with you.' 

4. When Confucius was travelling in the west in 
Wei, Yen Yuan asked the music-master Km 2 , say- 

] Some sovereign of antiquity, of whom it is difficult to find any 
other mention but this. Even in the Lu Shih I have not discovered 
him. The name is said to be pronounced Piao ; in which 
case it should consist of three ^, and not of three jfa. 

* Only heard of here. 

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ing, ' How is it, do you think, with the course of the 
Master ? ' The music-master replied, ' Alas ! it is all 
over with your Master ! ' ' How so ? ' asked Yen 
Yuan ; and the other said, ' Before the grass-dogs 1 
are set forth (at the sacrifice), they are deposited in 
a box or basket, and wrapt up with elegantly 
embroidered cloths, while the representative of the 
dead and the officer of prayer prepare themselves 
by fasting to present them. After they have been 
set forth, however, passers-by trample on their heads 
and backs, and the grass-cutters take and burn them 
in cooking. That is all they are good for. If one 
should again take them, replace them in the box or 
basket, wrap them up with embroidered cloths, and 
then in rambling, or abiding at the spot, should go 
to sleep under them, if he do not get (evil) dreams, 
he is sure to be often troubled with the nightmare. 
Now here is your Master in the same way taking the 
grass-dogs, presented by the ancient kings, and lead- 
ing his disciples to wander or abide and sleep under 
them. Owing to this, the tree (beneath which they 
were practising ceremonies) in Sung was cut down 2 ; 
he was obliged to leave Wei 3 ; he was reduced to 
extremities in Shang 3 and iTau 4 : — were not those 
experiences like having (evil) dreams ? He was kept 
in a state of siege between Kft&n and 3hii 5 , so that 
for seven days he had no cooked food to eat, and 
was in a situation between life and death : — were 
not those experiences like the nightmare ? 

1 See the T&o Teh King, ch. 5. a Analects III, xxii. 

. 3 In consequence of the dissoluteness of the court; Analects 
VI, xxvi; IX, 17. 

4 Meaning Sung and Wei. B Analects XI, ii, 1. 

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' If you are travelling by water, your best plan is 
to use a boat ; if by land, a carriage. Take a boat, 
which will go (easily) along on the water, and try 
to push it along on the land, and all your lifetime it 
will not go so much as a fathom or two : — are not 
ancient time and the present time like the water 
and the dry land ? and are not K&u. and Lu like the 
boat and the carriage ? To seek how to practise 
(the old ways of) A"au in Lit is like pushing along a 
boat on the dry land. It is only a toilsome labour, 
and has no success ; he who does so is sure to meet 
with calamity. He has not learned that in handing 
down the arts (of one time) he is sure to be reduced 
to extremity in endeavouring to adapt them to the 
conditions (of another). 

'And have you not seen the working of a shadoof ? 
When (the rope of) it is pulled, it bends down ; and 
when it is let go, it rises up. It is pulled by a man, 
and does not pull the man ; and so, whether it bends 
down or rises up, it commits no offence against the 
man. In the same way the rules of propriety, 
righteousness, laws, and measures of the three 
Hwangs J and five Tls l derived their excellence, 
not from their being the same as those of the pre- 
sent day, but from their (aptitude for) government. 
We may compare them to haws 2 , pears, oranges, 

1 It is impossible to speak definitely of who these three Hwangs 
(Augustuses) and five Tis were, or whom the speaker intended 
by them. The former would seem to lead us to the purely 
fabulous ages, when twelve (or thirteen) Heavenly Hwangs, eleven 
Earthly, and nine Human ruled over the young world, for a period 
of 576,000 years. -There is a general agreement of opinion that 
the five Tts ended with Yao and Shun. 

2 See Williams's Dictionary, sub voc. He says it is the Cra- 

[39] A a 

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and pummeloes, which are different in flavour, but all 
suitable to be eaten. Just so it is that the rules of 
propriety, righteousness, laws, and measures, change 
according to the time. 

' If now you take a monkey, and dress it in the 
robes of the duke of Aau, it will bite and tear them, 
and will not be satisfied till it has got rid of them 
altogether. And if you look at the difference 
between antiquity and the present time it is as great 
as that between the monkey and the duke of ./sfau. 
In the same way, when Hsl Shih * was troubled in 
mind, she would knit her brows and frown on all in 
her neighbourhood. An ugly woman of the neigh- 
bourhood, seeing and admiring her beauty, went 
home, and also laying her hands on her heart pro- 
ceeded to stare and frown on all around her. When 
the rich people of the village saw her, they shut fast 
their doors and would not go out ; when the poor 
people saw her, they took their wives and children 
and ran away from her. The woman knew how to 
admire the frowning beauty, but she did not know 
how it was that she, though frowning, was beautiful. 
Alas ! it is indeed all over with your Master 2 ! ' 

5. When Confucius was in his fifty-first year 3 , he 
had not heard of the T ao, and went south to Phei * 

taegus cuneata and pinnatifida, common in China, and much 
esteemed for its acidity. 

1 A famous beauty, — the concubine of king Fu-£Mi of Wu. 

2 The comparisons in this paragraph are not complimentary to 
Confucius. Of course the conversation never took place, and must 
have been made up to ridicule the views of the sage. 

3 This would be in b.c. 503 or 502, and LSo-jze would be more 
than a hundred years old. 

* Probably in what is now the district of Phei, department of 
Hsti-^au, .fi'iang-su. 

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to see Lao Tan, who said to him, ' You have come, 
Sir ; have you ? I have heard that you are the 
wisest man of the North ; have you also got the 
Tao?' ' Not yet,' was the reply; and the other 
went on, ' How have you sought it ? ' Confucius 
said, ' I sought it in measures and numbers, and 
after five years I had not got it.' ' And how 
then did you seek it?' 'I sought it in the Yin 
and Yang, and after twelve years I have not found 
it.' Lao-jze said, 'Just so! If the Tao could be 
presented (to another), men would all present it to 
their rulers ; if it could be served up (to others), 
men would all serve it up to their parents ; if it 
could be told (to others), men would all tell it to 
their brothers ; if it could be given to others, men 
would all give it to their sons and grandsons. The 
reason why it cannot be transmitted is no other but 
this, — that if, within, there be not the presiding prin- 
ciple, it will not remain there, and if, outwardly, there 
be not the correct obedience, it will not be carried 
out. When that which is given out from the mind 
(in possession of it) is not received by the mind 
without, the sage will not give it out ; and when, 
entering in from without, there is no power in the 
receiving mind to entertain it, the sage will not 
permit it to lie hid there 1 . Fame is a possession 
common to all ; we should not seek to have much 
of it. Benevolence and righteousness were as the 
lodging-houses of the former kings ; we should only 
rest in them for a night, and not occupy them for 

1 That is, the sage will not deposit it, where it will lie hidden ;- 
compare Analects XVI, vi. 

A a 2 

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long. If men see us doing so, they will have much 
to say against us. 

' The perfect men of old trod the path of benevo- 
lence as a path which they borrowed for the occasion, 
and dwelt in Righteousness as in a lodging which they 
used for a night. Thus they rambled in the vacancy 
of Untroubled Ease, found their food in the fields of 
Indifference, and stood in the gardens which they had 
not borrowed. Untroubled Ease requires the doing of 
nothing ; Indifference is easily supplied with nourish- 
ment ; not borrowing needs no outlay. The ancients 
called this the Enjoyment that Collects the True. 

' Those who think that wealth is the proper thing 
for them cannot give up their revenues ; those who 
seek distinction cannot give up the thought of fame ; 
those who cleave to power cannot give the handle of 
it to others. While they hold their grasp of those 
things, they are afraid (of losing them). When they 
let them go, they are grieved ; and they will not look 
at a single example, from which they might perceive 
the (folly) of their restless pursuits : — such men are 
under the doom of Heaven 1 . 

