hieromonk Damascene (Christensen)
Christ the Eternal Tao

Part I. Christ the eternal Tao

The seal: «The Tao was made flesh» (John 1:14).

Overleaf: Artist unknown, Bamboo in Moonlight (ink on silk)

A Note on the Nine Enneads

The poems that follow are not a translation of the Tao Teh Ching, hut rather comprise an entirely new work which is based on and quotes from the Tao Teh Ching. In these poems we will look at Christ through the innocent eyes and intuitive vision of Lao Tzu, and at the same time present Lao Tzu’s teaching in the light of a new revelation. Therefore, what follows might be considered a «New Testament of t he Tao Teh Ching». In keeping with the aim of this work, we have attempted to follow the form and style of the Tao Teh Ching, including i he latter s division into eighty-one chapters, based on multiples of three.

Here it should be noted that the ancient Chinese placed great significance on the number Three, seeing in it the primal principle of order; and in this way their teachings foreshadowed Christs revelation of the mystical life of the Triadic Godhead (see p. 257). In chapter 42 of the Tao Teh Ching, Lao Tzu wrote: «The Three produced all things». The chapters of the Tao Teh Ching itself consist of the sum of nine groups of nine – or nine enneads – nine being three groups of three. In the following Part we have highlighted this pattern.

In order to unlock the mysteries of Lao Tzu, we have made use of the teachings and insights of Gi-ming Shien, as recorded in Fr. Seraphim’s lecture notes on Gi-ming''s classes on the Tao Teh Ching. Then, in bringing Lao Tzu’s wisdom into a new dimension, we have ill awn extensively from Eastern Christian writings spanning nearly two millennia. These sources are included in the notes at the end of 1 his book, together with a commentary on the nine enneads.

In quoting from the Tao Teh Ching, we have relied primarily on the heretofore-unpublished, partial translation of it by Gi-ming and Fr. Seraphim, which we have found to be the most penetrating; hut we have also referred to numerous other translations and to the original Chinese text.

In China at the end of the 1920s, there was gradually formed a group of artists who worked in the faculty of the Art Academy of Fu-Jen University in Beijing. At that time the Head of the Acad­emy was Ch’en Yiian-du, a classically trained painter known throughout China. Although he was not a Christian, Ch’en Yiian-du undertook a study of the Gospels with a view of painting scenes from them. Over the course of time, he was joined in this endeavor by his pupils Lu Hung-nien, Wang Su-ta, Sui Tzi-hua, Van Su-da, the Manchurian prince Pu Sueh-tzi, and others.

In painting scenes from the life of Christ, the group of artists worked in the style of traditional Chinese painting, with tradi­tional symbolism and compositions. The pictures were painted on silk, often in bright, joyful colors typical of Chinese folk paintings. Gradually these artists came to believe in Christ, and in the middle of the 1930s they were baptized.23 Ch’en Yiian-du chose Luke for his Christian name since, according to ancient tradition, the Apostle Luke was the first icon-painter and hence is the patron of artists. Lu Hung-nien took the Christian name of John. Like their teacher, he and Wang Su-ta came to be well known throughout China.24

All of the illustrations in Part I (except for the painting facing p. 55) are by this group of painters, reproduced from the book The Life of Christ by Chinese Artists (Westminster, 1938).

The First Ennead: In the Beginning Was the Way

After Ma Yuan (early thirteenth century a.d.), Viewing the Moon under a Pine Tree.

Chapter 1

Before light was made

There was the Primal Light that was not made:

The Primal Essence,

Dwelling in the Darkness of incomprehensibility.

Of this the Ancient Prophet spoke, saying25: 5

«He made Darkness His secret place» –26

The formless and immaterial place of knowledge,27

Whither our understanding or concepts gain no admittance.

And the Ancient Sage spoke too of this,

Calling it «the Darkness within darkness,28 10

I he gate to all mystery».29

There is no name whereby the Primal Essence can be named,

Neither in this age nor in the age to come.30

We call Him Essence,

For He is a sea of Essence, 15

Indeterminate and without bounds,

Spreading far and wide beyond all notion of time or nature.31

He is wholly Essence, and solely Essence,

Vet He is above essence,

Because He is not of the essence of anything that is.32 20

We call Him Being,

For before all else was, He Is.33

Yet He is above being,

Above all existing things,

Even above existence itself.34 25

We call Him the One,

For He alone is wholly Simple and without parts.

Yet He transcends the antinomy of the one and the many,

Being not limited to any concepts, even the concept of the One.

He is neither one nor unity, neither many nor multiplicity.35 30

Finally, we call Him Mind or Thought,

For He is Himself Mind by essence,

Wholly Mind and solely Mind.

Yet He is entirely above mind and thought, too,

For every thought expresses a duality: 35

The relationship of the thinker and the object thought of.

Neither of these two can return to complete Simplicity in itself,

For the thinker has need of the object

And the object has need of the thinker.

But the Primal Essence is neither of those who think nor what is thought of,36 40

For He is beyond them:

Unlimited, self-existing, free and simple,

Standing in need of nothing.

To conceive or be conceived is proper to the nature of things secondary to the Primal Essence.37

Thus the essence that can be conceived of as essence is not the Primal Essence. 45

The being that can be limited to existence is not the Primal Being.

The one that can be limited to the concept of oneness is not the Primal Unity.

And the mind that can be thought of is not the Primal Mind.38

The one who still in some way possesses any thought has not yet left duality and arrived at Simplicity.

But the one who has completely abandoned it has arrived in some fashion at the Primal Mind, 50

Through having supremely relinquished the power of thinking.39

Chapter 2

As our mind utters from itself a word,

So did the Primal Mind utter the Primal Word (Logos).

The Primal Mind-Essence is a Womb.

The Primal Mind-Essence is a Father.

Out of this Womb of the Mind, 5

The Word was begotten, outside time.

Of this birth the Ancient Prophet spoke, speaking as the Father-Mind:

«From the Womb (that is, from my Essence) before the morning star have I begotten You».40

And of this birth the Ancient Sage also spoke, saying:

«Something mysteriously formed, 10

Born before heaven and earth,

Tranquil, boundless.

Dependent on nothing and changing not».41

Mind does not exist without word,

Nor word without mind. 15

A thought of the mind is a word hidden within,

A word is a thought which has come without.

Thought is transformed into word,

And word transmits thought to the hearers.

Mind, coming from itself, 20

Is thus the father of the word,

And the word is the son of the mind.

Before the mind, the word was impossible;

And the word does not come from anywhere outside.

But rather from the mind itself. 25

Thus also, the Father, the all-embracing Mind,

The Thought above and beyond thoughts,

Has a Son, begotten of His Essence:

The Word above and beyond words.42

Chapter 3

As our actions proceed from our mind,

So does the Primal Action proceed from the Primal Mind.

As the Primal Word is like a sound –

A still sound,

So is the Primal Action like a Breath – 5

A still Breath.

And as a breath rests in a word that is uttered,

So does the Primal Breath rest in the Primal Word.

In you there is breath,

Material and impersonal, 10

Diffusing itself while sustaining your separate and distinct life.

In the Primal Essence, as Life itself,

There is also Breath,

But a Breath that is purely Spiritual and Personal,

Not diffusing itself but sustaining the life of everything without distinction. 15

The Breath of the Primal Mind is like a wind.43

The wind blows where it wills:

You hear its sound,

But cannot tell whence it comes or whither it goes.

So is the Breath Who rests in the Word, 20

And so are those beings who rest in the Breath of Heaven.44

Chapter 4

Before the world was made,

The Mind, Word and Breath were One,

Sharing in the One Essence, above all essences.

The Oneness of these Persons is a mystery

Whose vastness cannot be comprehended by even the highest spirits. 545

Nevertheless, we attempt to give a name to this mystery of oneness:

The name of love.

A name so great that, finding it impossible to give it due reverence,

People despair and treat it as commonplace.

The Mind, Word and Breath had this perfect love between 10 them.

Not only did They have this love,

They are this love.

Therefore, love existed before the world was made.

The love of the Maker of things cannot merely be extended outwardly, to the universe made by Him.

In the Three this love is directed inwardly also, within the Primal Essence: 15

In the mystical inward life, hidden in the depths of the Divinity.

For the Three have always been One.

But the world did not know this love

Until the Word Himself came into it,

Sent by the Mind as the Messenger to the world 20

Of the Primal Love that had created it.

Chapter 5

The triangle is the first full form.46

The Three is the principle of Order,

The Order that must exist before the multiplicity of things.

Therefore the Ancient Sage said:

«The Three produces all things».47 5

The Three acting as One,

One not acting without the Others.48

The Triad contains itself in perfection,

For it is the first that surpasses the dyad.49

It lies beyond the duality of matter, 10

Of subject and object,

Of self and other.

The Triad is beyond the distinction of the one and the many;

Its perfection goes beyond the multiplicity of which duality is the root.

Two is the number that separates, 15

Three the number that transcends all separation.50 51

The one and the many find themselves gathered together in the Three,

For the Triad, being many, is also a Unity:

Not a unity of self-absorption, but of love.

For the Three have one nature, one will, one power, one operation. 20

As One, They do not blend or become confused,

But They cleave to each other, having their being in each other.52

This is the perfect love, the original unity, the original harmony, the final mystery

To which no human thought has ever succeeded in rising.

Chapter 6. The Word is begotten of the Mind,

The Breath proceeds from the Mind,

Yet there was never a time when the Mind existed without the Word and Breath.

They dwelt in the Darkness that was before darkness, outside time,

Yet They made all things within time, 5

For time and darkness came into being only when movement and light were made.

By Thinking which is beyond thought, the Primal Essence creates.

The Word brings forth and fulfills the command of the Mind,

The Action-Breath accomplishes and perfects,53

And with these two hands of the Mind,54 10

Thought becomes deed.

