June 21st, 2010

Chapter 38

The highest attainment (Te) is free from attainment.
Therefore, there is attainment.
The lowest attainment is never free from attainment.
Therefore, there is no attainment.
The highest attainment never acts and is purposeless.
The lowest attainment acts and is purposeful.
The highest benevolence (jen) acts and is purposeless.
The highest righteousness (yi) acts and is purposeful.
The highest propriety acts and no one follows it.
One bares one's arms and throws one's opportunity away.
Therefore when Tao is lost, we have attainment,
When attainment is lost, we have benevolence.
When benevolence is lost, we have righteousness.
When righteousness is lost, we have propriety
Propriety is due to a lack of trustworthiness, and is the beginning of disorder.
Anticipated knowledge is the superficiality of Tao and is the beginning of foolishness.
Hence, the great man chooses reality and not superficiality.
He acts according to reality and not appearance.
Thus, he grasps the one and foregoes the other.

                            Translated by Chang Chung-yuan, 1975.


A truly good man is not aware of his goodness,
And is therefore good.
A foolish man tries to be good,
And is therefore not good.

A truly good man does nothing,
Yet leaves nothing undone.
A foolish man is always doing,
Yet much remains to be done.

When a truly kind man does something, he leaves nothing undone.
When a just man does something, he leaves a great deal to be done.
When a disciplinarian does something and no one responds,
He rolls up his sleeves in an attempt to enforce order.

Therefore when Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is kindness.
When kindness is lost, there is justice.
When justice is lost, there ritual.
Now ritual is the husk of faith and loyalty, the beginning of confusion.
Knowledge of the future is only a flowery trapping of Tao.
It is the beginning of folly.

Therefore the truly great man dwells on what is real and not what is on the surface,
On the fruit and not the flower.
Therefore accept the one and reject the other.
People with integrity
don't even think about it.
That's how you can tell
they have integrity.
Other people talk about
how much integrity they have,
when they really don't have much.
If any.

Truly powerful people
don't do anything,
but they get the job done.
Other people are always busy
doing something,
but nothing ever gets done.

When kind people act,
they do so without thinking about it.
When the just act,
they're always sure
they're doing the right thing.
But when the righteous act,
and nobody reacts,
they try to force everyone
to do things their way.

If you're not in touch with Tao,
at least you can still have integrity.
If you don't have integrity,
there's always kindness.
If you don't have kindness,
there's always justice.
If you don't have justice,
all you have left is righteousness.

Righteousness is an pale imitation
of true faith and loyalty,
and always leads to trouble.
If you've already made up your mind,
you don't know the first thing about Tao,
and you never will.

The Masters pay attention
to what's beneath the surface.
They'll look at a tree's leaves,
but eat the fruit.
They turn all that down,
so they can accept this.

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.