' Hatred and kindness; taking and giving ; reproof 
and instruction ; death and life : — these eight things 
are instruments of rectification, but only those are 
able to use them who do not obstinately refuse to 
comply with their great changes. Hence it is said, 
" Correction is Rectification." When the minds of 

1 See the same expression used in Book VI, par. 11, used 
by Confucius of himself. Comparing the two passages together, 
I must doubt the correctness of my note there (2, p. 252), that 
'Heaven' is used in the Confucian sense of Ti, or God. The 
men here pursued and toiled after the pleasures of the world, rather 
than the quiet satisfactions of the T&o. 

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pt. II. sect. vii. THE WRITINGS OF £WANG-3ZE. 357 

some do not acknowledge this, it is because the gate 
of Heaven 1 (in them) has not been opened.' 

6. At an interview with Lao Tan, Confucius 
spoke to him of benevolence and righteousness. Lao 
Tan said, ' If you winnow chaff, and the dust gets into 
your eyes, then the places of heaven and earth and 
of the four cardinal points are all changed to you. 
If musquitoes or gadflies puncture your skin, it will 
keep you all the night 2 from sleeping. But this 
painful iteration of benevolence and righteousness 
excites my mind and produces in it the greatest con- 
fusion. If you, Sir, would cause men not to lose 
their natural simplicity, and if you would also imitate 
the wind in its (unconstrained) movements, and stand 
forth in all the natural attributes belonging to you ! 
— why must you use so much energy, and carry a 
great drum to seek for the son whom you have lost 3 ? 
The snow-goose does not bathe every day to make 
itself white, nor the crow blacken itself every day to 
make itself black. The natural simplicity of their 
black and white does not afford any ground for con- 
troversy ; and the fame and praise which men like 
to contemplate do not make them greater than they 
naturally are. When the springs (supplying the 
pools) are dried up, the fishes huddle together on 
the dry land. Than that they should moisten one 
another there by their gasping, and keep one another 
wet by their milt, it would be better for them to 
forget one another in the rivers and lakes *.' 

1 See Book XXIII, par. g. The phrase = i|| jfif. 

2 The common reading ^ is a mistake for y . 

3 Compare the same illustration in the preceding Book, par. 7. 
* This illustration is from Book VI, par. 5. 

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From this interview with Lao Tan, Confucius 
returned home, and for three days did not speak. 
His disciples (then) asked him, saying, ' Master, you 
have seen Lao Tan ; in what way might you ad- 
monish and correct him ?' Confucius said, ' In him 
(I may say) that I have now seen the dragon. The 
dragon coils itself up, and there is its body; it 
unfolds itself and becomes the dragon complete. It 
rides on the cloudy air, and is nourished by the Yin 
and Yang. I kept my mouth open, and was unable 
to shut it ; — how could I admonish and correct Lao 

7. 3 ze "kung * said, ' So then, can (this) man indeed 
sit still as a representative of the dead, and then 
appear as the dragon ? Can his voice resound as 
thunder, when he is profoundly still ? Can he 
exhibit himself in his movements like heaven and 
earth? May I, 3hze, also get to see him?' Accord- 
ingly with a message from Confucius he went to see 
Lao Tan. 

Lao Tan was then about to answer (his salutation) 
haughtily in the hall, but he said in a low voice, 
' My years have rolled on and are passing away, 
what do you, Sir, wish to admonish me about ? ' 3 ze_ 
kung replied, ' The Three Kings and Five Tls 2 ruled 

1 3 z e-kung would seem to have undertaken this expedition to 
maintain the reputation of the Master and his school ; — only to be 
defeated by L&o-gze more signally than Confucius had been. 

2 These are different probably, though the text is not quite 
certain, from the three Hwangs and five Tis of par. 3. The 
Hwangs (or August Sovereigns) preceded the Tls; the Kings 
(Wangs) came after them. The Three Kings are the three lines 
of kings commencing with the dynasty of Hsid, and following 
Shun. From the names mentioned by 3ze-kung, we ought 
certainly so to understand the designation here. 

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the world not in the same way, but the fame that has 
accrued to them is the same. How is it that you 
alone consider that they were not sages ? ' ' Come 
forward a little, my son. Why do you say that (their 
government) was not the same ? ' ' Yao,' was the 
reply, ' gave the kingdom to Shun, and Shun gave 
it to Yii. Yii had recourse to his strength, and 
Thang to the force of arms. King Wan was 
obedient to A'au (-hsin), and did not dare to rebel ; 
king Wu rebelled against K&a, and would not 
submit to him. And I say that their methods were 
not the same.' Lao Tan said, ' Come a little more 
forward, my son, and I will tell you how the Three 
Hwangs and the Five Tls 1 ruled the world. Hwang- 
Tt ruled it, so as to make the minds of the people 
all conformed to the One (simplicity). If the parents 
of one of them died, and he did not wail, no one 
blamed him. Yao ruled it so as to cause the hearts 
of the people to cherish relative affection. If any, 
however, made the observances on the death of 
other members of their kindred less than those for 
their parents, no one blamed them 2 . Shun ruled it, 
so as to produce a feeling of rivalry in the minds 
of the people. Their wives gave birth to their 
children in the tenth month of their pregnancy, but 
those children could speak at five months ; and 
before they were three years old, they began to call 
people by their surnames and names. Then it was 
that men began to die prematurely. Yii ruled it, 
so as to cause the minds of the people to become 
changed. Men's minds became scheming, and they 

1 See note 2, preceding page. 

2 Referring to some abuses, contrary to the doctrine of rela- 

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used their weapons as if they might legitimately do 
so, (saying that they were) killing thieves and not 
killing other men. The people formed themselves 
into different combinations ; — so it was throughout 
the kingdom. Everywhere there was great con- 
sternation, and then arose the Literati and (the 
followers of) Mo (Ti). From them came first the 
doctrine of the relationships (of society) ; and what 
can be said of the now prevailing customs (in the 
marrying of) wives and daughters ? I tell you 
that the rule of the Three Kings and Five Tls may 
be called by that name, but nothing can be greater 
than the disorder which it produced* The wisdom 
of the Three Kings was Opposed to the brightness 
of the sun and moon above, contrary to the exquisite 
purity of the hills and streams below, and subversive 
of the beneficent gifts of the four seasons between. 
Their wisdom has been more fatal than the sting of 
a scorpion or the bite of a dangerous beast '. Unable 
to rest in the true attributes of their nature and con- 
stitution, they still regarded themselves as sages : — 
was it not a thing to be ashamed of ? But they were 
shameless.' 3 ze ~kung stood quite disconcerted and 
ill at ease. 

8. Confucius said to Lao Tan, ' I have occupied 
myself with the Shih, the Shu, the Li, the Yo, the 
Yi, and the Khun Khvd, those six Books, for what I 
myself consider a long time 2 , and am thoroughly 

1 What beast is meant here cannot be ascertained from the 
characters in the text, — $£p jjjjJJ ^ W(. 

2 But with the preparation of the .Oun Khitii Confucius's life 
ended ; — it is very plain that no conversation such as ■ffwang-jze has 
fabricated here could ever have taken place. 