Chapter 7

The Mind spoke through His child the Word,

And through the Word all things were made.

Thus did the Ancient Prophet say:

«The Mind spoke, and all things came to be,

He commanded, and they were created».55 5

And: «By the Word of the Mind were the heavens established».56

Of this also did the Ancient Sage speak,

Calling the Pre-eternal Word «the Source of the ten thousand things».57

All things, then, were made by the Word,

And without Him was not anything made that was made:58 10

All worlds, and worlds within worlds,

All matter, all life, all intelligences,

Of numbers so vast that if their names should be written every one,

Even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.59

The Mind spoke through His child the Word, 15

And at His Breath there appeared the innumerable multitude of spirits.60

Therefore did the Ancient Prophet say:

«The Mind spoke, and all the host of spirits were made by the

Breath of His mouth».61

The Mind spoke, calling upon the Pre-eternal Counsel – the Word and the Breath –

Saying, «Let us make man».62 20

And through the Breath of Heaven entering into man’s nostrils,

Man became a living soul.63

The ten thousand things were created out of nothing,

Out of the Darkness that was before darkness.

And when this was accomplished, 25

The still, unchanging Word resounded through all that was made,

And the still, unchanging Breath blew through all that was made,

Moving upon the face of the silent deep,64

And giving to all life and motion.

Chapter 8

«Once there was a time», said the Ancient Sage,

«When all things became harmonized through the One:

The heavens receiving the One became clear;

The earth receiving the One became calm;

Spirits receiving the One became divine; 5

All things receiving the One began to live.

Without the One to make clear, the heavens would be rent;

Without the One to give calm, the earth would dissolve;

Without the One to make full, the valleys would be exhausted;

Without the One to give life, all nature would suffer decease».65 10

«The Three produces all things», said the Ancient Sage,66

Yet «all things became harmonized through the One».

The Three, being One in love, creates as One,

And thus it is Love that creates and sustains life.

This creation of the world by Love, in the Unity of the Three, 15

Is the mystery of the worlds Original Harmony.

Chapter 9

«I am the Way», said the Pre-eternal Word.67

As through the Word all things came into being from the Mind,

So through Him do all things return to the Mind.

Therefore the Ancient Sage said:

«The movement of the Way consists in returning, 5

Returning to the Source».68

The Word is the only Way by which they came,

And He is the only Way by which they can effect their return,

For «no one goes to the Mind except through the Word».69

He is the only Way which is natural for them to follow. 10

It is He Who fills,

It is He Who empties.

He empties Himself

That with Himself He might fill all things.

Не allows Himself to be torn down70 15

I liar through Him all things might be raised up.

Relinquishing His utter transcendence,

Не goes forth from Himself in the abundance of His love,

That all things might go to Him,71

Returning to the Source. 20

Lu Hung-nien (John Lu), In Search of Shelter; Bethlehem.

The Second Ennead: The Coming of the Way

Chapter 10. Before the Word came into the world

The sages sought Him out in every place.

They saw Him not, but sensed His presence everywhere.

They found Him in living beings, in mountain crags and flowing streams, in seas and winds.

He was not these things, 5

But He spoke in these things, guiding them.

All things followed His Course.

Therefore the sages called Him also by His other name: The Way (Tao),

The Course that all things are to follow. 10

The trees, the birds, the rivers and winds:

These had no choice but to follow the Way.

Man alone is given choice;

Man alone can follow or go his own way.

If he follows the Way, he will suffer with the pain of the world, 15

But He will find the Original Harmony.

II he follows his own way, he will suffer only with himself,

And within him will be chaos.


Lu Hung-Nien (John Lu), The Flight into Egypt

Chapter 11. Before He came into the world,

The sages tried to describe the Way:

The Way that all things must follow, and man if he chooses.

Not having seen Him, but only His traces,

The sages could only speak in dim verses and riddles. 5

Some things they did know, even from His traces

As He passed silently, invisibly through the canyons.

What was this Course that all things followed?

No thing existed for itself.

Each thing humbly, patiently fulfilled its designation, without thinking, 10

Without possessing, or rebelling, or complaining, or laying blame, or taking credit, or seeking honor.

In this way, the roaring ocean and mighty wind were as meek as the still pond.

One thing dies, without thinking, that others мая live.

A seed falls to the ground and dies,

And from it comes a tree bearing fruit and more seeds beyond counting. 15

If the seed is preserved whole, nothing will come from it.

Only if it dies will it give life.72

This is the Way, the Pattern that all things follow,

Knew the Ancient Sage.

This is how we can describe the Way, 20

For what the Way does, the Way is.

Thus, said the Ancient Sage,

«There must be an Original Principle of all things

Which reveals the mother of all things.

Having found the mother, we know the child; 25

Knowing the child, we then observe the mother».73

For does not the vessel, crafted harmoniously, speak of the artist?

If all things that are made follow the Way,

Does not the Maker of things follow it, also?

If each thing that is made serves another, 30

And all things serve the whole,

Does not the Way serve, also?

But whom does the Way serve?

If ill created things (save man) humbly, patiently fulfill the designation of their existence on earth,

Should not the Way do the same? 35

But how can He, if He does not walk the earth as do created things?

And if He did, what would be His designation?

And if one thing must die that others мая live,

Should not the Way do the same?

But how was the Way to die, 40

And whom was He to die for?

This was the mystery before His coming.

The sages knew of His meekness, His lowliness, His selflessness and patience,

His calmness in His mighty deeds, His gentleness in His strength.

They knew that as each thing serves another, 45

So does the Maker of things serve all things.

They knew that as each thing dies for another,

So it is for the Way to die for all things.

This they knew.

But of the greatest mystery, 50

His perfect love, which existed before the world,

They could not know

Until He had walked among them,

Held their head against His breast,74

Spoken to them with living breath, 55

Entered into them through His flesh and blood75

And vowed that He would never leave them.76

Chapter 12. Before the Way came to earth,

He was known to have distinct qualities and properties

As does a person.

And yet the Ancient Sage, not having seen Him,

Could not know Him fully as Person. 5

To the Sage, He was, as it were, a Person without a face or name;

A Person Who spoke no words, left no report of His coming, no footprints;

A Person Who could not be touched.

Therefore the Sage could but call Him «the Uncertainty».

«Looked for», he said, «but invisible, 10

The Way мая be called the indistinguishable.

Listened for, but inaudible,77

It мая be called the elusive.

Grasped at, but unattainable,

It мая be called the subtle. 15

These three cannot be discovered by investigation,

For they blend into one.78

This appears as darkness».79

For the Sage, the Way dwelt in the Darkness of Incomprehensibility,

Yet He was not that Darkness; 20

The Way dwelt beyond all being,

Yet He was not non-being;

The Way emptied Himself,

Yet He was not emptiness.

He was not an eternal void, 25

For He existed in eternity.

Therefore, said the Sage,

«The Way considered as a reality is impalpable, indefinite.

But, within this impalpability there is form;

Within this indefiniteness there is Being. 30

Dark and dim, within is the Essence.

The essence being supremely true,

Within is the true evidence».80

For the Sage, the Way could not yet be known wholly as Person,

But neither was He wholly impersonal, 35

For He was known to care for the ten thousand things.

Therefore, said the Sage,

«All things arise from the Way,

And by the power of the Way they are nourished,

Developed, cared for, 40

Sheltered, comforted,

Grown, and protected».81

«Is the Way a Child of something else?» the Sage asked,82

But could not answer.

The Sage had not seen the Mind Who had given birth to the Word outside time, 45

For «he who has seen the Word has seen the Father-Mind»;83

And the Word, the Minds first Interpreter and Herald,84

Had not yet revealed His face,

Had not yet revealed Himself as Person.

Chapter 13. In finding the traces of the Way in nature,

The Sage found the simple nature from which man had departed.

«Return to the babe», he said,85

«Return to the state of the uncarved block, the pristine simplicity.86

The primitive origin of man: 5

Here indeed is the main-thread of the Way».87

In his infancy, his primitive origin,

Mankind had been made to rejoice in the Way, his Source,

To abide in Him, to cleave to Him, and never depart:

Made to raise himself above the things of the senses, 10

Above every bodily appearance,

To become selfless like the Way,

To go beyond himself in selfless love,

To contemplate the Way extending into the universe,

To know the inner essences of created things, 15

And, moving even beyond these, to behold the Primal Word,

Seeing in Him, in purity and stillness of thought,

The image of the Primal Mind.

Such was man’s original nature,

I he state of the uncarved block, the pristine simplicity, 20

Id which the simple and undivided Way had made him,

In which he was ever to remain,

But from which he had departed.

For, not striving to go beyond himself,

He preferred to seek things nearer to himself: 25

The body and its senses.

Removing himself from the invisible Way,

He began to regard his own visible self.88

Therefore the Ancient Sage,

Seeking to return to his original nature, 30

To the immaterial Source beyond the realm of sense,

Said: «One’s perfect virtue lies in his conformity to the Way.89

The Way мая be styled ‘the form of the formless,’

‘The image of the imageless.’

Go out to meet it and you will discover no beginning; 35

Follow after and you will discover no end.

Lay hold of this ancient doctrine and apply it to the nourishment of your soul.

You will then understand the primitive origin of man,90

The main-thread of the Way».

Chapter 14

«When my contemplation is complete», said the Ancient Sage,

«And quiescence is maintained unalloyed,

«Though the various forms are restless,

I am looking for the return to nature».91

Before the Way came into the world, 5

The restless world groaned for His coming.92

For the one being who had been given the choice of whether to follow the Way,

Had departed from the Way,

Disturbing the Original Harmony.

The one who had been given governance over nature, 10

Had departed from his own Governor, and from nature,

Disturbing the Original Hierarchy.

Made to find pleasure in the Way,

He had instead found pleasure through his senses.

Made to desire the Way, 15

He had instead desired created things.

