things produced in accordance with the principles of life had what is called form. When form encloses the spiritual part, each with its own characteristics, that is its nature. By cultivating this nature, we are carried back to virtue; and if this is perfected, we become as all things were in the beginning. We become unconditioned, and the unconditioned is great. As birds join their beaks in chirping,
and beaks to chirp must be joined,—to be thus joined with the universe without being more conscious of it than an idiot, this is divine virtue, this is accordance with the eternal fitness of things.
Confucius asked Lao Tzŭ, saying, "There are persons who cultivate Tao according to fixed rules of possible and impossible, fit and unfit, just as the schoolmen speak of separating hardness from whiteness as though these could be hung up on different pegs.
- See p. 22.
Could such persons be termed sages?"
"That," replied Lao Tzŭ, "is but the skill of the handicraftsman, wearing out body and soul alike. The powers of the hunting-dog involve it in trouble;
- It is kept by man instead of being free.