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acquainted with their contents. With seventy-two 
rulers, all offenders against the right, I have dis- 
coursed about the ways of the former kings, and set 
forth the examples of (the dukes of) K§.w and 
Shao ; and not one of them has adopted (my views) 
and put them in practice : — how very difficult it is to 
prevail on such men, and to make clear the path to 
be pursued ! ' 

Lao-jze replied, ' It is fortunate that you have 
not met with a ruler fitted to rule the age. Those 
six writings are a description of the vestiges left by 
the former kings, but do not tell how they made 
such vestiges ; and what you, Sir, speak about are 
still only the vestiges. But vestiges are the prints 
left by the shoes ; — are they the shoes that produced 
them ? A pair of white herons look at each other 
with pupils that do not move, and impregnation takes 
place ; the male insect emits its buzzing sound in 
the air above, and the female responds from the air 
below, and impregnation takes place ; the creatures 
called l£i are both male and female, and each 
individual breeds of itself 1 . The nature cannot 
be altered ; the conferred constitution cannot be 
changed ; the march of the seasons cannot be 
arrested ; the Tao cannot be stopped. If you get 
the Tao, there is no effect that cannot be produced ; 
if you miss it, there is no effect that can.' 

Confucius (after this) did not go out, till at the 
end of three months he went again to see Lao Tan, 
and said, ' I have got it. Ravens produce their 
young by hatching ; fishes by the communication of 
their milt ; the small-waisted wasp by transforma- 

1 Where had Lao-jze or his author learned his zoology ? 

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tion 1 ; when a younger brother comes, the elder 
weeps 2 . Long is it that I have not played my part 
in harmony with these processes of transformation. 
But as I did not play my part in harmony with 
such transformation, how could I transform men ? ' 
Lao-jze said, ' You will do. Kk\<X, you have found 
the Tao.' 

1 See the Shih King, II, v, Ode II, 3, about the sphex. 

2 Because, as we say, ' his nose is put out.' But the sentiment, 
though it is ascribed to Confucius, is rarely according to the fact of 
the case. 

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Part II. Section VIII. 

Kho I, or ' Ingrained Ideas 1 .' 

1. Ingrained ideas and a high estimate of their 
own conduct ; leaving the world, and pursuing un- 
common ways ; talking loftily and in resentful 
disparagement of others ; — all this is simply 
symptomatic of arrogance. This is what scholars 
who betake themselves to the hills and valleys, who 
are always blaming the world, and who stand aloof 
like withered trees, or throw themselves into deep 
pools 2 , are fond of. 

Discoursing of benevolence, righteousness, loyalty, 
and good faith ; being humble and frugal, self-forget- 
ful and courteous ; — all this is simply symptomatic of 
(self-)cultivation. This is what scholars who wish 
to tranquillise the world, teachers and instructors, 
men who pursue their studies at home and abroad, 
are fond of. 

Discoursing of their great merit and making a 
great name for themselves ; insisting on the cere- 
monies between ruler and minister ; and rectifying 
the relations between Jiigh and low ; — all this shows 
their one object to be the promotion of government. 
This is what officers of the court, men who honour 
their lord and would strengthen the state and who 

1 See pp. 146, 147. 

2 As did Shan-thu TS. See in Book VI, par. 3. 

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would do their utmost to incorporate other states 
with their own, are fond of. 

Resorting to marshes and lakes ; dwelling in 
solitary places ; occupying themselves with angling 
and living at ease ; — all this shows their one object 
to be to do nothing. This is what gentlemen of the 
rivers and seas, men who avoid the society of the 
world and desire to live at leisure, are fond of. 

Blowing and breathing with open mouth ; inhaling 
and exhaling the breath ; expelling the old breath 
and taking in new ; passing their time like the (dor- 
mant) bear 1 , and stretching and twisting (the neck) 
like a bird x ; — all this simply shows the desire for 
longevity. This is what the scholars who manipu- 
late their breath, and the men who nourish the 
body and wish to live as long as Pang 3 U > are 
fond of. 

As to those who have a lofty character without 
any ingrained ideas ; who pursue the path of self- 
cultivation without benevolence and righteousness ; 
who succeed in government without great services or 
fame ; who enjoy their ease without resorting to the 
rivers and seas ; who attain to longevity without the 
management (of the breath) ; who forget all things 
and yet possess all things ; whose placidity is un- 
limited, while all things to be valued attend them : — 
such men pursue the way of heaven and earth, and 
display the characteristics of the sages. Hence it 
is said 2 , ' Placidity, indifference, silence, quietude, 

1 This is probably the meaning. The text is simply : — ' Bear- 
passing, bird-stretching.' 

4 'It is said:' — where? and by whom? These questions we 
cannot answer. We have met indeed already with the same cha- 
racteristics of the Tao; but .ffwang-jze is not likely to be quoting 

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absolute vacancy, and non-action : — these are the 
qualities which maintain the level of heaven and 
earth and are the substance of the Tao and its 

2. In accordance with this it is said, ' The sage is 
entirely restful, and so (his mind) is evenly balanced 
and at ease. This even balance and ease appears 
in his placidity and indifference. In this state of 
even balance and ease, of placidity and indifference, 
anxieties and evils do not find access to him, no 
depraving influence can take him by surprise ; 
his virtue is complete, and his spirit continues 

Therefore it is (also) said, ' The life of the sage is 
(like) the action of Heaven ; and his death is the 
transformation common to (all) things. In his still- 
ness his virtue is the same as that of the Y i n, and 
in movement his diffusiveness is like that of the 
Yang. He does not take the initiative in produc- 
ing either happiness or calamity. He responds to 
the influence acting on him, and moves as he feels 
the pressure. He rises to act only when he is obliged 
to do so. He discards wisdom and the memories 
of the past; he follows the lines of his Heaven 
(-given nature) ; and therefore he suffers no calamity 
from Heaven, no involvement from things, no 
blame from men, and no reproof from the spirits of 
the dead \ His life seems to float along ; his death 
seems to be a resting. He does not indulge any 

himself. On the ' It is said,' and the five recurrences of the phrase 
below, Lu Shu-&h says that ^wang-jze is quoting from sentences 
current among the adherents of Taoism, — the sentence-makers 
often drawn on by Lao-jze; compare the Tao Teh -ATing, ch. xli. 
1 See Book XIII, par. 2. 

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anxious doubts ; he does not lay plans beforehand. 
His light is without display; his good faith is with- 
out previous arrangement. His sleep is untroubled 
by dreams ; his waking is followed by no sorrows. 
His spirit is guileless and pure ; his soul is not sub- 
ject to weariness. Vacant and without self-assertion, 
placid and indifferent, he agrees with the virtue of 

Therefore it is said (further), ' Sadness and plea- 
sure show a depraving element in the virtue (of those 
who feel them) ; joy and anger show some error in 
their course ; love and hatred show a failure of their 
virtue. Hence for the mind to be free from sorrow 
and pleasure is the perfection of virtue ; to be of 
one mind that does not change is the perfection of 
quietude ; to be conscious of no opposition is the 
perfection of vacancy ; to have no intercourse with 
(external) things is the perfection of indifference ; 
and to have no rebellious dissatisfactions is the 
perfection of purity.' 

3. Therefore it is said (still further), ' If the body 
be toiled, and does not rest, it becomes worn out ; 
if the spirit be used without cessation, it becomes 
toiled ; and when toiled, it becomes exhausted. It 
is the nature of water, when free from admixture, 
to be clear, and, when not agitated, to be level ; 
while if obstructed and not allowed to flow, it cannot 
preserve its clearness ; — being an image of the 
virtue of Heaven.' Hence it is said (once again), 
' To be guileless and pure, and free from all admix- 
ture ; to be still and uniform, without undergoing 
any change ; to be indifferent and do nothing ; to 
move and yet to act like Heaven : — this is the way 
to nourish the spirit. Now he who possesses a 

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sword made at Kan-yiieh * preserves it carefully in 
a box, and does not dare to use it ; — it is considered 
the perfection of valuable swords. But the human 
spirit 2 goes forth in all directions, flowing on with- 
out limit, reaching to heaven above, and wreathing 
round the earth beneath. It transforms and 
nourishes all things, and cannot be represented by 
any form. Its name is " the Divinity (in man) 3 ." It 
is only the path of pure simplicity which guards and 
preserves the Spirit. When this path is preserved 
and not lost, it becomes one with the Spirit ; and in 
this ethereal amalgamation, it acts in harmony with 
the orderly operation of Heaven.' 

