Those in ancient times who wished to keep themselves alive did not use eloquence to ornament their knowledge. They did not use their knowledge to make trouble for the world; they did not use their knowledge to make trouble for Virtue. Loftily they kept to their places and returned to their inborn nature. Having done that, what more was there for them to do? The way has no use for petty conduct; Virtue has no use for petty understanding. Petty understanding injures Virtue; petty conduct injures the Way. Therefore it is said, Rectify yourself, that is all. When joy is complete, this is called the fulfillment of ambition.For all our efforts to correct others in their thinking or behavior, the only person each of us truly can correct is ourselves. Until we can get our own own houses in order, who are we to criticize others?
~ Burton Watson translation ~
To view the Index page for this series, go here.