Long ago, in the time of Yung Ch'eng, Ta T'ing, Po Huang, Chung Yang, Li Lu, Li Hsu, Hsien Yuan, Ho Hsu, Tsun Lu, Chu Jung, Fu Hsi, and Shen Nung, the people knotted cords and used them." They relished their food, admired their clothing, enjoyed their customs, and were content with their houses. Though neighboring states were within sight of each other, and could hear the cries of each other's dogs and chickens, the people grew old and died without ever traveling beyond their own borders. At a time such as this, there was nothing but the most perfect order.Of course, a time like this never existed. People have wrestled with their egoic desires since Day One. What we have here is an ideal. Not something to strive FOR -- because the act of striving negates the result -- but something to keep close to one's heart.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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