There is the vulgar saying, ' The multitude of 
men consider gain to be the most important thing ; 
pure scholars, fame ; those who are wise and able 
value their ambition ; the sage prizes essential 
purity.' Therefore simplicity is the denomination 
of that in which there is no admixture ; purity of 
that in which the spirit is not impaired. It is he 
who can embody simplicity and purity whom we call 
the True Man 4 . 

1 Both of the seaboard states of Wu and Yueh were famous 
for the swords produced in them. Kan-yiieh appears to have 
been the name of a valley or place in Wu, famous for the 
weapons made in it; unless indeed we should read -f* 5^, 
instead of -^ %jfc, and take -p ^ as equivalent to ^ ^|, 
which is found in the 3° AT/iwan as the name of Yueh. 

2 Might be translated ' the subtle spirit' 

3 A very remarkable use of Ti {^) for the human spirit in the 
sense of God. The subject of the clause, let the reader observe, is 
that spirit, and not the TSo. See pp. 146, 147, where I have said 
something about it. 

4 See the full account of ' the True Man ' in Book VI. 

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368 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM, bk. xvi. 

Part II. Section IX. 

Shan Hsing, Or 'Correcting the Nature 1 .' 

1. Those who would correct their nature by 
means of the vulgar learning 2 , seeking to restore 
it to its original condition, and those who would 
regulate 3 their desires, by the vulgar ways of think- 
ing, seeking thereby to carry their intelligence to 
perfection, must be pronounced to be deluded and 
ignorant people. The ancients who regulated the 
Tao nourished their faculty of knowledge by their 
placidity, and all through life abstained from 
employing that faculty in action ; — they must be 
pronounced to have (thus also) nourished their 
placidity by their knowledge *. 

When the faculty of knowledge and the placidity 

1 See pp. 147, 148. 

s ' Vulgar ' must mean ' common,' and ' the vulgar learning ' is 
the teaching popular in the time of our author, and which he 
regarded as contrary to the principles of T&oism, of which he 
was an adherent. The Chinese critics say that 'vulgar' here is 
used as the opposite of ' true.' 

3 yH" is generally explained by ja, , ' to confuse,' but I cannot 
construe the sentence with that meaning of the term. In the 
Khang-hsi dictionary which I have followed, the character is 
denned by y& with special reference to this passage. 

* This sentence is the clue to the author's aim in the whole 
Book. The ' knowledge ' is defined by @ £|£ , ' the faculty of 
perception and apprehension.' 

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(thus) blend together, and they nourish each other, 
then from the nature there come forth harmony and 
orderly method. The attributes (of the Tao) con- 
stitute the harmony; the Tao (itself) secures the 
orderly method. When the attributes appear in a 
universal practice of forbearance, we have Benevo- 
lence ; when the path is all marked by orderly 
method, we have Righteousness ; when the right- 
eousness is clearly manifested, and (all) things are 
regarded with affection, we have Leal-heartedness ; 
when the (heart's) core is thus (pure) and real, and 
carried back to its (proper) qualities, we have Music ; 
when this sincerity appears in all the range of the 
capacity, and its demonstrations are in accordance 
with what is elegant, we have Ceremony. If Cere- 
monies and Music are carried out in an imperfect 
and one-sided manner, the world is thrown into con- 
fusion. When men would rectify others, and" their 
own virtue is beclouded, it is not sufficient to ex- 
tend itself to them. If an attempt be made so to 
extend it, they also will lose their (proper) nature. 

2. The men of old, while the chaotic condition 
was yet undeveloped 1 , shared the placid tranquillity 
which belonged to the whole world. At that time 
the Yin and Yang were harmonious and still; their 
resting and movement proceeded without any dis- 
turbance ; the four seasons had their definite times ; 
not a single thing received any injury, and no living 
being came to a premature end. Men might be 

1 These 'men of old ' were what we may call ' primeval men ; ' — 
men in the lowest stage of development; but which our author 
considered to be the highest or paradisiacal condition of their 

[39] B b 

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370 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. xvi. 

possessed of (the faculty of) knowledge, but they 
had no occasion for its use. This was what is called 
the state of Perfect Unity. At this time, there was 
no action on the part of any one, but a constant 
manifestation of spontaneity. 

This condition (of excellence) deteriorated and 
decayed, till Sui-^an and Fu-hsi arose and com- 
menced their administration of the world 1 ; on 
which came a compliance (with their methods), but 
the state of unity was lost. The condition going on 
to deteriorate and decay, Shan Nang and Hwang-Ti 
arose, and took the administration of the world, on 
which (the people) rested (in their methods), but 
did not themselves comply with them. Still the 
deterioration and decay continued till the lords 
of Thang and Yii z began to administer the world. 
These introduced the method of governing by trans- 
formation, resorting to the stream (instead of to the 
spring) 3 , thus vitiating the purity and destroying 
the simplicity (of the nature). They left the Tao, 
and substituted the Good for it, and pursued the 
course of Haphazard Virtue. After this they for- 
sook their nature and followed (the promptings of) 
their minds. One mind and another associated 
their knowledge, but were unable to give rest to the 
world. Then they added to this knowledge (ex- 

1 A'wang-jze gives no hint of how long he considered this 
highest condition to have lasted. Sui-2an, ' the man of the Burning 
Speculum,' 'the Fire-producer,' whom Williams calls 'the Pro- 
metheus of China,' appears before Fu-hsf, as the first in the line of 
the Rulers of the world, who broke up the Primal Unity. 

2 These were Yao and Shun, named from the principalities over 
which their fathers ruled. 

8 ' The streams ' were the methods of culture that arose after the 
simple virtues and spontaneity of the Tao were lost. 

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ternal and) elegant forms, and went on to make 
these more and more numerous. The forms ex- 
tinguished the (primal) simplicity, till the mind was 
drowned by their multiplicity. After this the people 
began to be perplexed and disordered, and had no 
way by which they might return to their true nature, 
and bring back their original condition. 

3. Looking at the subject from this point of view, 
we see how the world lost 1 the (proper) course, and 
how the course (which it took) only led it further 
astray 1 . The world and the Way, when they came 
together, being (thus) lost to each other, how 
could the men of the Way make themselves con- 
spicuous in the world ? and how could the world 
rise to an appreciation of the Way ? . Since the Way 
had no means to make itself conspicuous in the 
world, and the world had no means of rising to an 
appreciation of the Way, though sagely men might 
not keep among the hills and forests, their virtue 
was hidden ; — hidden, but not because they them- 
selves sought to hide it. 

Those whom the ancients called ' Retired Scholars' 
did not conceal their persons, and not allow them- 
selves to be seen ; they did not shut up their words, 
and refuse to give utterance to them ; they did not 
hide away their knowledge, and refuse to bring it 
forth. The conditions laid on them by the times 
were very much awry. If the conditions of the 
times had allowed them to act in the world on a 
great scale, they would have brought back the state 
of unity without any trace being perceived (of how 

1 It is the same character in the text which I have been obliged 
to translate thus differently, — S*. 

B b 2 

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they did so). When those conditions shut them up 
entirely from such action, they struck their roots 
deeper (in themselves), were perfectly still and 
waited. It was thus that they preserved (the Way 
in) their own persons. 

