The (state of) vacancy should be brought to the utmost degree,
and that of stillness guarded with unwearying vigour.
|By attaining the height of abstraction we gain fulness of rest.
||Seek to attain an open mind (the summit of vacuity). Seek composure (the essence
All things alike go through their processes of activity, and (then) we see them
return (to their original state). Then things (in
the vegetable world) have displayed their luxuriant
growth, we see each of them return to its root. This
returning to their root is what we call the state
of stillness; and that stillness may be called a
reporting that they have fulfilled their appointed
end. The report of that fulfilment is the regular,
unchanging rule. To know that unchanging rule is
to be intelligent; not to know it leads
to wild movements and evil issues.
All the ten thousand things arise, and I see them return. Now they bloom in bloom
but each one homeward returneth to its root.Returning
to the root means rest. It signifies the return according
to destiny. Return according to destiny means the
eternal. Knowing the eternal means enlightenment.
Not knowing the eternal causes passions to rise;
and that is evil.
All things are in process, rising and returning. Plants come to blossom, but
only to return to the root. Returning to the root
is like seeking tranquillity; it is moving towards
its destiny. To move toward destiny is like eternity.
To know eternity is enlightenment, and not to recognize
eternity brings disorder and evil.
||The knowledge of that unchanging rule produces a (grand) capacity and forbearance,
and that capacity and forbearance lead to a community
(of feeling with all things). From this community of
feeling comes a kingliness of character; and he who
is king-like goes on to be heaven-like. In that likeness
to heaven he possesses the Dao. Possessed of the Dao,
he endures long; and to the end of his bodily life,
is exempt from all danger of decay.
||Knowing the eternal renders comprehensive. Comprehensiveness renders broad.
Breadth renders royal. Royalty renders heavenly. Heaven
renders Reason-like. Reason renders lasting. Thus the
decay of the body implies no danger.
||Knowing eternity makes one comprehensive; comprehension makes one broadminded;
breadth of vision brings nobility; nobility is like
heaven.The heavenly is like Dao. Dao is the Eternal.
The decay of the body is not to be feared.