Made to remain in primal simplicity,

He had fragmented himself into many parts.

Going against his primitive origin,

Ancient man had entered into contention against himself.93 20

Contending with himself and others for the objects of desire,

He had spread contention throughout the earth.

Having corrupted his own nature,

He had brought all nature into corruption with him.

Therefore did the various forms that were made groan for their Maker 25

To restore the lost one to the Way,

To return him to his true nature,

To cleanse the filth of his corruption,

And thus regain the Original Harmony.

Though the various forms are restless, 30

I am looking for the return to nature.

Do you hear the restless-earth, its groaning,

O ancient Man, O lost one?

It is not the wind, for all things are still.

The lake is calm, the leaves do not rustle on the trees. 35

And yet the spirit hears that cry,

That never-ceasing moan that existed before your kingdoms.

You covered the earth with your kingdoms In order to stifle that cry,

But it would not be smothered under stones. 40

Your mind speaks incessantly with the voice of desire

In order to drown out that cry,

But the heart hears it beneath the mind’s din.

To the ears it is a silent moan.

To the spirit it is louder than the mightiest tempest that the elements can make. 45

Will He come, then?

He will come.

How will He come?

It is man who disturbed the Great Harmony:

Therefore, as a man He will come to restore it. 50

Whither will He come?

The Way always seeks the lowest place.

Chapter 15

«The Valley and the Spirit do not die», said the Ancient Sage.

«They form what is called the Mystic Mother,

From whose gate comes the Origin of heaven and earth».94

And «this gate shall be shut», said the Ancient Prophet.95

«It shall not be opened, and no one shall pass through it; 5

For the Lord shall enter by it».96

The Mind spoke, and through His Word

Answered the earth’s elemental moan.

Above that roaring cry He answered with a still, small voice:97 10

I will come. Will you receive me, then?

But no man heard that voice.

Only a small young woman,

Who had lived, unknown, in silence and purity in the Great Temple

Was given to hear it. 15

And in a still, small voice She gave voice to the whole earth.

She answered for all those beings and created forms who could not speak;

She answered for all the people who could not hear.

And to the question of the Uncreated Mind,

She answered: Yes, 20

I will receive You.98

Be it unto me according to Your Word.99

In Her the Way had found the lowest place in the entire earth –

The nadir of the Valley,

The supreme humility, lowliness –


And there He came and made His abode.

He took flesh of Her whom He loved above all others who dwelled on the earth.

Who was meek and humble like Himself.

And lowering Himself, emptying Himself, in His love, to the lowest place,100

He became a tiny child within Her, the Mystic Mother.101 30

Because of Her profound and intangible humility,

Her gate, opened by no man,

Through which no one had passed through,

Became the gate from which came the Origin of heaven and earth.

Because She had returned to the state of the uncarved block, the pristine simplicity, 35

She became the «mountain unhewn by the hand of man»,102103

Whom the Ancient Prophet had foretold.

And the Spirit, the Breath of Heaven,

Bested upon Her, the Valley of humility, as He had upon the first-formed world.

Chapter 16

«Water», said the Ancient Sage, «greatly benefits all things but does not compete with them.

It dwells in lowly places that all disdain, and so it is like the Way».104

The Way came down and emptied Himself in a lowly cave:

Not amidst human dwellings, but in the home of lowly animals.

Born on a lowly bed, dirty straw strewn on the ground. 5

Happy, prosperous people slept in soft beds in the nearby inn.

But while other infants wept that night, He was silent.

And the sheep bleated like rippling water.

Chapter 17. «The Way continuously creates», said the Ancient Sage,

«And the Power of the Way nourishes, enlarges, feeds, completes, matures, cherishes and broods over all things.

The Way creates, but does not demand for itself;

Acts, but is not boastful;

Controls, but without compulsion. 5

This мая be called the mystery of the Power of the Way.

The ten thousand things all honor the Way and respect its Power,

But without demand or orders».105

When the Way came to earth, quietly, under the cloak of flesh,

He did not demand respect, 10

Nor was He wont to reveal His true Name,

A Name worthy of all honor.

He left it to those whom He had made to utter His Name:

Word of the Mind, Son of the Father, Son of the living God.106

Hiding His glory in the deep pools of the Valley, 15

He called Himself rather «the least in the Kingdom of Heaven» and «the Son of Man».107

For He had made Himself the son, the offspring of His own offspring,

Lowering Himself beneath man who had falsely exalted himself.

Thus He to Whom the ten thousand things give honor and respect

Gave honor to His one disobedient child, Man, 20

As a child gives honor to his parent.

Chapter 18

«The Great Way», said the Ancient Sage, «flows everywhere.

It мая go left or right.

All things depend on it; none is refused.

It fulfills its purpose silently, and does not take possession».108

He shall not cry, nor lift up», said the Ancient Prophet,109 5

«Nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.

A bruised reed shall he not break,

And the smoking flax shall he not quench».110

So did the Great Way come.

Ho Who shakes the earth and stirs the roaring winds and crashing seas, 10

Came softly, silently.

«The Great Way clothes and feeds all things», said the Ancient Sage,

«Yet does not claim them as its own.

All things return to it,

Yet it claims no leadership over them».111 15

When the Great Way came into the world,

He claimed no worldly leadership,

But said to those whom He had made:

«I am among you as he who serves».112

«He is oppressed», said the Ancient Prophet, 20

«And He is afflicted.

Yet He opens not His mouth.

He is brought as a lamb before the slaughter;

And as a sheep before her shearer is dumb,

So He opens not His mouth».113 25

«For the Way is silent», said the Ancient Sage,

«Silent and boundless».114

The Third Ennead: The Opening of the Way

Ch’en Yüan-du (Luke Ch’en), The Miraculous Catch of Fish

Chapter 19. For thirty years of His life on earth,

The Word was silent before the people.

For fifty centuries the world had waited for the word that its Maker would speak.

And finally, with the people before Him

On a sloping meadow overlooking a lake, 5

The Word spoke His word,

The Way revealed His way.

And He Who had taken the lowest place

Spoke to His creatures of lowliness, saying:

«Blessed are the meek, 10

The poor in spirit,

Blessed are you who weep now. »115

He Who had come not seeking praise, said:

«Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you».116

These were the first words that the Word spoke to mankind, 15

Being meek, being Himself reviled,

And weeping with those who weep.

Chapter 20

When the silent Way spoke,

He revealed Himself as the invisible One

Whose traces the Ancient Sage had glimpsed five centuries before,

In the groaning earth.

For the Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said: 5

«He who has little shall receive in abundance.

But he who has much shall be confused».117

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. 10

But woe unto you who are rich! for you have received your consolation.

Woe unto you who are full! for you shall hunger».118

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«Superior virtue is unconscious of its virtue.

Hence it is virtuous. 15

Inferior virtue is conscious of its virtue,

Hence it is not virtuous».119

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«When you do a merciful deed, let not your left hand know

What your right hand is doing».120 20

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«In order to be above the people,

The sage must serve them as if he were lower than them.

In order to guide them he must put himself behind them».121

And the Way, when He became flesh, said: 25

«If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all».122

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«The Way of Heaven is to take from those who have too much

And give to those who do not have enough».123

And the Way, when He became flesh, said to those who hoarded their spiritual riches:124 30

«My Kingdom shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof».125

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«When gold and jade fill your hall,

You will not be able to keep them safe».126 35

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,

Where thieves break in and steal».127

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«One’s own self or material goods, 40

Which has more worth?»128

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?»129

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«The flexible overcome the adamant, 45

The yielding overcome the forceful.130

It is because the sage does not contend that no one in the world can contend against him».131

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

"Resist not evil,

But whoever strikes you on your right cheek, 50

Turn to him the other also.

And if anyone wants to sue you at the law, and take away your tunic,

Let him have your cloak also».132

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«The violent man shall die a violent death. 55

I consider this as my chief teaching».133

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«All who take the sword shall perish by the sword».134

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«The most massive tree grows from a sprout; 60

The highest building rises from a pile of earth;

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step».135

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed,

Which a man took and sowed in his field: 65

Which indeed is the least of all seeds,

But when it is grown it is greater than the herbs,

And becomes a tree,

So that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches».136

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said: 70

«Magnify the small, increase the few.

All great things under heaven start from the small».137

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven,

Which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, 75

Till the whole was leavened».138

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«Heaven’s net is broad, with big meshes».139

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net, 80

That was cast into the sea, and gathered some of every kind».140

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«Heaven''s net lets nothing slip through».141

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«A sparrow shall not fall on the ground without your Father».142 85

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«The Way clothes and feeds the ten thousand things».143

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:

They toil not, neither do they spin; 90

And yet I say unto you,

That Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these».144

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«Returning is the movement of the Way,

But its function is weakness».145 95

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«My strength is made perfect in weakness».146

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, had said:

«There was something undefined yet complete in itself,

Born before heaven and earth. 100

I do not know its name».147

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«I Who speak unto you am He».148

Chapter 21. The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«The sage acts without boasting,

Completes his work without seeking merit.

Because he lays claim to no credit,

The credit cannot be taken from him.149 5

He wants only things that are unwanted.

Не restores the ten thousand things to their own nature».150

When the Way became flesh,

He came to the unwanted among people.

He came not to the good, but to the bad; 10

He came not to the right, but to the wrong;

He came not to the beautiful, but to the ugly;

He came not to the healthy, but to the sick;

He came not to the rich, but to the poor.

Therefore the good, the righteous, the beautiful, the healthy and the rich 15

Railed at Him, smote Him, and cast Him out as evil.

For He was a reproach to their seeming goodness,

Turning it on its head.

Only He was Good Who reached down to the evil

In order to raise them to the true goodness of their original nature. 20

Only He was worthy of glory Who sought no credit for Himself,

Saying, «Why do you call me good?

