Article Index

21.1 The surest test if a man be sane Is if he accepts life whole, as it is,
21.2 Without needing by measure or touch to understand The measureless untouchable source Of its images, The measureless untouchable source Of its substances, The source which, while it appears dark emptiness, Brims with a quick force Farthest away And yet nearest at hand
21.3 From oldest time unto this day, Changing its images with origin:
21.4 What more need I know of the origin Than this?

22.1 "Yield and you need not break:" Bent you can straighten, Emptied you can hold, Torn you can mend; And as want can reward you So wealth can bewilder.
22.2 Aware of this, a wise man has the simple return Which other men seek:
22.3 Without inflaming himself He is kindled, Without explaining himself Is explained, Without taking credit Is accredited, Laying no claim Is acclaimed
22.4 And, because he does not compete, Finds peaceful competence.
22.5 How true is the old saying "Yield and you need not break"! How completely it comes home!

23.1 Nature does not have to insist, Can blow for only half a morning, Rain for only half a day,
23.2 And what are these winds and these rains but natural? If nature does not have to insist, Why should man?
23.3 It is natural too That whoever follows the way of life feels alive, That whoever uses it properly feels well used, Whereas he who loses the way of life feels lost,
23.4 That whoever keeps to the way of life Feels at home, Whoever uses it properly Feels welcome, Whereas he who uses it improperly Feels improperly used:
23.5 'Fail to honour people, They fail to honour you.'

24.1 Standing tiptoe a man loses balance, Walking stride he has no pace,
24.2 Kindling himself he fails to light, Acquitting himself he forfeits his hearers,
24.3 Admiring himself he does so alone. Pride has never brought a man greatness
24.4 But, according to the way of life, Brings the ills that make him unfit, Make him unclean in the eyes of his neighbour, And a sane man will have none of them.

25.1 Before creation a presence existed, Self-contained, complete, Formless, voiceless, mateless, Changeless, Which yet pervaded itself With unending motherhood.
25.2 Though there can be no name for it, I have called it 'the way of life.' Perhaps I should have called it 'the fullness of life,'
25.3 Since fullness implies widening into space, Implies still further widening, Implies widening until the circle is whole.
25.4 In this sense The way of life is fulfilled, Heaven is fulfilled, Earth fulfilled And a fit man also is fulfilled: These are the four amplitudes of the universe And a fit man is one of them:
25.5 Man rounding the way of earth, Earth rounding the way of heaven, Heaven rounding the way of life Till the circle is full.

26.1 Gravity is the root of all grace, The mainstay of all speed.
26.2 A traveler of true means, whatever the days pace, Remembers his provision-van And, however fine prospect be offered, is a man With a calm head.
26.3 What lord of countless chariots would ride them in vain, Would make himself fool of the realm,
26.4 With pace beyond rein, Speed beyond helm?

27.1 One may move so well that a footprint never shows, Speak so well that the tongue never slips, Reckon so well that no counter is needed,
27.2 Seal an entrance so tight, though using no lock, That it cannot be opened, Bind a hold so firm, though using no cord, That it cannot be untied.
27.3 All these are traits not only of a sound man But of many a man thought to be unsound. A sound man is good at salvage, At seeing than nothing is lost. Having what is called insight,
27.4 A good man, before he can help a bad man, Finds in himself the matter with the bad man.
27.5 And whichever teacher Discounts the lesson Is as far off the road as the other, Whatever else he may know. That is the heart of it.

28.1 'One who has a man's wings And a woman's also Is in himself a womb of the world' And, being a womb of the world, Continuously, endlessly, Gives birth;
28.2 One who, preferring light, Prefers darkness also Is in himself an image of the world And, being an image of the world, Is continuously, endlessly The dwelling of creation;
28.3 One who is highest of men And humblest also Is in himself a valley of the world, And, being a valley of the world, Continuously, endlessly Conducts the one source From which vessels may be usefully filled;
28.4 Servants of the state are such vessels, To be filled from an undiminishing supply.

29.1 Those who would take over the earth And shape it to their will Never, I notice, succeed.
29.2 The earth is like a vessel so sacred That at the mere approach of the profane It is marred And when they reach out their fingers it is gone.
29.3 For a time in the world some force themselves ahead And some are left behind, For a time in the world some make a great noise And some are held silent, For a time in the world some are puffed fat And some are kept hungry, For a time in the world some push aboard And some are tipped out:
29.4 At no time in the world will a man who is sane Over-reach himself, Over-spend himself, Over-rate himself.

30.1 One who would guide a leader of men in the uses of life Will warn him against the use of arms for conquest. Weapons often turn upon the wielder,
30.2 An army's harvest is a waste of thorns, Conscription of a multitude of men Drains the next year dry.
30.3 A good general, daring to march, dares also to halt, Will never press his triumph beyond need.
30.4 What he must do he does but not for glory, What he must do he does but not for show, What he must do he does but not for self; He has done it because it had to be done, Not from a hot head.
30.5 Let life ripen and then fall, Force is not the way at all: Deny the way of life and you are dead.

