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Neiye - Section 15 - Moderating Emotions and Desires

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Section 15: Moderating Emotions and Desires


In the life of man,
heaven produces his essence,
earth produces his form.
These are combined and create a man.
With harmony there comes life,
without harmony there is no life.
In discerning the Dao of harmony,
its essence is invisible,
its manifestations belong to no class.
When level balance controls the breast
and sorted regularity lies within the heart,
long life is assured.
If joy and anger lose their proper rule,
attend to this.
Moderate the five desires,
eliminate the two evils –
neither joyous nor angered –
and level balance will control your breast.
The life of man must rely on level – balance,
and these are lost through the heart’s joy and anger, cares and dismay.
To quell anger nothing is better than the Poetry.
To dismiss cares, nothing is better than music.
To moderate joy, nothing is better than li.
To observe li, nothing is better than attentiveness.
To maintain attentiveness, nothing is better than tranquility.
Inwardly tranquil,
outwardly attentive,
able to return to your nature:
thus will your nature be well stabilized.



凡 人 之 生 也 Always : at the birth of people –
天 出 其 精 Heaven produces their essence,
地 出 其 形 Earth produces their form;
合 此 以 為 人 These combine in order to make people.
和 乃 生 When these are in harmony then there is life;
不 和 不 生 No harmony, no life.
察 和 之 道 Observe the Dao of harmony :
其 精 不 見 Its essence is not seen,
其 徵 不 醜 Its manifestations are not wicked.
平 正 擅 匈 When equability and proper alignment completely fill your breast,
論 治 在 心 And the principles of regulation are in your heart/mind,
此 以 長 壽 This gives long life.
喜 怒 之 失 度 When love and anger lose their proper value,
乃 為 之 圖 Then use this plan of action :
節 其 五 欲 Restrain your five desiresU,
去 其 二 凶 Leave behind your two misfortunes –
不 喜 不 怒 Do not love, do not be angry.
平 正 擅 匈 Then equability and proper alignment will completely fill your breast.
凡 人 之 生 也 Always : at the birth of people –
必 以 平 正 They certainly have equability and proper alignment.
所 以 失 之 The reason that they lose it
必 以 喜 怒 憂 患 Is certainly due to love, anger, worries, suffering.
是 故 止 怒 莫 若 詩 Thus : there is nothing that stops anger like poetry,
去 憂 莫 若 樂 There is nothing that removes worries like music,
節 樂 莫 若 禮 There is nothing that restrains music like propriety,
守 禮 莫 若 敬 There is nothing that maintains propriety* like respect.
守 敬 莫 若 靜 [But,] there is nothing that maintains respect* like stillness.
內 靜 外 敬 Inwardly still and outwardly respectful,
能 反 其 性 You can return to your [original] nature,
性 將 大 定 And your nature will be exceptionally settled.



-- Section 21 --

1. As for the life of all human beings:
2. The heavens brings forth their vital essence,
3. The earth brings forth their bodies.
4. These two combine to make a person.
5. When they are in harmony there is vitality;
6. When they are not in harmony there is no vitality.
7. If we examine the Way of harmonizing them,
8. Its essentials are not visable,
9. Its signs are not numerous.
10. Just let a balanced and aligned [breathing] fill your chest
11. And it will swirl and blend with your mind,
12. This confers longevity.
13. When joy and anger are not limited,
14. You should make a plan [to limit them].
15. Restrict the five sense-desires;
16. Cast away these dual misfortunaes.
17. Be not joyous, be not angry,
18. Just let a balanced and aligned [breathing] fill your chest.

-- Section 22 --
1. As for the vitality of all human beings:
2. It inevitably occurs because of balanced and aligned [breathing].
3. The reason for its loss
4. Is inevitably pleasure and anger, worry and anxiety.
5. Therefore, to bring your anger to a halt, there is nothing better than poetry;
6. To cast off worry there is nothing better than music;
7. To limit music there is nothing better than rites;
8. To hold onto the rites there is nothing better than reverence;
9. To hold onto reverence there is nothing better than tranquility.
10. When you are inwardly tranquil and outwardly reverent
11. You are able to return to your innate nature
12. And this nature will become greatly stable.

Shazi Daoren: Balance and Alignment


-- Section 21 --
As for all human life,
heaven brings forth its Jing/essence;
earth brings forth its bodily form.
These join in order to make a person.
When in harmony, then there is life;
when not in harmony then there is no life.
In examining the Dao of harmony,
you cannot sense it by sight;
you cannot summon it by a chance meeting.
When balance and alignment fill your chest,
and respiration is governed within the heart,
this results in enhanced life.
When fondness and resentment cause you to lose stability,
then make a determination
to restrict the five desires,
to remove these two misfortunes.
Do not be fondly attached, do not be resentful,
let balance and alignment fill your chest.