There is none good, save one»:151

That is, His Father – the Mind –

Who existed with Him from pre-eternity. 25

The good, the righteous, the beautiful and the rich heard not the Word,

For to them the Word was not spoken.

To the poor the Word was spoken.152

And when they heard it, their hearts burned within them,

For the Maker of the universe spoke as one who was poor like them. 30

And they said: «No man ever spoke like this man».153

Chapter 22

He was condemned as a friend of harlots

And the harlots became virgins.

He was condemned as a friend of thieves

And the thieves restored their stolen goods fourfold.

He was condemned as a friend of poor fishermen 5

And the poor fishermen caught the universe in their nets.

He was condemned as a friend of outcasts

And the outcasts inherited His Kingdom.

He was condemned, and they were created anew.

He wept over what His creation had made of itself, 10

And by His tears was it remade,

Restored to its true nature, its primitive origin.

The first creation was of the dust of the ground;

The second, of Water and Spirit.154

Chapter 23

«All things», said the Ancient Sage,

«Depend on the Great Way for life.

None is refused".155

The people are fragile, crippled,

Their natures riddled with wounds. 5

With hopeful eyes they beg Him, the Great Way:

"Carry my load",

And He takes it.

He seeks workers to help carry it.

The workers come, but they are few,

And they too are fragile, wounded, lame. 10

He carries their load, also,

For it is out of love that they have come,

And He cares for naught else.

Chapter 24

«Go out to meet the Way», said the Ancient Sage,

«And you will discover no beginning.

Follow after, and you will find no end».156

The Way dwells outside time,

Yet He Who made time took up His abode within time, 5

In a single material body, in a single time and place.

Likewise the Way has no beginning or end,

Yet He Who made time, being in all things,

Abides in both the Beginning and the End of time.

I or He said: «I am the Beginning and the Ending».157 10

At the Beginning, says the Way, I knew you when you were not.

And I speak to you from the place of the End of time.

From there I can promise you, I can vow to you

And never break my word.

For I not only know the End, 15

I am the End.

And at the End, where I am,

I am all in all.158

I have made you, says the Way,

And I sustain your every breath. 20

I am holding you.

You will not fall unless you depart from me.

You will be held up while you hold to my words.

For at the End, where I am,

Though heaven and earth will pass away, 25

My words will not pass away.159

Chapter 25

«When you are at one with the Way», said the Ancient Sage,

«The Way welcomes you».160

Be kind, says the Way,

And you will know me.

For I am very quiet 5

And you will only hear me

When you are kind and gentle to my lowly children.161

Don’t think, says the Way,

And you will know me.

For you only think of what is outside of you, 10

And I am within you.

Don’t fear, says the Way.

You have stepped away from me, that is all.

Return to the Feast, and lay your head on my breast at supper.162

You were away, and now that you have returned, 15

I am in my final hour,

And I am about to be delivered to be killed.

For rejoice in this, too,

For when you see me hanging on the tree,

You will know me as you have never known me before. 20

And when you see me die,

You will have me forever.

Chapter 26

The Ancient Sage knew the sadness of following the Way of Heaven.

«The multitude are joyful and merry», he said,

«As if they were eating of the sacrificial offerings,

As if they were mounting the terrace in spring.

I alone am amid them like one unemployed, 5

Like a newborn babe that cannot yet smile.

I am alone, without a place to go, as though I belonged nowhere.

All men have enough and to spare:

I alone seem to have lost everything».163

When the Way took flesh and came into the world, 10

He too belonged nowhere.164

«Foxes have holes», He said,

«And birds of the air have nests,

But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head».165

Surrounded by those who guarded their rights and authority, 15

Who protected their wealth and property,

And sold their souls for the sake of public standing,

He alone had nothing.

He Who had created the world, had nothing in the world.

And, at the end, He was stripped even of His lone, tattered garment, 20

And died, naked and bleeding,

Before the world which He sustains in abundance.

Chapter 27

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«He who takes upon himself the humiliation – the dirt – of the people

Is fit to be the master of the people».166

And the Ancient Prophet, foretelling the coming of the Way, said:167

«He bears our sins, and is pained for us. 5

He was wounded on account of our sins.

He was bruised because of our iniquities,

And by His stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray,

And the Lord gave Him up for our sins. 10

In His humiliation His judgment was taken away.

Therefore He shall inherit many,

And He shall divide the spoils of the mighty,

Because His soul was delivered to death,

And He was numbered among the transgressors, 15

And He bore the sins of many,

And was delivered because of their iniquities».168

Why did the Ancients treasure the Way?» asked the Sage.

Was it not because the seeker finds what he seeks by it,

And by it the guilty are forgiven and relieved of punishment? 20

Therefore the Way is the treasure of the universe».169

Again the Ancient Sage said:

«He who takes upon himself the sins of the world Is the king of the world».170

And the Prophet, when the Way became flesh, said:171 25

«Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world».172

The Fourth Ennead: The Emptying of the Way

Chapter 28

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«He who is conscious of honor and glory,

Yet keeps to disgrace,

Resembles the Valley of the World».173

The Way entered the City,174 5

And the crowds stood on either side of the road,

Shouting praises and blessings upon Him.

The children laid clothes and branches under the hooves of the child-ass on which He rode.175

He was conscious of the honor and glory,

Yet He knew that He was going to His ultimate humiliation; 10

That some of those who now shouted His praises

Would soon be shouting for His death.

Ch’en Yüan-du (Luke Ch’en), The Entry into Jerusalim

«For He is a man of sorrows»,

As foretold the Ancient Prophet,176

"A man of sorrows,177 15

And acquainted with grief».

Chapter 29

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«He who is conscious of honor and glory,

Yet keeps to disgrace,

Returns to pristine Simplicity».178

The Way left the City and descended into the Valley of the World.179 5

Ascending again to the other side of the Valley,

He came to a Garden180

Like unto the primordial Garden in which His love had once been betrayed.

And now the duplicitous one, pretending to return His love,

Betrays Him with a kiss. 10

Now the duplicitous one, pretending to do Him reverence,

Disgraces Him in front of all.

Love ushers in freedom,

But the duplicitous one puts Him in shackles.

The duplicitous one delivered the Simple One to death, 15

And the Simple One was brought back into the City.

Before, He had entered in honor, to be led to final disgrace.

Now He enters in disgrace, to be led to final honor:

He being Himself the Way on which He trod,

The Way of return to pristine Simplicity. 20

Chapter 30

«Behold», says the Way, «the hour is coming,

Yea, has now come,

That you shall be scattered,

Each to his own,

And shall leave me alone. 5

And yet I am not alone,

Because the Father is with me».181

The Way is alone in the Garden.

Long ago, in the beginning,

He had been abandoned by man in the Garden: 10

Man had turned away from Him,

Departing from the primal Simplicity,

Fragmenting his nature,182

Scattering himself in thoughts, imaginations and desires.

Man had not been willing to stay with Him. 15

And now, in His darkest moment,

As He weeps in the Garden,

So that His sweat falls to the ground as great drops of blood,183

Man has abandoned Him again, scattering himself,

Not willing to watch with Him one hour. 20

As a man the Way was left alone,

But as the Word He was never alone,

Dwelling eternally with the Mind and the Breath.

He willed to be alone as a man

So that man would no longer be alone. 25

He willed to stand watch as a man

So that man, who preferred to sleep,184

Would at last awaken.

Chapter 31

They could have laid hands on Him before,

But He passed out of their hands many times.

Their hour had not yet come then.

But now the hour has come.

It has come,185 5

And the power of darkness.

The time has been fulfilled.

The work has been accomplished.

And now the Mind places His beloved Word into their hands.

The darkness has no power of itself 10

Except it be given it by the Father of the Word, in His own time,186

That, out of the most horrible event in history –

The murder of the Creator of Life –

Might come forth the greatest event:

The rising of the Destroyer of Death. 15

Chapter 32

He became an outlaw In order to restore the law.

He took the sentence of death

In order to abolish the sentence of death.

Those who condemned Him according to the law 5

Were themselves condemned by the law,

For the only law He gave was love,187

And that love condemned them.

They were judged by love;

And He Who is Love, and is therefore Judge, 10

Was judged by them as a transgressor

Of their transgression.

Chapter 33

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«The sage does not reveal himself and is therefore luminous.

He does not justify himself and is therefore far-famed.

He does not boast of himself, and therefore people give him credit.

He does not contend, and therefore he is a ruler among men. 5

Since he does not contend,

No one in the world can contend against him».188

The Way, when brought before His accusers,

Did not reveal Himself, did not justify or boast of Himself,

Nor did He contend. 10

«If my Kingdom were of this world», He said,

«Then would my servants fight,

That I should not be delivered up.

But now is my Kingdom not from hence».189

When brought before the judge whose sentence was death, 15

He Who gives life to all things was silent.

When asked what He knew,

He the Omniscient One was silent.190

When asked, «What is truth?»191

He Who is Himself the Truth was silent. 20

When told by the judge, «Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?»

He Who is the eternal Word answered never a word.192

Nailed through His hands and feet,

He did not murmur.

Pierced in the side, 25

He did not murmur.193

Abandoned by all on earth,

He called only to His Father in heaven.

«The Way of Heaven», said the Ancient Sage, «does not show greatness,

And is therefore truly great.194 30

It does not speak, and yet is answered.

It does not beckon, yet things come to it of themselves.

It does not contend, and yet it overcomes».195

And the Way of Heaven, when about to submit Himself meekly unto death, said:

«In the world you shall have tribulation. 35

But be of good cheer:

I have overcome the world».196

Chapter 34

The band of soldiers stripped the King of the universe

And put on Him a scarlet robe.

They placed a crown of thorns on His head,

And a reed in His right hand.

They bowed the knee before Him, 5

And mocked Him, saying, «Hail, O King!»

And spat upon Him, and took the reed,

And smote Him on the head.