31.1 Even the finest arms are an instrument of evil, A spread of plague, And the way for a vital man to go is not the way of a soldier.
31.2 But in time of war men civilized in peace Turn from their higher to their lower nature.
31.3 Arms are an instrument of evil, No measure for thoughtful men Until there fail all other choice But sad acceptance of it.
31.4 Triumph is not beautiful. He who thinks triumph beautiful Is one with a will to kill, And one with a will to kill Shall never prevail upon the world.
31.5 It is a good sign when man's higher nature comes forward, When retainers take charge And the master stays back As in the conduct of a funeral.
31.6 The death of a multitude is a cause for mourning: Consider your triumph as a funeral.
32.4 But men of culture came, with their grades and their distinctions; And as soon as such differences had been devised No one knew where to end them, Though the one who does know the end of all such differences Is the sound man:

32.1 Existence is infinite, not to be defined; And, though it seems a bit of wood in your hand, to carve as you please, It is not to be lightly played with and laid down.
32.2 When rulers adhered to the way of life, They were upheld by natural loyalty:
32.3 Heaven and earth were joined and made fertile, Life was a freshness of rain, Subject to none, Free to all.
32.5 Existence Might be likened to the course Of many rivers reaching the one sea.

33.1 Knowledge studies others, Wisdom is self-known;
33.2 Muscle masters brothers, Self mastery is bone;
33.3 Content need never borrow, Ambition wanders blind:
33.4 Vitality cleaves to the marrow Leaving death behind.

34.1 Bountiful life, letting anyone attend, Making no distinction between left or right.
34.2 Feeding everyone, refusing no one, Has not provided this bounty to show how much it owns, Has not fed and clad its guests with any thought of claim;
34.3 And, because it lacks the twist Of mind and body in what it has done, The guile of head or hands, Is not always respected by a guest.
34.4 Others appreciate welcome from the perfect host
34.5 Who, barely appearing to exist, Exists the most.

35.1 If the sign of life is in your face He who responds to it Will feel secure and fit
35.2 As when, in a friendly place, Sure of hearty care, A traveler gladly waits.
35.3 Though it may not taste like food And he may not see the fare Or hear the sound of plates, How endless it is and how good!

36.1 He who feels punctured Must once have been a bubble, He who feels unarmed Must have carried arms, He who feels belittled Must have been consequential, He who feels deprived Must have had privilege,
36.2 Whereas a man with insight Knows that to keep under is to endure.
36.3 What happens to a fish pulled out of a pond? Or to an implement of state pulled out of a scabbard? Unseen, they survive.

37.1 The way to use life is to do nothing through acting, The way to use life is to do everything through being.
37.2 When a leader knows this, His land naturally goes straight. And the world's passion to stray from straightness Is checked at the core By the simple undatable cleanness Through which men cease from coveting,
37.3 And to a land where men cease from coveting Peace comes of course.

38.1 A man of sure fitness, without making a point of his fitness, Stays fit; A man of unsure fitness, assuming an appearance of fitness, Becomes unfit.
38.2 The man of sure fitness never makes an act of it Nor considers what it may profit him; The man of unsure fitness makes an act of it And considers what it may profit him.
38.3 However a man with a kind heart may proceed, He forgets what it may profit him; However a man with a just mind proceed, He remembers what it may profit him; However a man of conventional conduct proceed, if he be not complied with Out goes his fist to enforce compliance.
38.4 Here is what happens: Losing the way of life, men rely first on their fitness; Losing fitness, they turn to kindness; Losing kindness, they turn to justness; Losing justness, they turn to convention.
38.5 Conventions are fealty and honesty gone to waste, They are the entrance of disorder. False teachers of life use flowery words And start nonsense.
38.6 The man of stamina stays with the root Below the tapering. Stays with the fruit Beyond the flowering: He has his no and he has his yes.

39.1 The wholeness of life has, from of old, been made manifest in its parts: Clarity has been made manifest in heaven, Firmness in earth, Purity in the spirit,
39.2 In the valley conception, In the river procreation; And so in a leader are the people made manifest For wholeness of use.
39.3 But for clarity heaven would be veiled, But for firmness earth would have crumbled, But for purity spirit would have fumbled,
39.4 But for conception the valley would have failed, But for procreation the river have run dry; So, save for the people, a leader shall die:
39.5 Always the low carry the high On a root for growing by. What can stand lofty with no low foundation?
39.6 No wonder leaders of a land profess Their stature and their station To be servitude and lowliness!
39.7 If rim and spoke and hub were not, Where would be the chariot?
39.8 Who will prefer the jingle of jade pendants if He once has heard stone growing in a cliff!

40.1 Life on its way returns into a mist, Its quickness is its quietness again:
40.2 Existence of this world of things and men Renews their needing to exist.