For the rebels who have passed through to the next ‘phase’. ..
‘To exercise no thought and no anxious consideration is the first step towards knowing the Tâo; to dwell nowhere and do nothing is the first step towards resting in the Tâo; to start from nowhere and pursue no path is the first step towards making the Tâo your own.’
Knowledge then asked Hwang-Tî, saying, ‘I and you know this; those two did not know it; which of us is right?’ The reply was, ‘Dumb Inaction3 is truly right; Heedless Blurter has an appearance of being so; I and you are not near being so. (As it is said), “Those who know (the Tâo) do not speak of it; those who speak of it do not know it4;” and “Hence the sage conveys his instructions without the use of speech4.”
The Tâo cannot be made ours by constraint; its characteristics will not come to us (at our call). Benevolence may be practised; Righteousness may be partially attended to; by Ceremonies men impose on one another.
Hence it is said,
“When the Tâo was lost, its Characteristics appeared. When its Characteristics were lost, Benevolence appeared. When Benevolence was lost, Righteousness appeared. When Righteousness was lost, Ceremonies appeared. Ceremonies are but (the unsubstantial) flowers of the Tâo, and the commencement of disorder1.”
Hence (also it is further said),
“He who practises the Tâo, daily diminishes his doing. He diminishes it and again diminishes it, till he arrives at doing nothing. Having arrived at this non-inaction, there is nothing that he does not do1.”
Here now there is something, a regularly fashioned utensil;–if you wanted to make it return to the original condition of its materials, would it not be difficult to make it do so? Could any but the Great Man accomplish this easily2?
‘Life is the follower of death, and death is the predecessor of life; but who knows the Arranger (of this connexion between them)3?
The life is due to the collecting of the breath. When that is collected, there is life; when it is dispersed, there is death. Since death and life thus attend on each other, why should I account (either of) them an evil?
‘Therefore all things go through one and the same experience. (Life) is accounted beautiful because it is spirit-like and wonderful, and death is accounted ugly because of its foetor and putridity. But the foetid and putrid is transformed again into the spirit-like and wonderful, and the spirit-like and wonderful is transformed again into the foetid and putrid. Hence it is said, “All under the sky there is one breath of life, and therefore the sages prized that unity 1,”‘