Then, taking the robe off Him,

They put His own tattered raiment on Him, 10

And led Him away to kill Him.197

«If it were not laughed at», said the Ancient Sage,

«It would not be the Way».198

Chapter 35

Again the Ancient Sage said:

«Lofry virtue is like an empty Valley».199

Thus did the Way of Heaven empty Himself to the lowest place,

The nadir of the Valley.

But, in finding it, He was raised up. 5

Raised upon a Cross,

His hands outstretched before the world,

As if calling the people.

But His hands, pierced with nails, remained empty.

And He said: «I thirst».200 10

I thirst for the one lost sheep

Who has departed from the Way,201

For I have loved him.

He who had once been my friend,

With whom I had once held sweet converse in the Garden, 15

Has nailed me to a Tree,

Like unto the Tree of the Garden from which he plucked the fruit.

But greater love has no man than this:

That a man lay down his life for his friend.202

«He who loves the world as himself», said the Ancient Sage, 20

«May not the world well be entrusted to his care?»203

And the Way, in His love for the world, said:

«If I be lifted up from the earth,

I will draw all people unto me»204

Drawing together those who have scattered themselves, 25

Those who have left me alone,

Yea, even those who have hammered nails

Into the very hands that are drawing them.

Chapter 36

If thing is brought low, there must be a return.

If a thing is raised up, there must also be a return.

This is the Way of Heaven.205

Therefore the Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«The hard and mighty shall be laid low, 5

And the humble and weak shall be exalted».206

And the Way, when He took flesh, said:

«Everyone who exalts himself shall be abased,

And he who humbles himself shall be exalted».207

There must be a return. 10

Lower me to the lowest point, says the Way.

In this I shall be raised to the highest.

You, O Man, have exalted yourself,

And thus you have lowered yourself

To self-love, to things of the senses. 15

See, then, how you мая be raised up once more

To your primitive origin, your true nature.

Behold in me the Way to follow:

I go the Way before you,

For I have loved you, and care nothing for myself. 20

Behold in me the Way to follow.

Take away my life:

In this I shall not only gain life,

But, like a seed that falls to the ground and dies,208

I shall give unending life to all. 25

Destroy me, mock me, humiliate me:

In this I shall overcome the world.

Tear down the temple of my body:

I shall raise it again in three days.

I will be the lowest, the most dishonored, sorrowful and tortured of all men,209 30

That of all men I мая be raised up –

Not for my own glory,

But for the glory of Him who sent me,

And that I мая raise up the whole world

Which I fashioned with my hands,

Raising up even you who have cast me down.

There must be a return, says the Way,

There must be resurrection.

For how can incorruptible Love die with the body,

Or the Source of Life be sealed in a tomb?

The Fifth Ennead: The Way of Quenching Desire

Artist unknown, Stilling the Storm

Chapter 37

What does it mean to be lowered in self-exaltation?

When we hold to the body and the things of the senses,

We descend into the lust of ourselves:

We fall in love with our self.

This is what it means to be lowered in self-exaltation. 5

Regarding our temporal body rather than the eternal Way,

We lose our natural simplicity and peace.

We become unnatural, agitated,210

Vexed and turbid with desire,

Afraid to be deprived of the objects of our lusts, 10

Afraid not to reach the goals of our ambitions,

Afraid of hunger, thirst,

Death and the separation of the body.211

Therefore, said the Ancient Sage:

«We have fears because we have a body. 15

When we do not regard that body as our self,

What have we to fear or be distressed about?»212

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat,

Neither for the body, what you shall put on. 20

If he Maker of things clothes the grass,

Which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven,

How much more will he clothe you?»213

Turning our eye to desire for the things of the senses,

We become blind to their inner essences. 25

We see them not as words within the Primal Word,

Thoughts of the Primal Mind.

Therefore, said the Ancient Sage:

«The five colors blind men’s eyes;

The five tones deafen men’s ears; 30

The five flavors dull men’s sense of taste.

Galloping and hunting derange men’s minds.

Rare articles lead astray.

On this account the sage regards not the eye but the inner things.214

He dwells not in the flower, but in the fruit.215 35

He puts aside the one and takes the other».216

Again the Ancient Sage said:

"Stop the aperture,

Close the door,

And one’s whole life will be undisturbed. 40

Open the aperture and become urgent for business,

And one will never find completion».217

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«When you pray, enter into your closet,

And when you have shut the door, 45

Pray to your Father Who is in the secret place».218

The closet of the soul is the body;

The aperture of the door is the five bodily senses;

The secret place is the heart.

The soul enters the closet when the mind does not wander, 50

Does not scatter itself hither and thither,

Does not roam among things and affairs of the world.

The door is closed when the senses are not attached to created things.

The secret place is entered when the mind,

Disregarding all intrusive thoughts and images, 55

Descends into the secret place,

Imprisons itself there,

And in this imprisonment at last finds peace.219

«Be not of doubtful mind», says the Way.220

«Take no thought for tomorrow, 60

For tomorrow shall take thought for its own things.221

Rather seek first the Kingdom of Heaven,

For it is the Father’s good pleasure to give it to you.222

The Kingdom comes not through observation,

For it is within you.223 65

Enter into your closet,

And your Father, Who sees in secret,

Shall reward you openly».224

Chapter 38

«The great Way», said the Ancient Sage, «is ever without desire».225

Desire for created things disturbs the Original Harmony,

The primal oneness, perfect love.

Such desire derives from the two,

From separation. 5

It chases after its object,

Clings to its object,

Is anxious and disturbed.

Desire for created things equals torment,

Because such desire can never be fulfilled.226 10

Torment begins

When the primal oneness, perfect love is broken.

Thus, said the Ancient Sage,

«Embrace simplicity, lessen selfishness, diminish desire.227

The sage acts without desire, hence he never fails; 15

He never grasps, hence he never loses.228

He who keeps to the Way will not desire to be filled».229

When one is attached to oneself and to the senses

One strives to fill oneself through self-love and sensual pleasure.

But the more one strives, the more empty one becomes. 20

In order to become full,

One must empty oneself.

Thus, said the Ancient Sage,

«In pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.

In pursuit of the Way, every day something is dropped. 25

Losing and losing,

Till you come to the state of acting without selfish desire.

When you act selflessly, nothing is left undone».230

Ever without desire,

The Great Way empties Himself into His creation 30

Out of love, in complete self-giving.

He empties Himself,

Yet, being the unchanging Cause of all things,

He remains ever full.

Quenching their desire for created things, 35

Followers of the Way likewise empty themselves

Out of love, in complete self-giving.

For in emptying themselves as He does,

They are ever filled with Him,

The Ever-full. 40

Chapter 39. «Cast off selfishness», said the Ancient Sage, «and curtail desire.231

Self-denial is the way to perfection».232

When desire is quenched in the nadir of the Valley,

One sees all that is and moves beneath the surface.

Dead men see everything. 5

Therefore, said the Sage:

«Emptied of desire, one can see the mystery.

Filled with desire, one can see only the manifestations».233

Beneath the brittle surface,

The vain, self-interested, clinging love, 10

The maddening longing,

Which only obscures what lies below,

There is a silently flowing river:

A river of compassion, bowels of mercy,

A feeling of the others pain, 15

Flowing into a vast, vast ocean of sorrow.

It is the sorrow of a great funeral:

The death of sensual self-love.

Although it is a sorrow,

One enters it willingly, with joy, 20

For there is such tenderness in its pain.

And at last, in this sorrow,

There is perfect freedom.

This is the love that never dies, never fails:

A proof of immortality. 25

This is the pain that the everlasting Way

Embraced willingly, sharing our pain.

This is the cross that He asks us to bear.

This is the death that He asks us to die.

And at last, in this death, 30

There is perfect peace.

Chapter 40. The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«He who aims at life achieves death.

There are people whose every movement leads them to the land of death because they cling to life.234

The holy man cares nothing for himself and yet he is preserved.

Is it not because he has no selfish desires that he is able to succeed?»235 5

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it.

And whoever shall lose his life shall preserve it».236

He who wants the things of this life

Craves for this life. 10

He who wants the things of this life, but cannot have them,

Craves for death.

But he who has quenched desire

Craves for neither life nor death.

The two are the same to him, 15

And he passes from one to the other

Without fear or agitation,

As from joy to joy.

He is like the Way of Heaven Himself,

Who «creates and nourishes life, 20

Yet creates without possessing».237

Because the follower of the Way does not take possession of life,

Death does not possess him.

Chapter 41

He Who bore the worlds burden upon Himself said:

«Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden,

And I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;

For I am meek and lowly in heart: 5

And you shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy,

And my burden is light».238

Follow me, says the Way,

Down into the deep pools of the Valley, 10

Where the water ever empties itself,

Is ever emptied, yet ever full.

Follow me, like the stream, unto the lowest place,

The place all people disdain,239

And there you will find rest. 15

Emptied, you will be ever full.

If you have not found rest.

That means you have not reached the lowest place.

You have not lost everything,

But are still on the slope of the Valley, 20

Clinging with fear and bloody hands to the rough, brittle crags.

Better, then, that you had not descended at all

Mur had remained on the surface.

Count the cost:240

If you descend, you must descend with me all the way down: 25

There to die, that you мая be born.

«For the Way leads to eternity», said the Ancient Sage.

«And though your body ceases, you will not be destroyed».241

Chapter 42. «There is no greater sin than desire», said the Ancient Sage,

«No greater curse than discontent.242

Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.243

Hence the sage desires non-desire.244

By not wanting, there is calm».245 5

At the nadir of the Valley,

There is no more thought.

There is only He Who is beyond thought,

Being Himself pure, incomplex, unique Thought,

Thought in which there is no duality arising from desire, 10

But only the Oneness of perfect love.

Within the perfect Oneness,

There is no more separation.

No more separation between joy and sorrow.