-- Section 22 -- Stabilizing Your Nature
As for all human life,
it must flow from balance and alignment.
Where we lose these,
must be by fondness, resentment, worry and anxiety.
Therefore, to stop resentment there's nothing like poetry;
to cast aside worry there's nothing like music;
to temper music there's nothing like ritual;
to keep to ritual there's nothing like reverence;
to keep to reverence there's nothing like stillness.
When inwardly still and outwardly reverent,
you are able to return to your nature;
your nature will become greatly stable.



-- Section 21 --
Considering the life of human beings,
It is the heavens that brings forth their vital essence,
And the earth that brings forth their form.
These two combine to make a human being.
When they are in harmony, there is vitality.
When they are not in harmony, there is no vitality.
Inquiring into the way of harmonizing them,
What is essential is unable to be perceived,
And what is subtle is unable to be compared.
If balance and alignment permeate your torso,
This harmony swirls and blends in your heart-mind.
This provides enhanced longevity.
When joy and anger are not limited,
You must make a plan to limit them.
Regulate the five sense-desires
And cast off the two misfortunes.
When both joy and anger are negated,
Balance and alignment will permeate your torso.

-- Section 22 --
Considering the vitality of human beings.
It inevitably occurs because of balance and alignment.
The reason why balance and alignment are lost
Is inevitably because pleasure, anger, grief, and anxiety.
And so, for inhibiting anger nothing is better than poetry.
For casting off grief nothing is better than music.
For limiting joy nothing is better than ritual propriety.
For guarding ritual propriety nothing is better than reverence.
For guarding reverence nothing is better than tranquillity.
When you are inwardly tranquil and outwardly reverent,
You are able to return to your innate nature;
Your innate nature will become greatly stabilized.

267 凡人之生也,
In regards to the lives of all people:
268 天出其精,
Heaven produces their pure and vital essence;
269 地出其形。
Earth produces their form.
270 合此以為人;
This combination (of essence and form) is used in the creation of human beings.
271 和乃生,
When (form and essence) are in harmony, they create life;
272 不和不生。
If they are not in harmony, they do not create life.
273 察和之道,
Investigating the Dao of harmony.
274 其精不見,
Its essence cannot be seen;
275 其徵不醜。
Its evidence is indistinct.
276 平正擅匈,
When balance and alignment claim the breast,{36}
277 論治在心,
And inner debates and dialogue are brought to order,
278 此以長壽。
This lengthens the lifespan.
279 忿怒之失度,
If you lose your temper to fury {37} and anger,
280 乃為之圖。
Enact the following plan:
281 節其五欲,
Seal the desires of the five senses,
282 去其二凶。
And banish the two calamities.{38}
283 不喜不怒,
(Accepting) neither euphoria, nor anger,
284 平正擅匈。
Balance and alignment will reclaim the breast.
285 凡人之生也,
Invariably, people’s lives
286 必以平正。
Require balance and alignment.
287 所以失之,
What causes them to lose this
288 必以喜怒憂患,
Is certainly euphoria, anger, sadness, and worry.
289 是故止怒莫若詩,
To put an end to anger, nothing compares to poetry;
290 去憂莫若樂,
To dispel sadness, nothing compares to music;{39}
291 節樂莫若禮,
To moderate music, nothing compares to courtesy;
292 守禮莫若敬,
To maintain courtesy, nothing compares to respect;
293 守敬莫若靜。
To maintain respect, nothing compares to silence.
294 內靜外敬,
Internally silent, and externally respectful,
295 能反其性。
One can return to their pure nature.
296 性將大定。
Pure nature is thereby greatly established.

{36} In his article Psychology and Self-Cultivation in Early Taoistic Thought, Harold Roth suggests that “chest” in line 276 refers to the lungs, and thus evening out and aligning the breath.
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies Vol. 51, No. 2 (Dec., 1991), p. 619
{37} “Fury” is usually changed here to “euphoria,” in other translations, so as to reflect the fourth line down; however, “忿
怒 fury and anger” often appear together in ancient texts as a compound word meaning “rage,” and may have been intended. Anger was discussed in lines 254-258, above, as a turning point towards illness. The “strategy” mentioned here, to quell rage, is to forgo both anger and pleasure. Though it seems common sense to quell rage through pleasure, rage is often the result of not attaining what one wants; so by forgoing the desire, the anger and rage resulting from it are
uprooted. Removing one to quell the other makes this a plan (see line 280).
{38} Euphoria and anger. See line 283.
{39} “Music” can also mean “happiness, and pleasure.” The pairing of “music and courtesy,” ie. “music and rites” along with “respect” suggests Confucian terminology, but the context suggests a broader usage.

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