one's dealings not to be all for self, to move without being bound to a given course, to take things as they come, to have no remorse for the past, no anxiety for the future, to have no partialities, but to be on good terms with all,—herein lay the Tao of the ancients.
P'êng Mêng, T'ien P'ien, and Shên Tao, became enthusiastic followers of Tao. Their criterion was the identity of all things. "The sky," said they, "can cover but cannot support us. The earth can support but cannot cover us. Tao can embrace all things but cannot deal with particulars."
They knew that in creation all things had their possibilities and their impossibilities. Therefore they said, "Selection excludes universality. Training will not reach in all directions. But Tao is comprehensive."
Consequently, Shên Tao discarded all knowledge and self-interest and became a fatalist.
- It is about as difficult to apprehend Tao apart from fatalism as the omniscience of God apart from predestination.
Passivity was his guiding principle. "For," said he, "we can only know that we know nothing, and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
"Take any worthless fellow who laughs at mankind for holding virtue in esteem, any unprincipled vagabond who reviles the great Sages of the world, and subject him to torture. In his agony he will sacrifice positive and negative alike. If he can but get free, he will trouble no more about knowledge