Joy and sorrow are united, 15

Forming the feeling which is beyond feelings,

And which is called dispassion.

The fullness of joy and the fullness of sorrow –

Their fullness abiding in a common emptiness,

Felt as a sweet contrition. 20

This is peace.

Peace that comes after the storm of desire has passed.

This is oneness.

Oneness that comes when the duality of contending no longer holds sway,

And when the desire to possess the object has been taken away. 25

At the nadir of the Valley,

Blessed are they who weep,

For they, possessing othing,

Are the sole inheritors and possessors of joy.

Chapter 43

Come to me, says the Way.

The way seems long

Because you cannot see the end.

But when you reach the end and look back,

The way will seem so very short, 5

And you will see that you could never have known happiness

Unless you had known that sadness,

That sadness of following the way which seemed so long.

You will be thankful.

You will be glad that things happened just as they did, 10

That they are just as they are.

You will be thankful in the harbor,

If only you can endure to the end.246

Chapter 44

«To be empty is to be filled», said the Ancient Sage.

«To be tattered is to be renewed».247

Follow me, says the Way.

Descend into the Valley,

Enter the city, 5

And then be raised up with me in ignominy:

Torn and tattered,

Dragged down to the most abased place on earth,

Atop the highest tree

On the highest hill outside the city.248 10

Follow me, says the Way,

Hollow, empty, selfless,

Resting in forsakenness.

There abide in me,

As I abide in you.249 15

Follow me to where the lowly ones wait,

Abandoned in the bowels of the earth.

Then up the valley path:

We reach the flatland,

And their hearts burn when they see us. 20

Mounting the clouds of heaven,

We climb to where no man has yet climbed,

And come to a gate no man has yet entered.

I have shown you the Way, 25

And I leave myself with you.

The world laughs;250

It is wise and prudent,

But I am made foolish,

And I weep with sorrow.

But see, in this realm where no man has gone, 30

Which no man can glimpse,

I have opened the mysterious gate to you.

Enter into my joy.

You who have tasted my pain.

Abide in the highest, 35

You who have been abased in the depths with me.

Be filled with me,

You who have been emptied with me. 40

Be renewed,

You who have been tattered with me.

Taste incorruption,

You who have lain in the grave with me.

The Way has been opened, history has been renewed.

The Way of return has been effected.

The groaning earth waits for you to see 45

That you need to wait no longer.

Chapter 45

All, all the way down

To where you no longer calculate and think,

And care not what others think.

All, all the way down

To where you have nothing to lose, 5

Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide.

This is the point of emptiness.

«Emptiness penetrates the impenetrable», said the Ancient Sage,

«The softest things in the world overcome the hardest.

Through this I know the benefit of acting without desire».251 10

Acting without desire,

You will see a flash of the beauty you had forgotten

From when you were a little child.

A little child does not calculate.

Humble, he has not yet formed the desires which break the original unity and harmony. 15

Soft and yielding like water, his mind is therefore boundless.

Spontaneous, he accepts without thought the Course that all things follow.252

Therefore the Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«One who possesses abundant virtue resembles an infant child.

This is the consummation of harmony».253 20

And the Way, when He took flesh, said:

«Whoever shall humble himself as this little child,

The same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven».254

Again the Ancient Sage said:

«Controlling the breath to make it gentle, 25

One can be as a little child,255

Then, when desires arise,

One can put them to death with the Way:

The Way of nameless Simplicity».256

Descending with the mind into the secret place of the heart, 30

And gently checking the breath,

Followers of the Way now call upon the Name of Him Who had once been nameless.

And the Way, Who took flesh,

Puts to death all the passions of their flesh –

All pride, ambition, rancor and resentment – 35

Purifying their hearts,

Re-creating them in His image,

The image of a pure and innocent child,

The image of the nameless Simplicity.

The Sixth Ennead: The Way of Humility and Forgiveness

Chapter 46. Self-esteem, like desire for created things,

Breaks the Original Harmony, Primal Simplicity.

Making divisions in nature,

It treats some things as worthless.

Using things in nature in an unnatural way, 5

It сorrupts them by misuse.257

As a person who desires created things is a slave to the senses,

So is a person who has conceit.

For the person of desire is attracted through his eyes and ears to others,

While the person of conceit tries to attract the eyes and ears of others to himself. 10

He charms and impresses only by what is visible and audible

Those who judge virtue only with their senses.258

Thus, said the Ancient Sage:

«On riptoe, none can stand firmly.

Scraddling, none can walk well. 15

One who justifies oneself has no glory.

One who boasts of one’s abilities has no merits.

One who has conceit is not the chief among men.

Such, by the judgment of the Way, resemble the ‘dregs and rumors’ of virtue.

Those who possess the Way have no occasion for them».259 20


Ch’en Yuan-du (Luke Ch'en), The Master Washes the Feet of the Disciples.

Chapter 47

«The softest thing in the universe», said the Ancient Sage,

«Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.260

The stiff and unbending is the disciple of death,

The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.

A tree that is unbending is easily broken. 5

The hard and the strong will fall.

The soft and weak will overcome».261

If a painful experience comes upon a humble soul,

She bends and thus remains whole.

Straightway she goes against herself, 10

Straightway she accuses herself,

And she does not set about accusing anyone else.

Thus she goes on her way,

Untroubled, undepressed, in complete peace of mind,

Having no cause to be angry or to anger anyone.262 15

Therefore, said the Sage:

«Mix with all that is humble as dust.

This is called the Original Harmony.

It cannot be made intimate, nor can it be alienated.

It cannot be benefited, nor can it be harmed. 20

It cannot be exalted, nor can it be debased.

For this very reason it is the highest, most valuable thing in the world».263

The humble soul, at one with the dust of the earth,

Knows the power behind saying, «Forgive me».

She is among the strongest in the world, 25

I nr nothing is more powerful than lowliness.264

Chapter 48

«The Way», said the Ancient Sage, «covers its cutting edge.265

It transcends entanglement,

Softens its Light,

Merges with dust".

True humility cannot be defined in words,266 5

For it is the raiment of the Primal Essence Himself.

The Way of Heaven clothed Himself in it.

Descending from His loftiness,

He used it to hide His splendor,

Lest His creation be consumed by the fiery vision. 10

Creation could not look directly upon His Uncreated Light,

Nor could it hear the voice of His thunders.

Therefore He descended not in an earthquake,

Nor in a fire, nor in a terrible and mighty sound,267

But, as said the Ancient Prophet268, 15

«Like rain upon a fleece,

Like raindrops falling upon the earth» softly,269

Concealing Himself in the veil of His flesh,

Speaking with us in the body

Wrought in the womb of the Maiden.270 20

«Abasement», said the Ancient Sage, «is the foundation of exaltation.271

Loftiness is based in lowliness.272

Hence the sage wears coarse garments

But embraces a jewel in his bosom».

Every one who puts on the coarse garment of humility 25

Is like unto the Way Who put it on before us,

When, through His wearing the coarse body of our lowliness,

Creation beheld His loftiness,

And at last received its jewel:

The vision of its Maker.273 30

Chapter 49

«Why is the sea the king of a hundred streams?» asked the Ancient Sage.

«Because it lies below them.

Therefore it is the king of a hundred streams».274

The Master of the universe,

Showing us how to walk the way of humility, 5

Took a towel275

And, bending down below his disciples.

Washed their feet.276

Learn not from an angel, He said,

Nor from man, nor from a book, 10

But from me –

From my indwelling,

From my illumination and action within you;

For I am meek and humble in heart

And in thought and in spirit, 15

And your souls shall find rest from conflicts277

And relief from thoughts.278

For just as pride dissipates the soul through imaginings and distractions,

So humility collects the soul through stillness of the thoughts

And concentrates her within herself. 20

Thus the humble soul wishes to enter and dwell in stillness,

To forsake her former concepts together with the senses,

To become as something that does not exist in creation,

That has not come into being in this world,279

That is totally unknown, 25

Even to herself, even to the senses.

Thus hidden, she remains with the Master of the universe,

Descending ever toward Him, the infinite Sea of Essence,

The King of a hundred streams.280

Chapter 50

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«The sage keeps his half of the bargain,

But does not exact his due.

A man of virtue performs his part,

But a man without virtue requires others to fulfill their obligations».281 5

And the Way, when He became flesh said:

«Give to everyone who asks you,

And of him who takes away your goods ask them not again.

Do good, and lend, hoping for nothing back».282

The Way, when He became flesh, 10

Gave His own life for those to whom He had given life,

Yet He did not exact His due.

Call Him not just,

For our frail nature would not be strong enough

If His justice were to rise up to make exaction.283 15

Rather, call Him merciful,

For He came employing mercy in place of justice,

Since at all times we are held by debt.

There is a Bondsman for those who are bound by debt.

There is a Healer for those who have stumbled, 20

Who have bruised the simplicity of their original nature.

There is a Bondsman and a Healer:

Even He Who asked that mercy be shown to his murderers,

Who pardoned them even as He hung on the Tree.284

«The Breath of Heaven», He says, «is upon me 25

To preach good tidings to the poor,

To heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim forgiveness to the captives,

And to set free those who are bruised».285

Chapter 51

«By means of the Way», said the Ancient Sage,

«One is forgiven when one sins».286

When one loves, expecting nothing,

One has the power to forgive anyone anything.

Therefore the Way, Who is perfect love, and loves perfectly, 5

And Who came to earth out of love,

Came with the power to forgive all people all crimes.

This was a gift He offered up.

But it can be received only by him who himself loves,

And thus forgives. 10

For when one loves, expecting nothing,

One will not only forgive everything –

One will be forgiven everything.

Of those who love much, said the Way,

Much will be forgiven. 15

But of those who love little,

Little will be forgiven.287

This is the Way of Heaven.

The spirit of forgiveness is the spirit of the Way.