4. The ancients who preserved (the Way in) their 
own persons did not try by sophistical reasonings 
to gloss over their knowledge ; they did not seek to 
embrace (everything in) the world in their know- 
ledge, nor to comprehend all the virtues in it. 
Solitary and trembling they remained where they 
were, and sought the restoration of their nature. 
What had they to do with any further action ? The 
Way indeed is not to be pursued, nor (all) its charac- 
teristics to be .known on a small scale. A little 
knowledge is injurious to those characteristics ; small 
doings are injurious to the Way ; — hence it is said, 
' They simply rectified themselves.' Complete enjoy- 
ment is what is meant by ' the Attainment of the 

What was anciently called ' the Attainment of the 
Aim ' did not mean the getting of carriages and 
coronets * ; it simply meant that nothing more was 
needed for their enjoyment. Now-a-days what is 
called 'the Attainment of the Aim ' means'the getting 
of carriages and coronets. But carriages and coronets 
belong to the body ; they do not affect the nature 
as it is constituted. When such things happen to 
come, it is but for a time ; being but for a time, 
their coming cannot be obstructed and their going 
cannot be stopped 2 . Therefore we should not 

1 That is, worldly distinction. 

2 Because they depend on others. Compare Mencius VI, i, 
ch. 17, 2. ' 

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because of carriages and coronets indulge our aims, 
nor because of distress and straitness resort to the 
vulgar (learning and thinking) ; the one of these 
conditions and the other may equally conduce to 
our enjoyment, which is simply to be free from 
anxiety. If now the departure of what is transient 
takes away one's enjoyment, this view shows that 
what enjoyment it had given was worthless. Hence 
it is said, ' They who lose themselves in their pursuit 
of things, and lose their nature in their study of 
what is vulgar, must be pronounced people who turn 
things upside down.' 

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Part II. Section X. 

Kk'iil Shui, or ' The Floods of Autumn V 

i . The time of the autumnal floods was come, and 
the hundred streams were all discharging themselves 
into the Ho. Its current was greatly swollen 2 , so 
that across its channel from bank to bank one could 
not distinguish an ox from a horse. On this the 
(Spirit-) earl of the Ho 3 laughed with delight, think- 
ing that all the beauty of the world was to be found 
in his charge. Along the course of the river he 
walked east till he came to the North Sea, over 
which he looked, with his face to the east, without 
being able to see where its waters began. Then he 
began to turn his face round, looked across the ex- 
panse, (as if he were) confronting Zo 3 , and said with 
a sigh, ' What the vulgar saying expresses about 
him who has learned a hundred points (of the Tao), 
and thinks that there is no one equal to himself, was 
surely spoken of me. And moreover, I have heard 

1 See pp. 148, 149. 
yljjl here perhaps means ' turbid.' It has nothing to do with 
the river A^ing. 

3 See Mayers's Manual, p. 54. Our author adopts the common 
beliefs or superstitions of his time, and after his fashion puts his 
own reasonings into the mouths of these mythological personages. 
It is more difficult to collect the legends about Zo of the sea, or 
of the Northern Sea. See the Khang-hs! Thesaurus under 

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parties making little of the knowledge of A"ung-ni 
and the righteousness of Po-i, and at first I did not 
believe them. Now I behold the all-but-boundless 
extent (of your realms). If I had not come to your 
gate, I should have been in danger (of continuing 
in my ignorance), and been laughed at for long in 
the schools of our great System 1 .' 

Zo, (the Spirit-lord) of the Northern Sea, said, 
'A frog in a well cannot be talked with about the 
sea ; — he is confined to the limits of his hole. An 
insect of the summer cannot be talked with about 
ice ; — it knows nothing beyond its own season. A 
scholar of limited views cannot be talked with about 
the Tao; — he is bound by the teaching (which he 
has received). Now you have come forth from be- 
tween your banks, and beheld the great sea. You 
have come to know your own ignorance and infe- 
riority, and are in the way of being fitted to be 
talked with about great principles. Of all the waters 
under heaven there are none so great as the sea. 
A myriad streams flow into it without ceasing, and 
yet it is not filled ; and afterwards 2 it discharges 
them (also) without ceasing, and yet it is not emptied. 
In spring and in autumn it undergoes no change ; it 
takes no notice of floods or of drought. Its supe- 
riority over such streams even as the Kiang and the 

1 Thus the Confucian learning and its worthies were to the 
system of the Tao only as the waters of the Ho to the great sea. 

s I have translated here as if the reading were J^g ffij, 
which is given by Lin Hsi-^ung. The correct reading, however, 
so far as depends on editions and dictionaries, is Jg ffl ; which is 
explained in the Khang-hsi dictionary as ' a great Rock in Fu- 
sang on the East,' against which the water of the sea collects, and 
is all evaporated 1 

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Ho cannot be told by measures or numbers ; and 
that I have never, notwithstanding this, made much 
of myself, is because I compare my own bodily form 
with (the greatness of) heaven and earth, and (re- 
member that) I have received my breath from the 
Yin and Yang. Between heaven and earth I am 
but as a small stone or a small tree on a great hill. 
So long as I see myself to be thus small, how should 
I make much of myself ? I estimate all within the 
four seas, compared with the space between heaven 
and earth, to be not so large as that occupied by 
a pile of stones in a large marsh ! I estimate our 
Middle States, compared with the space between the 
four seas, to be smaller than a single little grain of 
rice in a great granary ! When we would set forth 
the number of things (in existence), we speak of them 
as myriads ; and man is only one of them. Men 
occupy all the nine provinces ; but of all whose life 
is maintained by grain -food, wherever boats and 
carriages reach, men form only one portion. Thus, 
compared with the myriads of things, they are not 
equal to a single fine hair on the body of a horse. 
Within this range are comprehended all (the terri- 
tories) which the five Tis received in succession 
from one another; all which the royal founders of 
the three dynasties contended for ; all which excited 
the anxiety of Benevolent men ; and all which men 
in office have toiled for. Po-i was accounted famous 
for declining (to share in its government), and A"ung- 
ni was accounted great because of the lessons which 
he addressed to it. They acted as they did, making 
much of themselves ; — therein like you who a little 
time ago did so of yourself because of your (volume 
of) water ! ' 

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2. The earl of the Ho said, ' Well then, may I 
consider heaven and earth as (the ideal of) what is 
great, and the point of a hair as that of what is 
small ? ' Zo of the Northern Sea replied, ' No. The 
(different) capacities of things are illimitable ; time 
never stops, (but is always moving on) ; man's lot is 
ever changing ; the end and the beginning of things 
never occur (twice) in the same way. Therefore 
men of great wisdom, looking at things far off or 
near at hand, do not think them insignificant for 
being small, nor much of them for being great : — 
knowing how capacities differ inimitably. They ap- 
peal with intelligence to things of ancient and recent 
occurrence, without being troubled by the remote- 
ness of the former, or standing on tiptoe to lay hold 
of the latter : — knowing that time never stops in its 
course. They examine with discrimination (cases of) 
fulness and of want, not overjoyed by success, nor 
disheartened by failure : — knowing the inconstancy 
of man's lot. They know the plain and quiet path 
(in which things proceed), therefore they are not 
overjoyed to live, nor count it a calamity to die: — 
the end and the beginning of things never occurring 
(twice) in the same way. 

