not to be without modification,—Tao. Spiritual, yet not to be devoid of action,—God.
- In inaction there is action.
Therefore the true Sage looks up to God, but does not offer to aid. He perfects his virtue, but does not involve himself. He guides himself by Tao, but makes no plans. He identifies himself with charity, but does not rely on it. He extends to duty towards his neighbour, but does not store it up. He responds to ceremony, without tabooing it.
- Although really recognising only the ceremony of the heart which requires no outward sign.
He undertakes affairs without declining them. He metes out law without confusion. He relies on his fellow-men and does not make light of them. He accommodates himself to matter and does not ignore it.
- Thus the action of the Sage is after all inaction.
While there should be no action, there should be also no inaction.
- Of a positive, premeditated character.
He who is not divinely enlightened will not be sublimely pure. He who has not clear apprehension of Tao will find this beyond his reach. And he who is not enlightened by Tao,—alas indeed for him!
What then is Tao?—There is the Tao of God, and the Tao of man. Inaction and compliance make the Tao of God: action and entanglement the Tao of man. The Tao of God is fundamental: the Tao of man is accidental. The distance which separates them is great. Let us all take heed thereto!