The heart of the follower of the Way is distinguished by its power to forgive. 20

But the heart cannot attain to perfect forgiveness

Until the Uncreated Breath enters into it288

With the perfect love that He had with the Mind and the Word

From pre-eternity.

Chapter 52

When one blames others, there is contention;

When one finds one’s own faults, there is peace.

When one demands restitution for a crime, there is contention;

When one forgives, there is peace.

When the Way took flesh, He took the blame on Himself 5

And He forgave everyone, even His own murderers:

Therefore did He come bringing peace.289

And yet this noncontention is in contention with the contention of this world:

Therefore did He come, bringing His peace with a sword.290

Chapter 53

«Those who are virtuous», said the Ancient Sage, «do not dispute.

Those who dispute are not virtuous».291

A sign of a virtuous and compassionate soul is forgiveness of every debt.

A sign of an evil mind is bitter speech to one who has fallen.292

A virtuous soul, having been lowered into the Valley, 5

Into the broken wholeness of humility,

Does not know how to have enmity.

She forgives to the last, pardons to the last.

She does not exact her due, does not demand restitution.

Milt judges only herself, 10

Always searching endlessly for the crime within herself.

Like the Way Whom the soul follows,

She will forgive and pardon everyone,

Even her own torturer.

Asking for mercy in the secret place of the heart, 15

She is granted it from the Source of all mercy.

And from there, from the secret place,

She radiates mercy to all created things.

If the heart has forgiven and excused,

Offenses will not be remembered. 20

They are remembered only in the attic, the memory,

Without the hearts participation.

Thus it is necessary to distinguish between these two things:

The heart and the reason.

If the heart has forgiven, it will never remember, 25

For it has no memory.

The brain мая remember,

But the heart will protest and compel the brain to be silent.293

Chapter 54

When you have descended into the Valley with Him,

And with Him have been raised upon the Tree;

When the tears of joyful, liberating pain flood your eyes,

And you taste the sweetness and perfect freedom of dying to this life,

Then you no longer feel anger or rage, 5

And you know what it means to forgive everyone and everything.

Then you see how He, when nailed to the Tree,

Could have forgiven everyone who has ever lived and ever will live.

Still you see the people around you,

And still you see their weaknesses and failings, 10

But now you feel such compassion for them,

As if they were small children.

And you yourself feel like a child.

In a sense, nothing has changed:

The good in you remains, 15

The evil in you remains, hut now you know,

You know that there is nothing more sublime, beautiful and profound than the Cross.

Now you know what it means that He spilt His Blood for you in an agony of pain,

Which even He was afraid and sorrowful to endure. 20

And when, at the supper before His final agony,

He asks you to drink His Blood and eat His Flesh

For the forgiveness of sins,

You too are ready to give up your flesh and shed your blood,

You too are ready to forgive,294 25

That you мая share in what He is,

In His ultimate, liberating love.

A love that is a pain,

But a pain that is a peace,

And a peace that passes all understanding.295 30

The Seventh Ennead: The Way of Perfect Love

Sui Tzi-hua, The Mystical Supper

Chapter 55

«The man of the highest virtue», said the Ancient Sage,

«Is like water which dwells in lowly places.

In his dwelling he is like the earth, below everyone.

In giving, he is human-hearted.

His heart is immeasurable».296 5

The humble soul is like water,

Water that softens the earth of the heart,

The place of her dwelling.

Through her humility in dealing with people,

Hardness and callousness are expelled from her, 10

Swept away like a heavy rock.

A new vista opens to the gaze of the mind:

The wounds with which her whole nature is riddled.

Then does the softened heart begin to assist the mind with mourning,297

And, as the soul begins to know herself for the first time, 15

She begins for the first time to know others.

Finding the one wounded nature common to all,

In her compassion she dwells, in the earth of the heart,

Beneath them.

Her heart has become immeasurable.

She has found the way to perfect love.

Chapter 56

Those who follow the Way

Are known by their love.

Every one that loves is born of the Way

And knows the Way.

He that loves not, knows not the Way, 5

For the Way is love.

He that abides in love, abides in the Way,

And the Way in him.

There is no fear in love,

But perfect love casts out fear.298 10

Nothing is more cherished by the Way than perfect love.

For the Way is simple and undivided,

And love unites that which has been torn asunder.

Love creates a single identity of will and purpose,

Free from faction, 15

Among many and among all.299

The Word, Who had existed with the Mind and the Breath

In a union of perfect love, oneness of Essence,

From before the beginning of time:

This same pre-eternal Word, when He came to earth, Prayed to His Father, the Mind, 20

That such perfect love, such oneness, might exist between those who followed Him, the Way,

And between Him and them:

«Father, keep through Your own name those whom You have given me,

That they мая be one, as we are. 25

That they мая all be one,

As You, Father, are in me,

And I in You;

That they also мая be one in us.

And them, and You in me, 30

Chat they мая be made perfect in one.

And that the world мая know that You have sent me,

And have loved them, as You have loved me.

For You loved me

Before the foundation of the world. »300 35

Chapter 57

«The Great Way», said the Ancient Sage,

«Is unchanging, all-pervading, unfailing».301

How, then, did the Way, when He took the form of flesh subject to death,

Show Himself to be unfailing?

How, if not by the eternal, immutable love that He shares with the Mind and the Breath? 5

Love is not merely a feeling.

Feelings pass like clouds and мая dissolve in tears.

Love is a vow.

An eternal vow that never passes away, never changes, never fails.302

A vow that, whether united or separated in the body, 10

One will always be with one’s beloved.

Unchanging, unfailing,

It was with such a vow that the Way bade farewell to His beloved:

Those whom the Father had placed into His hands.

For He said to them in their sorrow, 15

I will not leave you orphans:

I will come to you.

I will come to you.

Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more,

But you will see me. 20

Because I live, you shall live also.

And that day you shall know that I am in my Father,

And you are in me, and I in you.303

«Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you.304

And lo, I am with you 25

Always, even to the end of the world».305

Chapter 58

«Treat well those who are good», said the Ancient Sage,

«Also treat well those who are not good;

Thus is goodness attained.

Be sincere to those who are sincere.

Also be sincere to those who are not sincere; 5

Thus is sincerity attained».306

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«If you love those who love you, what thanks do you have?

For sinners also love those who love them.

If you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks do you have? 10

For sinners also do even the same.

And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks do you have?

For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again».307

On account of these five reasons do people love one another:

For the sake of the Way, as when the virtuous person loves everyone; 15

Or for natural reasons, as parents love their children and children love their parents;

Or out of vainglory, as the one who is honored loves the one who honors him;

Or for avarice, as the one who loves a rich person for what he can get;

Or for pleasure, as the one who is enslaved to his fleshly desires.

The first of these is praiseworthy, 20

The second neutral,

And the rest belong to the passions.308

Chapter 59

«Return love for great hatred», said the Ancient Sage.309

«Reward bitterness with care.310

Repay enmity with virtue.311

Requite injury with kindness».312

And the Way, when He became flesh, said: 5

"Love your enemies.

Do good to those who hate you.

Bless those who curse you.

Pray for those who spitefully use you».313

One who is still affected by human judgments does not yet have perfect love, 10

Such as when one loves the good and hates the evil person.

Perfect love does not split up the one nature of people

According to their various dispositions,

But ever looking steadfastly at this one original nature,

Made in the image of the Way, 15

It loves all people equally.

It is good to them, and forbearing,

And puts up with what they do.

It does not think evil but rather suffers for them.

In this manner also did the Way, 20

Manifesting His love,

Suffer for all people equally,

His friends and His enemies,

Granting to all equally His gift –

His hope – 25

Which they мая receive or reject

According to own determination.314

Chapter 60

«Love your neighbor as yourself», said the Way.315

Through love of neighbor do we enter into love of the Way:

For our neighbor is the image of the Way;

And thus the Way accepts what we do for our neighbor as if it were done for Him.

When this realization is kept constantly in mind, 5

It becomes the source of the purest love for our neighbor.316

«And who is my neighbor?» the Way was asked.317

Our neighbor is whomever the Way puts before us:

Insider or outcast,

Faithful or unfaithful, 10

Friend or foe,

Help or burden,

Encourager or reviler,

Rescuer or murderer.

Therefore, said the Ancient Sage, 15

«Even if people be bad, why should they be rejected?318

The holy man takes care of all people,

And in consequence there is no rejected person».319

Love for neighbor, then, is love for all equally,

And equally with ourselves. 20

Perfect love is the summit of detachment;

It knows no distinction between one’s own and another’s,

Between male and female,

Between black and white.320

Such single, simple love has a single cause: 25

The Way Who is honored and loved in every neighbor.321

Through love of neighbor do we enter into love of the Way:

And as the former grows in us, so does the latter,

Until at last the Way is all in all,322

And we forget ourselves. 30

Then love becomes a depth of illumination,

A fountain of fire inflaming the thirsty soul.

Growth is added to growth.

Love is the progress of eternity.323

Chapter 61

«If I were possessed of the slightest knowledge», said the Ancient Sage,

«Traveling on the Great Way,

My only fear would be to go astray».324

There are two kinds of fear for those who follow the Way.

In the first, the soul follows the Way of the universe 5

Out of fear of universal retribution.

In the second, she follows the Way Out of love for the Way Himself.

Having known the sublimity of being with Him, and in Him,

She fears to fall away from Him, 10

To do anything apart from Him.

This is the perfect fear, born of perfect love,

That casts out the first fear.

For it is said, «Perfect love casts out fear».325

No longer does the soul act out of fear, 15

But she fears out of love.326

The soul who embarks on the Way must come to the first fear. Fearing, she is humbled.

Humbled, she cuts off desire for created things.

Cutting off desire, she becomes gentle. 20

Becoming gentle, she is given power to follow the Way.

Following the Way, she is purified.

Purified, she is illumined.