' We must reckon that what men know is not so 
much as what they do not know, and that the time 
since they were born is not so long as that which 
elapsed before they were born. When they take 
that which is most small and try to fill with it the 
dimensions of what is most great, this leads to error 
and confusion, and they cannot attain their end. 
Looking at the subject in this way, how can you 
know that the point of a hair is sufficient to deter- 
mine the minuteness of what is most small, or that 

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heaven and earth are sufficient to complete the 
dimensions of what is most large ? ' 

3. The earl of the Ho said, ' The disputers of the 
world all say, " That which is most minute has no 
bodily form ; and that which is most great cannot be 
encompassed ;" — is this really the truth ?' Zo of the 
Northern Sea replied, 'When from the standpoint 
of what is small we look at what is great, we do not 
take it all in ; when from the standpoint of what is 
great we look at what is small, we do not see it 
clearly. Now the subtile essence is smallness in its 
extreme degree ; and the vast mass is greatness in 
its largest form. Different as they are, each has its 
suitability, — according to their several conditions. 
But the subtile and the gross both presuppose that 
they have a bodily form. Where there is no bodily 
form, there is no longer a possibility of numerical 
division ; where it is not possible to encompass a 
mass, there is no longer a possibility of numerical 
estimate. What can be discoursed about in words 
is the grossness of things ; what can be reached in 
idea is the subtilty of things. What cannot be dis- 
coursed about in words, and what cannot be reached 
by nice discrimination of thought, has nothing to 
do either with subtilty or grossness. 

' Therefore while the actions of the Great Man 
are not directed to injure men, he does not plume 
himself on his benevolence and kindness ; while his 
movements are not made with a view to gain, he 
does not consider the menials of a family as mean ; 
while he does not strive after property and wealth, 
he does not plume himself on declining them ; while 
he does not borrow the help of others to accomplish 
his affairs, he does not plume himself on supporting 

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himself by his own strength, nor does he despise 
those who in their greed do what is mean; while 
he differs in his conduct from the vulgar, he does 
not plume himself on being so different from them ; 
while it is his desire to follow the multitude, he does 
not despise the glib-tongued flatterers. The rank 
and emoluments of the world furnish no stimulus to 
him, nor does he reckon its punishments and shame 
to be a disgrace. He knows that the right and the 
wrong can (often) not be distinguished, and that 
what is small and what is great can (often) not be 
defined. I have heard it said, "The Man of Tao 
does not become distinguished ; the greatest virtue 
is unsuccessful ; the Great Man has no thought 
of self;" — to so great a degree may the lot be 

4. The earl of the Ho said, ' Whether the subject 
be what is external in things, or what is internal, 
how do we come to make a distinction between them 
as noble and mean, and as great or small ? ' Zo of 
the Northern Sea replied, ' When we look at them 
in the light of the Tao, they are neither noble 
nor mean. Looking at them in themselves, each 
thinks itself noble, and despises others. Looking 
at them in the light of common opinion, their being 
noble or mean does not depend on themselves. 
Looking at them in their differences from one 
another, if we call those great which are greater 
than others, there is nothing that is not great, and 
in the same way there is nothing that is not small. 
We shall (thus) know that heaven and earth is but 
(as) a grain of the smallest rice, and that the point 
of a hair is (as) a mound or a mountain ; — such is 
the view given of them by their relative size. Look- 

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ing at them from the services they render, allowing 
to everything the service which it does, there is not 
one which is not serviceable ; and, extending the 
consideration to what it does not do, there is not 
one which is not unserviceable. We know (for in- 
stance) that East and West are opposed to each 
other, and yet that the one cannot be without 
(suggesting the idea of) the other ; — (thus) their 
share of mutual service is determined. Looking at 
them with respect to their tendencies, if we approve 
of what they approve, then there is no one who may 
not be approved of ; and, if we condemn what they 
condemn, there is no one who may not be con- 
demned. There are the cases of Yao and A'ieh, 
each of whom approved of his own course, and 
condemned the other;— such is the view arising 
from the consideration of tendency and aim. 

' Formerly Yao and Shun resigned (their thrones), 
and yet each continued to be Tl ; .Afih-khwai x re- 
signed (his marquisate) which led to his ruin. Thang 
and Wu contended (for the sovereignty), and each 
became king ; the duke of Pai 2 contended (for 
Kkxi), which led to his extinction. Looking at the 
subject from these examples of striving by force and 
of resigning, and from the conduct of Yao (on the 
one hand) and of -A^ieli (on the other), we see that 
there is a time for noble acting, and a time for 

1 See Mencius II, ii, ch. 8, and I, ii, chaps, ro, 11, with the 
notes. ~^* is probably a mistake for -¥-*. 

2 See the last narrative but one in the 3° Kkvxa, under the 
sixteenth year of duke Ai of Lu, — the year in which Confucius died. 
' The duke of Pai ' was merely the chief of a district of Khii. ; but 
rebelling against the Ruler of the State, he was defeated, and 
strangled himself. 

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mean; — these characteristics are subject to no re- 
gular rule. 

5. 'A battering ram may be used against the wall 
of a city, but it cannot be employed to stop up a 
hole ; — the uses of implements are different. The 
(horses) Kkih-ki and Hwa-liu 1 could in one day 
gallop 1000 li, but for catching rats they were not 
equal to a wild dog or a weasel ; — the gifts of 
creatures are different. The white horned owl col- 
lects its fleas in the night-time, and can discern the 
point of a hair, but in bright day it stares with its 
eyes and cannot see a mound or a hill ; — the natures 
of creatures are different. 

' Hence the sayings, " Shall we not follow and 
honour the right, and have nothing to do with the 
wrong ? shall we not follow and honour those who 
secure good government, and have nothing to do 
with those who produce disorder ? " show a want of 
acquaintance with the principles of Heaven and 
Earth, and with the different qualities of things. 
It is like following and honouring Heaven and 
taking no account of Earth ; it is like following and 
honouring the Yin and taking no account of the 
Yang. It is clear that such a course cannot be 
pursued. Yet notwithstanding they go on talking 
so : — if they are not stupid, they are visionaries. 
The Tl sovereigns resigned their thrones to others 
in one way, and the rulers of the three dynasties 
transmitted their thrones to their successors in 
another. He who acts differently from the require- 
ments of his time and contrary to its custom is 
called an usurper; he who complies with the time 

1 Two of king Mu's team of eight famous steeds. 

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and follows the common practice is said to be right- 
eous. Hold your peace, O earl of the Ho. How 
should you know what constitutes being noble and 
being mean, or who are the small and who the great?' 

6. The earl of the Ho said, 'Very well. But 
what am I to do ? and what am I not to do ? How 
am I to be guided after all in regard to what I 
accept or reject, and what I pursue or put away 
from me ? ' Zo of the Northern Sea replied, ' From 
the standpoint of the Tao, what is noble ? and what 
is mean ? These expressions are but the different 
extremes of the average level. Do not keep per- 
tinaciously to your own ideas, which put you in 
such opposition to the Tao. What are few ? and 
what are many? These are denominations which 
we employ in thanking (donors) and dispensing 
gifts. Do not study to be uniform in doing so ; — 
it only shows how different you are from the Tao. 
Be severe and strict, like the ruler of a state who 
does not selfishly bestow his favours. Be scrupu- 
lous, yet gentle, like the tutelary spirit of the land, 
when sacrifice is offered to him who does not 
bestow his blessing selfishly. Be large-minded 
like space, whose four terminating points are illimit- 
able, and form no particular enclosures. Hold all 
things in your love, favouring and supporting none 
specially. This is called being without any local 
or partial regard ; all things are equally regarded ; 
there is no long or short among them. 

