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Neiye - Section 14 - The Limits of Contemplation

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Section 14: The Limits of Contemplation


When your four limbs are balanced and the qi of your blood tranquil,
unify your thoughts and concentrate your mind.
Eyes and ears never astray,
though distant, it will be as though near.
Contemplative thought gives birth to knowledge;
careless laxity gives birth to cares;
violent arrogance gives birth to resentments;
cares and melancholy give birth to illness.
If you contemplate things and don’t let go,
you will be harried within and haggard without.
If you don’t plan against this early on,
your life will slip away from its abode.
When eating, it is best not to eat one’s fill.
When contemplating, it is best not to carry it to the end.
When there is regularity and equilibrium,
it will come of itself.




四 體 既 正 Once the four limbs are properly aligned,
血 氣 既 靜 Once blood and Qi are still :
一 意 搏 心 Unify your intent, consolidateR your heart/mind;
耳 目 不 淫 And the ears and eyes will be restrained
雖 遠 若 近 Even though what is remote seems near.
思 索 生 知 Deep contemplation creates understanding;
慢 易 生 憂 Disdain and laxity creates worries;
暴 傲 生 怨 Cruelty and arrogance creates resentment;
憂 鬱 生 疾 Worries and melancholy create sickness.
疾 因 乃 死 Sickness then causes death.
思 之 而 不 捨 If you contemplate these and do not let go of them,
內 困 外 薄 Inside you will be distressed, outside you will be weak.
不 蚤 為 圖 Do not neglectS to make plans for this,
生 將 讓 舍 Or life will leave its dwelling.
食 莫 若 無 飽 Do not eat as if you were starving,
思 莫 若 勿 致 Do not contemplate as if you were indifferent.
節 適 之 齊 When you restrain these appropriately and simultaneously,
彼 將 自 至 That [Dao] will naturally arrive.



-- Section 19 --

15. When the four limbs are aligned
16. And the blood and vital breath are tranquil,
17. Unify your awareness, concentrate your mind,
18. Then your eyes and ears will not be overstimulated.
19. And even the far-off will seem close at hand.

-- Section 20 --
1. Deep thinking generates knowledge.
2. Idleness and carelessness generate worry.
3. Cruelty and arrogance generate resentment.
4. Worry and grief generate illness.
5. When illness reaches a distressing degree, you die.
6. When you think about something and don’t let got of it,
7. Internally you will be distressed, externally you will be weak.
8. Do not plan things out in advance
9. Or else your vitality will cede its dwelling.
10. In eating, it is best not to fill up;
11. In thinking, it is best not to overdo.
12. Limit these to the apropriate degree
13. And you will naturally reach it [vitality].

Shazi Daoren: Concentrating Qi


-- Section 19 --
When your four limbs are aligned,
your blood and Qi are tranquil.
When your mind is one and your heart concentrated,
and your ears and eyes not distracted,
even that which is most remote will be accessible.

-- Section 20 -- Self-Realization
Thinking and searching generate knowledge.
Laziness and ease generate worry.
Cruelty and arrogance generate resentment.
Worry and grief generate disease.
Disease then causes death.
When you think about it and don't let it go,
you will be internally distressed and externally weak.
Don’t let little things become big plans,
else life will abandon you.
Eat, but do not exceed your appetite,
think, but do not overanalyze.
Temper and put these in balance,
and you will attain self-realization.



-- Section 19 --
When the four limbs become aligned,
The blood and qi become tranquil.
Unify your awareness and concentrate the heart-mind,
Then the ears and eyes will not overflow with stimulation.
And even the remote will seem close at hand.

-- Section 20 --
Thinking and inquiring give rise to knowing.
Idleness and carelessness give rise to worry.
Cruelty and arrogance give rise to resentment.
Worry and grief give rise to illness.
When illness reaches its apex, then you die.
When you think about something and don't let go,
There will be internal distress and external weakness.
Do not plan things out prematurely
Or your vitality will abandon its dwelling place.
In eating, it is most appropriate not to fill up.
In thinking, it is most appropriate not to overdo.
Regulate these to an appropriate degree of activity,
And you will naturally reach vitality.


249 四體 既正,
When the four limbs are aligned,
250 血氣既靜,
The blood and energy-breath are tranquil
251 一意摶心,
When unifying intention and consolidating the heart,
252 耳目不淫,
The ears and eyes do not indulge,
253 雖遠若近。
Yet what is far off is as though near.
254 思索生知,
Thinking and searching give rise to knowledge;
255 慢易生憂,
Sluggishness and idleness give rise to anxiety; {32}
256 暴傲生怨,
Aggression and arrogance give rise to anger;
257 憂鬱生疾,
Anxiety and constraint gives rise to illness.
258 疾困乃死。
When illness overwhelms, there is death.{33}
259 思之而不捨,
By thinking about it, and not letting go,
260 內困外薄。
Internally, one is overwhelmed, and externally one is frail.
261 不蚤{34}為圖,
If one does not make premature determinations,
262 生將巽{35}舍。
The life-force will later re-establish itself.
263 食莫若無 飽。
Eat, but not as though you cannot be filled.
264 思莫若勿致。
Think, but not as though there is no objective.
265 節適之齊,
Regulate these things accordingly,
266 彼將自至。
And they will eventually do so of themselves.


{32} You (憂) appears elsewhere in the Nei Ye with the meaning “sorrow” in common groupings of emotions, but appears  here with its meaning as “anxiety” as evidenced by the context.
{33} This could be read as a cause and effect progression from over thinking through to death, and should be considered alongside the general Daoist attitude towards superfluous knowledge. Thus, “thinking and searching lead to knowledge” and a downward spiral, rather than aiding in fluid adaptation to change “without being displaced.” It also leads to overwhelming the mind and body to a perilous degree, perhaps explaining how one predicts the future without divining
(NY235-253). part of the course for “changing fortune” mentioned in the passage above.
{34} 蚤 means “early” in ancient texts
{35} 將 and 巽 both suggest “proceeding; later”

Edited by dawei

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