Pythagoras, Locke, Socrates - but pages might be filled up, as vainly as before, with the sad usage of all sorts of sages, who in his life-time, each was deemed a bore! The loftiest minds outrun their tardy ages.
...And these vicissitudes come best in youth; For when they happen at a riper age, People are apt to blame the Fates, forsooth, And wonder Providence is not more sage. Adversity is the first path to truth: He who hath proved war, storm, or woman's rage, Whether his winters be eighteen or eighty, Has won experience which is deem'd so weighty.
When Newton saw an apple fall, he found In that slight startle from his contemplation- 'Tis said (for I'll not answer above ground For any sage's creed or calculation)- A mode of proving that the earth turn'd round In a most natural whirl, called 'gravitation'; And this is the sole mortal who could grapple, Since Adam, with a fall, or with an apple.
Though sages may pour out their wisdom's treasure, there is no sterner moralist than pleasure.
The Sage embraces similarity of understanding and pays no regard to similarity of form. The world in general is attracted by similarity of form, but remains indifferent to similarity of understanding.
The sage never strives for greatness, and can therefore accomplish greatness.
The sage avoids extremity, excess, and extravagance.
The sage is sharp but does not cut, pointed but does not pierce, forthright but does not offend, bright but does not dazzle.
The sage is not ill, because he sees illness as illness.
...The sage, traveling all day, Does not lose sight of his baggage. Though there are beautiful things to be seen, He remains unattached and calm.
The sage acts by doing nothing.
The sage knows without traveling, perceives without looking, completes without acting.
The sage does not attempt anything very big, and thus achieves greatness.
The sage acts without taking credit. He accomplishes without dwelling on it. He does not want to display his worth.
If the sage wants to stand above people, he must speak to them from below. If he wants to lead people, he must follow them from behind.
Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the various creatures as straw dogs; the sage is ruthless, and treats others as straw dogs.
The sage knows himself, but does not parade. He cherishes himself, but does not praise himself.
Prepare for the difficult while it is still easy. Deal with the big while it is still small. Difficult undertakings have always started with what easy. Great undertakings always started with what is small. Therefore the sage never strives for the great,And thereby the great is achieved.
Words have divided man from woman,one from another, this from that,until only sages know how to put things together.Without words, without even understanding,lovers find each other.The moment of finding is always a surprise,like meeting an old friend never before known.
To realize that our knowledge is ignorance, This is a noble insight. To regard our ignorance as knowledge, This is mental sickness. Only when we are sick of the sickness Shall we cease to be sick. The Sage is not sick, being sick of sickness; This is the secret of health.
The sage attends to the belly, and not to what he sees.
The inner is the foundation of the outer. The still is master of the restless. The Sage travels all day yet never leaves his inner treasure.
The sage governs by emptying senses and filling bellies.
The sage is one with the world, and lives in harmony with it.
The sage regards things as difficult, and thereby avoids difficulty.
The sage does not strive to be great. Thereby he can accomplish the great.
The sage has no concern for himself, but makes the concerns of others his own.
The sage does not act and therefore does not fail, does not seize and therefore does not lose.
The Sage expects no recognition for what he does; he achieves merit but does not take it to himself; he does not wish to display his worth.
Therefore the Sage, wishing to be above the people, must by his words put himself below them; wishing to be before the people, he must put himself behind them. In this way, though he has his place above them, the people do not feel his weight; though he has his place before them, they do not feel it as an injury. Therefore all mankind delight to exalt him, and weary of him not.
The sage wears coarse clothes, concealing jade.
Be humble and you will remain entire. The sages do not display themselves, therefore they shine. They do not approve themselves, therefore they are noted. They do not praise themselves, therefore they have merit. They do not glory in themselves, therefore they excel.
People turn their eyes and ears to him (the sage), and the sage cares for them like his own children.
Without going outside, you may know the whole world, without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven. The farther you go, the less you know. Thus the sage knows without traveling; he sees without looking; he works without doing.
The sage honors his part of the settlement, but does not exact his due from others.
The sage seeks freedom from desire. He does not collect precious things. He learns not to hold on to ideas. He brings men back to what they have lost.
He who regards many things easy will find many difficulties. Therefore the sage regards things difficult, and consequently never has difficulties.
The sage never strives for the great, and thereby the great is achieved.
The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, The more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.
The sage desires no desire, does not value rare treasures, learns without learning, recovers what people have left behind.