' There is no end or beginning to the Tao. Things 
indeed die and are born, not reaching a perfect state 
which can be relied on. Now there is emptiness, 
and now fulness ; — they do not continue in one 
form. The years cannot be reproduced ; time 

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cannot be arrested. Decay and growth, fulness 
and emptiness, when they end, begin again. It is 
thus that we describe the method of great righteous- 
ness, and discourse about the principle pervading 
all things. The life of things is like the hurrying 
and galloping along of a horse. With every move- 
ment there is a change ; with every moment there 
is an alteration. What should you be doing ? what 
should you not be doing ? You have only to be 
allowing this course of natural transformation to 
be going on.' 

7. The earl of the Ho said, 'What then is there 
so valuable in the Tao ?' Zo of the Northern Sea 
replied, ' He who knows the Tao is sure to be well 
acquainted with the principles (that appear in the 
procedures of things). Acquainted with (those) 
principles, he is sure to understand how to regulate 
his conduct in all varying circumstances. Having 
that understanding, he will not allow things to 
injure himself. Fire cannot burn him who is (so) 
perfect in virtue, nor water drown him ; neither cold 
nor heat can affect him injuriously ; neither bird nor 
beast can hurt him. This does not mean that he is 
indifferent to these things ; it means that he dis- 
criminates between where he may safely rest and 
where he will be in peril ; that he is tranquil equally 
in calamity and happiness ; that he is careful what 
he avoids and what he approaches ; — so that nothing 
can injure him. Hence it is said, "What is heavenly 
is internal ; what is human is external." The virtue 
(of man) is in what is Heavenly. If you know the 
operation of what is Heavenly and what is Human, 
you will have your root in what is Heavenly and 
your position in Virtue. You will bend or stretch 

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384 THE TEXTS OF TAOISM. bk. xvii. 

(only) after the (necessary) hesitation ; you will have 
returned to the essential, and may be pronounced 
to have reached perfection.' 

' What do you mean,' pursued the earl, ' by the 
Heavenly, and by the Human ? ' Zo replied, 'Oxen 
and horses have four feet; — that is what I call their 
Heavenly (constitution). When horses' heads are 
haltered, and the noses of oxen are pierced, that 
is what I call (the doing of) Man. Hence it is 
said, " Do not by the Human (doing) extinguish the 
Heavenly (constitution) ; do not for your (Human) 
purpose extinguish the appointment (of Heaven) ; 
do not bury your (proper) fame in (such) a pursuit 
of it; carefully guard (the Way) and do not lose 
it : — this is what I call reverting to your True 
(Nature)." ' 

8. The khwei x desires to be like 2 the millipede 1 ; 
the millipede to be like the serpent ; the serpent 
like the wind ; the wind to be like the eye ; and the 
eye to be like the mind 3 . 

The khwei said to the millipede, 'With my one 
leg I hop about, and can hardly manage to go 
along. Now you have a myriad feet which you can 
employ ; how is it that you are so abundantly fur- 
nished ? ' The millipede said, ' It is not so. Have 
you not seen one ejecting saliva ? The largest 
portion of it is like a pearl, while the smaller 
portions fall down like a shower of mist in innumer- 

1 The khwei is 'a sort of dragon (it may be, a worm) with 
one foot.' The hsien has many feet; one account calls it 'a 

s Such is the meaning of the lin or lien. The best commenta- 
tors explain it by hsien (ij|), ' to covet and desire.' 

8 Compare Book I, par. 3, towards the end. 

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able drops. Now I put in motion the springs set 
in me by Heaven, without knowing how I do so.' 

The millipede said to the serpent, ' I go along 
by means of my multitude of feet ; and yet how 
is it that I do not go so fast as you who have no 
feet at all ? ' The serpent replied, ' How can the 
method of moving by the springs set in us by 
Heaven be changed ? How could I make use of 

The serpent said to the wind, ' I get along by 
moving my backbone and ribs, thus appearing to 
have some (bodily) means of progression. But now 
you, Sir, rise with a blustering force in the North 
Sea, and go on in the same way to the South Sea ; 
— seemingly without any such means. How does it 
take place ? ' The wind said, ' Yes. With such a 
blustering force I rise in the North Sea and go 
on to the South Sea. But you can point to me, 
and therein are superior to me, as you are also in 
treading on me. Yet notwithstanding, it is only I 
who can break great trees, and blow down great 
houses. Therefore he whom all that are small 
cannot overcome is a great overcomer. But it is 
only he who is the sagely man * that is the Great 
Conqueror (of all).' 

9. When Confucius was travelling in Khwang 2 , 

1 The sagely man is ' the True man,' who embodies the Tao. 
The Tao has given to the khwei, the millipede, the serpent, and it 
may be said also to the wind, their means of progression and action. 
Nothing is said of the eye and the mind ; — it was not necessary to 
dwell on the T&o in them. 

2 See Confucian Analects, IX, v and XI, xxii. Our author's 
account of this event is his own, constructed by him to convey his 
own Taoistic lessons. 

[39] c c 

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some people of Sung (once) surrounded him (with 
a hostile intention) several ranks deep ; but he kept 
singing to his lute without stopping. 3 ze ~l u came 
in, and saw him, and said, ' How is it, Master, that 
you are so pleased?' Confucius said, 'Come here, 
and I will tell you. I have tried to avoid being 
reduced to such a strait for a long time ; and that 
I have not escaped shows that it was so appointed 
for me. I have sought to find a ruler that would 
employ me for a long time, and that I have not 
found one, shows the character of the time. Under 
Yao and Shun there was no one in the kingdom 
reduced to straits like mine ; and it was not by their 
sagacity that men succeeded as they did. Under 
Afieh and K&u no (good and able man) in the king- 
dom found his way to employment ; and it was not 
for (want of) sagacity that they failed to do so. It 
was simply owing to the times and their character. 

' People that do business on the water do not 
shrink from meeting iguanodons and dragons ; — that 
is the courage of fishermen. Those who do busi- 
ness on land do not shrink from meeting rhinoce- 
roses and tigers ; — that is the courage of hunters. 
When men see the sharp weapons crossed before 
them, and look on death as going home ; — that is the 
courage of the determined soldier. When he knows 
that his strait is determined for him, and that the 
employment of him by a ruler depends on the cha- 
racter of the time, and then meeting with great 
distress is yet not afraid ; — that is the courage of the 
sagely man. Wait, my good Yu, and you will see 
what there is determined for me in my lot' A little 
afterwards, the leader of the armed men approached 
and took his leave, saying, ' We thought you were 

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pt. ii. sect. x. THE WRITINGS OF XWANG-3ZE. 387 

Yang Hu 1 , and therefore surrounded you. Now 
we see our mistake.' (With this) he begged to take 
his leave, and withdrew. 

10. Kung-sun Lung 2 asked Mau of Wei 3 , saying, 
'When I was young, I learned the teachings of the 
former kings ; and when I was grown up, I became 
proficient in the practice of benevolence and right- 
eousness. I brought together the views that agreed 
and disagreed; I considered the questions about 
hardness and whiteness 4 ; I set forth what was to be 
affirmed and what was not, and what was allowable 
and what was not ; I studied painfully the various 
schools of thought, and made myself master of the 
reasonings of all their masters. I thought that I 
had reached a good understanding of every subject ; 
but now that I have heard the words of .Afwang-jze, 
they throw me into a flutter of surprise. I do not 
know whether it be that I do not come up to him in 
the power of discussion, or that my knowledge is not 
equal to his. But now I do not feel able to open my 
mouth, and venture to ask you what course I should 
pursue.' Kung-^ze Mau leant forward on his stool, 
drew a long breath, looked up to heaven, smiled, and 

1 No doubt the Yang Ho of Analects XVII, i. 

2 The grandson (Kung-sun) of one of the rulers of .A'ao (one of 
the three states into which the great state of 3in had been broken 
up). He has come down to us as a philosophic sophist, whose 
views it is not easy to define. See Mayers's Manual, p. 288, and 
Book XXXIII, par. 7. 

