Heaven is honorable, earth lowly - such are their ranks in spiritual enlightenment. Spring and summer precede, autumn and winter follow - such is the sequence of the four seasons. The ten thousand things change and grow, their roots and buds, each with its distinctive form, flourishing and decaying by degree, a constant flow of change and transformation. If Heaven and earth, the loftiest in spirituality, have yet their sequence of honorable and lowly, of preceder and follower, how much more must the way of man! In the ancestral temple, honor is determined by degree of kinship; in the court, by degree of nobility; in the village, by degree of seniority; in the administration of affairs, by degree of worth. This is the sequence of the Great Way.Our ideals stand far above our reach. That is why striving towards an ideal won't do us any good. No matter how hard we "work" to achieve them, we still can't reach them. Why? Because as an individual becomes more virtuous, their ideals become loftier.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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