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Mair 11:4

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The Yellow Emperor had been established as the Son of Heaven for nineteen years and his orders were carried out by all under heaven, when he heard that Master Broadly Complete was staying on Mount Emptysame, so he went to see him.  "I have heard that you, sir, are accomplished in the ultimate Way," said the Yellow Emperor.  "I venture to ask what the essence of the ultimate Way is.  I wish to take the essence of heaven and earth to assist the growth of the five grains for the nourishment of the people.  I also wish to direct the yin and the yang to conform with the needs of all living beings.  What should I do in order to accomplish this?"

"That which you wish to ask about," said Master Broadly Complete, "is the original substance of things.  That which you wish to direct is the residue of things.  Ever since you have governed all under heaven, the cloudy vapors have released their moisture before gathering, the trees and grasses have shed their leaves before turning yellow, and the light of the sun and moon have grown increasingly dim.  You have the mind of a garrulous flatterer and are unfit to be told about the ultimate Way."

The Yellow Emperor retreated, gave up all under heaven, built himself an isolated hut, spread a mat made of white couch grass, and dwelt there unoccupied for three months.  Then he went again to request instruction.

Master Broadly Complete was lying down with his head toward the south.  With a deferential air, the Yellow Emperor crept forward on his knees.  Bowing twice, he kowtowed and inquired of him, saying, "I've heard that you, sir, are accomplished in the ultimate Way.  I venture to ask how I may govern my person so that I may long endure."

"An excellent question!" said Master Broadly Complete, getting up abruptly.  "Come!  I shall tell you about the ultimate Way.

Cavernously dark
Is the essence of the ultimate Way;
Profoundly silent
Is the extremity of the ultimate Way.

There is neither sight nor hearing.
When it embraces the spirit in stillness,

The form will correct itself.
You must be still—you must be pure.
Do not toil your physical form;
Do not stir up your essence.
Then you will be able to live long.

"If the eyes see nothing, the ears hear nothing, and the mind knows nothing,

Your spirit will guard your form,
And your form will live long.

Be careful of what is inside you
and close yourself off to what is outside,
For much knowledge will defeat you.

"I will lead you to the height of great brightness, where we shall arrive at the source of ultimate yang.  I will guide you through the gate of cavernous darkness, where we shall arrive at the source of ultimate yin.  Heaven and earth have their directors; yin and yang have their treasuries.  Carefully guard your body, and leave other things to prosper themselves.  I guard the one so as to dwell in harmony.  Thus have I cultivated my person for one thousand two hundred years and my physical form has still not decayed."

Bowing twice, the Yellow Emperor kowtowed and said, "Master Broadly Complete's instructions are from heaven?"

"Come!" said Master Broadly Complete.  "I shall tell you.  The thing you seek is inexhaustible, but men all believe it has an end.  The thing you seek is unfathomable, but men all believe it has a limit.  He who attains my Way will be one of the august on high or a king below.  He who loses my Way may see the light above but will remain as the soil below.  Now,

All things that flourish
are born of the soil
and return to the soil.


I shall leave you
To enter the gate of inexhaustibility
And to roam in the fields of infinity.
I shall mingle my light
with that of the sun and moon,
And will become eternal
with heaven and earth.

I shall be unmindful
of what approaches me
And oblivious
of what distances itself from me.
Men may die altogether,
But I alone will survive!"
Edited by Marblehead
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