3 Wei was another of the divisions of 3in, and Mau was one of 
the sons of its ruler at this time, a great admirer, evidently, of 
.Xwang-jze, and more than a match for the sophist Lung. 

4 Holding, it is supposed, that ' the attributes of material objects, 
such as hardness and colour, are separate existences : '—so Mayers, 
after Wylie. 

C C 2 


said, ' Have you not heard of the frog of the dilapi- 
dated well, and how it said to the turtle of the 
Eastern Sea, " How I enjoy myself? I leap upon 
the parapet of this well. I enter, and having by 
means of the projections formed by the fragments Of 
the broken tiles of the lining proceeded to the water, 
I draw my legs together, keep my chin up, (and 
strike out). When I have got to the mud, I dive 
till my feet are lost in it. Then turning round, I see 
that of the shrimps, crabs, and tadpoles there is not 
one that can do like me. Moreover, when one has 
entire command of all the water in the gully, and 
hesitates to go forward, it is the greatest pleasure to 
enjoy one's self here in this dilapidated well * ; — why 
do not you, Master, often come and enter, and see it 
for yourself ? " The turtle of the Eastern Sea (was 
then proceeding to go forward), but before he had 
put in his left foot, he found his right knee caught 
and held fast. On this he hesitated, drew back, and 
told (the frog) all about the sea, saying, " A distance 
of a thousand It is not sufficient to express its extent, 
nor would (a line of) eight thousand cubits be equal 
to sound its depth. In the time of Yti, for nine 
years out of ten the flooded land (all drained into it), 
and its water was not sensibly increased ; and in the 
time of Thang for seven years out of eight there 
was a drought, but the rocks on the shore (saw) no 
diminution of the water because of it. Thus it is 
that no change is produced in its waters by any 
cause operating for a short time or a long, and that 
they do not advance nor recede for any addition or 
subtraction, whether great or small ; and this is the 
great pleasure afforded by the Eastern Sea." When 

1 A passage difficult to construe. 


the frog of the dilapidated well heard this, he 
was amazed and terror-struck, and lost himself in 

' And moreover, when you, who have not wisdom 
enough to know where the discussions about what 
is right and what is wrong should end, still desire to 
see through the words of A'wang-jze, that is like 
employing a mosquito to carry a mountain on its 
back, or a millipede 1 to gallop as fast as the Ho runs; 
— tasks to which both the insects are sure to be un- 
equal. Still further, when you, who have not wisdom 
enough to know the words employed in discussing 
very mysterious subjects, yet hasten to show your 
sharpness of speech on any occasion that may occur, 
is not this being like the frog of the dilapidated 
well ? 

' And that (Awang-jze) now plants his foot on the 
Yellow Springs (below the earth), and anon rises to 
the height of the Empyrean. Without any regard to 
south and north, with freedom he launches out in 
every direction, and is lost in the unfathomable. 
Without any regard to east and west, starting from 
what is abysmally obscure, he comes back to what is 
grandly intelligible. (All the while), you, Sir, in 
amazement, search for his views to examine them, 
and grope among them for matter for discussion ; 
— this is just like peeping at the heavens through a 
tube, or aiming at the earth with an awl ; are not 
both the implements too small for the purpose ? Go 
your ways, Sir. 

' And have you not heard of the young learners of 

1 A different character from that for a millipede in the last para- 
graph; — a Shang K\i, evidently some small insect, but we cannot 
tell what. 

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Shau-ling 1 , and how they did in Han-tan ? Before 
they had acquired what they might have done in that 
capital, they had forgotten what they had learned to 
do in their old city, and were marched back to it on 
their hands and knees. If now you do not go away, 
you will forget your old acquirements, and fail in 
your profession.' 

Kung-sun Lung gaped on the speaker, and could 
not shut his mouth, and his tongue clave to its roof. 
He slank away and ran off. 

1 1 . A'wang-jze was (once) fishing in the river Phu 2 , 
when the king of Kh\x 3 sent two great officers to 
him, with the message, ' I wish to trouble you with 
the charge of all within my territories.' Afwang-jze 
kept on holding his rod without looking round, and 
said, ' I have heard that in Kkix there is a spirit-like 
tortoise-shell, the wearer of which died 3000 years 
ago *, and which the king keeps, in his ancestral 
temple, in a hamper covered with a cloth. Was it 
better for the tortoise to die, and leave its shell to 
be thus honoured ? Or would it have been better 
for it to live, and keep on dragging its tail through 
the mud ? ' The two officers said, ' It would have 
been better for it to live, and draw its tail after it 
over the mud 5 .' ' Go your ways. I will keep on 
drawing my tail after me through the mud.' 

1 A city of A'ao, as Han-tan was its capital. Of the incident 
referred to, I have not been able to learn anything. The ' were 
marched ' gives my idea of what it may have been. 

2 A river, which still gives its name to Phu-$hi, department 
Khzo-kan, Shan-tung. 

3 Probably king Wei, b. c. 339-330. 
* A good antiquity for Khb. ! 

5 ? A species of Testudo Serpentina, such as is often seen on 
pieces of Japanese lacquer-ware. 

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12. Hui-jze being a minister of state in Liang 1 , 
isfwang-jze went to see him. Some one had told 
Hui-jze that .ATwang-jze was come with a wish to 
supersede him in his office, on which he was afraid, 
and instituted a search for the stranger all over the 
kingdom for three days and three nights. (After 
this) .Afwangize went and saw him, and said, ' There 
is in the south a bird, called " the Young Phoenix - ;" 
— do you know it ? Starting from the South Sea, it 
flies to the Northern ; never resting but on the 
bignonia 3 , never eating but the fruit of the melia 
azederach 4 , and never drinking but from the purest 
springs. An owl, which had got a putrid rat, (once), 
when a phoenix went passing overhead, looked up 
to it and gave an angry scream. Do you wish now, 
in your possession of the kingdom of Liang, to 
frighten me with a similar scream ? ' 

13. iifwang-jze and Hui-jze were walking on 
the dam over the Hao 6 , when the former said, 
' These thryssas come out, and play about at their 
ease ; — that is the enjoyment of fishes.' The other 
said, ' You are not a fish ; how do you know what 

1 Another name for Wei, so called from its capital; — in the 
present department of Khai-fang. 

2 So the critics explain the name. Williams thinks the bird may 
be ' the argus pheasant,' or ' a variety of the peacock.' But what 
the bird was does not affect the meaning of our author's reference 
to it. 

8 One of the Eleococcae, the Dryandra Cordifolia of 

* All the editions I have seen give •SB here, which makes no 
sense. The character should doubtless be /lift, with the meaning 
which I have given ; and not ' bamboo,' which is found in the 
critics. It is also called ' the Pride of India.' 

3 A river in the department and district of Fung-yang, An-hui. 

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constitutes the enjoyment of fishes 1 ?' ./sTwang-jze 
rejoined, 'You are not I. How do you know that I do 
not know what constitutes the enjoyment of fishes ? ' 
Hui-jze said, ' I am not you ; and though indeed I do 
not fully know you, you certainly are not a fish, and 
(the argument) is complete against your knowing 
what constitutes the happiness of fishes.' A^wang-jze 
replied, ' Let us keep to your original question. You 
said to me, " How do you know what constitutes the 
enjoyment of fishes ? " You knew that I knew it, 
and yet you put your question to me ;— well, I know 
it (from our enjoying ourselves together) over the 

1 Surely a captious question. We infer the feelings of other 
creatures from their demonstrations. 

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