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Freedom Founts

Source Materials About Freedom


1. What (Dào's) skilful planter plants
      Can never be uptorn;
    What his skilful arms enfold,
      From him can ne'er be borne.
    Sons shall bring in lengthening line,
    Sacrifices to his shrine.


2. Dào when nursed within one's self,
      His vigour will make true;
    And where the family it rules
      What riches will accrue!
    The neighbourhood where it prevails
      In thriving will abound;
    And when 'tis seen throughout the state,
      Good fortune will be found.
    Employ it the kingdom o'er,
      And men thrive all around.


3. In this way the effect will be seen in the person, by the observation of different cases; in the family; in the neighbourhood; in the state; and in the kingdom.


4. How do I know that this effect is sure to hold thus all under the sky? By this (method of observation).

Legge's Comments

修觀, 'The Cultivation (of the Dào), and the Observation (of its Effects).' The sentiment of the first paragraph is found in the twenty-seventh and other previous chapters,—that the noiseless and imperceptible acting of the Dào is irresistible in its influence; and this runs through to the end of the chapter with the additional appeal to the influence of its effects. The introduction of the subject of sacrifices, a religious rite, though not presented to the Highest Object, will strike the reader as peculiar in our Jīng.

The Dé mentioned five times in par. 2 is the 'virtue' of the Dào embodied in the individual, and extending from him in all the spheres of his occupation, and is explained differently by Hán Fēi according to its application; and his example I have to some extent followed.

The force of pars. 3 and 4 is well given by Héshàng Gōng. On the first clause he says, 'Take the person of one who cultivates the Dào, and compare it with that of one who does not cultivate it;—which is in a state of decay? and which is in a state of preservation?'