Illumined, she is found worthy to enter the inner chamber of the mysteries.327

Entering the inner chamber, she is initiated into the essences of created things. 25

Initiated into the essences, she passes beyond even these,

And at last rests in the Word-Spouse, her Bridegroom:328 329

The Mystery beyond all mysteries,

The Limit of the limitless ascent,

The End of the endless Way.330 30

Chapter 62. He who truly loves ever keeps in his imagination the face of his beloved,

And there embraces it tenderly.

Such a one can get no relief from his strong desire even in sleep;

Even then he holds converse with his loved one.

Therefore, one who was wounded with love said of himself: 5

«I sleep because my nature requires it,

But my heart is awake in the abundance of my love».331

So it is with bodily things,

And so it is with the bodiless.332

For the Way of Heaven, 10

Going out from Himself in the abundance of His love,

Awakens in the pure soul an intense longing.

Drawn out of herself,

The soul will not rest until immersed in her Beloved.

Encompassed in the wholeness of His reality, 15

She will wish to be recognized not from herself,

But from that which embraces her,

Like air made luminous by light,

Like iron penetrated through and through by fire.333

If the face of a loved one clearly and completely changes us, 20

Making us cheerful, happy and carefree,

What will the Face of the Way of Heaven do When He makes His presence felt invisibly.

Without imagination,

In a pure soul? 25

Even a babe does not cling to the breast of its mother

As a child of love clings to the Way of Heaven at all times.334

Chapter 63

The power of love is in hope,

For by it we await the reward of love.

The failing of hope is the disappearance of love.

Hope is a rest from labors in the midst of labors.

Toils depend on it. 5

Mercy encircles it.

Experience of the gifts of the Giver of Life engenders hope,

But he who is without experience remains in doubt.335

The Eighth Ennead: The Way of Suffering

Chapter 64

Desire for created things, combined with the senses,

Becomes pleasure.

The senses, stimulated by desire,

Take advantage of the sensible object.

Sensual pleasure is the mother of division, 5

Breaking the primal Oneness, perfect love.

Sensual pleasure is the mother of death,

And the death of such pleasure is suffering.336

In desiring to escape pain

We seek refuge in sensual pleasure, 10

Calling it by the name of happiness.

But in trying to blunt pain with pleasure,

We but increase our pain,

For pleasure and pain are intertwined.337

Therefore did the Ancient Sage cry: 15

«O Misery! Happiness lies by its side!

O Happiness! Misery lurks beneath it!»338

Wherever there is pleasure, there must be pain,

There must be pain:

For through pain we have not chosen, 20

The Way turns us from illusory pleasure we have chosen.339

Pain forces us to rise above the realm of the senses,

To live according to our true nature,

Our original designation.

Ch’en Yüan-du (Luke Ch’en), The Agony in the Garden.

There are two kinds of pain: 25

Pain of the senses –

An absence of the object of the body''s desire;

And pain of the soul –

An absence of the object of the soul’s desire.340

Pleasure of the senses is emptiness ever filling itself, 30

Yet remaining ever empty.

Pleasure of the soul is fullness ever emptying itself,

Yet remaining ever full.

Therefore, said the Ancient Sage,

«What is most full seems to be empty, 35

But in its use cannot be exhausted».341

Chapter 65

Pleasure of the senses is succeeded by pain of the soul,

While acceptance of pain of the senses is succeeded by pleasure of the soul.

This soul-pleasure we call joy:

The endless joy of binding oneself to the Way.

Thus the followers of the Way gladly accept suffering. 5

Patiently enduring involuntary afflictions,

They turn them into smooth, untroubled paths.

Through self-restraint, they do away with sensual pleasure,

Which is intricate, convoluted, wrapped around every sensible object.342

Therefore, said the Ancient Sage, 10

«The Way unravels tangles,

Submerges turmoil".343

Redirecting the impulses of their desire,

Followers of the Way act according to nature.

They no longer yearn for bodily pleasure, 15

Nor do they fear pain.

Overcoming such yearning and such fear,

Together with the sensual self-love that gave them birth,

They kill with a single blow all the passions.344

Therefore, said the Ancient Sage, 20

«Control of the passions by will is called strength».345

Free from desire for created things,

Followers of the Way pass from the outer to the inner.

Going beyond superficial aspects of these things,

They come to know their inner essences,346 25

As words within the Primal Word,

Thoughts of the Primal Mind.

Therefore, said the Ancient Sage,

«The sage is always without desire,

In order to contemplate the mysteries of nature».347 30

Offering themselves to Him Who is beyond all created things,

Sharing in His self-emptying,

Followers of the Way become wholly united with Him,

The true goal of love and longing,

The true End and fulfillment of Desire.348 35

Chapter 66. It is easy to reconcile the existence of suffering in the world . Until one truly suffers.349

Then, when it seems impossible to reconcile the suffering in oneself,

It seems impossible to reconcile the suffering in the world.350

Instead of an explanation to reconcile suffering, 5

The Maker of things has offered Himself, and His life.

For He alone suffered as an absolute innocent.

He alone had nothing to learn, nothing to gain from suffering.

He alone, being born of a Virgin,351

Was not born out of that pleasure which must be succeeded by pain.352 10

Yet he alone lived to the full all the pain and sorrow of which a human being is capable.

The suffering of the Way, then, was a purely gratuitous act.

In it He offered Himself no false consolation,

No easy escape in pleasure, such as we use every day.353


Sensual pleasure, born of desire, is the mother of death, 15

And the death of such pleasure is suffering.

In submitting to suffering and death without having been born out of pleasure,

The Way put pleasures child to death,

Thus giving birth to life without end,

To eternal rest and stillness, 20

For those who would share in His pain.354

This did the Ancient Sage foreglimpse and foretell, saying:

«The Way of nameless Simplicity is the death of the passions.

The death of the passions will lead to stillness,

And thus the world will naturally be at rest».355 25

Chapter 67

«Although three-tenths of the people appear to live», said the Ancient Sage,

«They are moving in the realm of death.

Why is this?

Because of their excessive striving after life».356

Before the Way became flesh, 5

People tried to escape the suffering and death of the flesh.

Alter He came, people gladly accepted suffering and death in order to follow Him.

For them, to be with Him and suffer

Was far greater than to be without Him and not suffer.

For them there was only one way. 10

One must mourn in order to rejoice.

One must choose death to the passions in order to live.

But if one chooses happiness, one will reap sorrow.

And if one chooses one’s own life, one will surely die.357

«Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad», said the Way, 15

«You who are poor in spirit,

You who mourn, and are meek,

Who hunger and thirst after righteousness,

Who are reviled and persecuted».358

Before the Way took flesh, 20

The world did not know the way to rejoice

In poverty, sorrow, helplessness, and persecution.

After He came, everything is reversed for those who follow Him.

Sorrow has lost its fatal poison.

Quiet hope lurks and grows in the inner recesses of despair. 25

The weight of suffering cannot burden one unto destruction

Because sweet fruit is lifted from its branches.

Sorrows are a furnace in which gold is purified.

Suffering is the hammer in the hand of the sculptor

Which perfects the statue.359 30

Even this did the Ancient Sage foreglimpse and foretell, saying,

«In many things, advantages lurk in suffering,

And suffering lurks in advantages».360

For those who follow not the Way,

Sorrows are storms which ravage everything. 35

For those who follow the Way,

Tears of sorrow are a quiet rain which causes life to bloom.361

To those who follow the Way, the Way Himself said:

«You shall weep and lament,

But the world shall rejoice;

And you shall be sorrowful, 40

But your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

And your joy no one can take from you».362

Chapter 68

Our fleshly self desires in a way that opposes our spiritual self,

Our spiritual self in a way that opposes our fleshly self.

This duality within us is called the «discord», the «twofold struggle».

So long as we are constrained by our fleshly self,

We are fragmented, cut off from the unity of the Way. 5

Hut when our fleshly self is constrained by our will,

It is swallowed up in the Way''s unifying Power.363

When the Way became flesh and died as a man on the Tree,

His is Spirit was parted from His Body,

And the veil of the Temple was rent in twain.364 10

When the follower of the Way dies to this life in going towards Him,

The temple of that persons being is likewise torn.

It is rent in two, becoming spiritual like the Way Himself,

Yet not ceasing to belong to the fleshly body in which it dwells.

It is torn, cutting off and tearing away the will of the fleshly self, 15

Which is sweet, but inclined to depart from the Way.

I he heart is ripped, tearing itself into pieces,

And these pieces it carries as a pure offering,

A gift to the Giver of life.365

Thus detached from the fleshly self, 20

The spiritual self is freed from discord and becomes a unity.

Embraced and enfolded in the One,

It is unified in pristine Simplicity,

Restored to its original state.

Duality is brought into subjection, 25

Swallowed up in the One.366

This the Sage called «the mysterious agreement», «primal union».367

The primal union, then, comes from pain of heart:

Tearing the poor heart,

Stripping it of desire for things created, 30

Out of desire for the Uncreated Way.

It is a union that comes from tearing in half.

Without inner war, there is no inner peace.

Chapter 69

The Way calls all people equally to follow Him.

The call is accepted if, when trouble or losses come,

The follower of the Way admits that he deserves them,

When he is thankful for them,

When he does not count his life dear to himself, 5

And completely surrenders himself to the Way.368

Therefore, said the Ancient Sage:

«When you are at one with loss,

The loss is experienced willingly».369

Suffering is a true sign that one is a follower of the Way, 10

A Real of His election.

He, the Creator of our spirits, re-creates and refashions our spirits through trials.

An unutterable consolation appears in the heart,

And earthly sufferings become a source of delight.

A sorrowless earthly life, on the other hand, 15

Is a true sign that the Way has turned His face from a person,

Even though outwardly the person мая appear reverent and virtuous.370

Chapter 70

Pain of heart, endured in devotion to the Way,371

Is the way to perfection,372

The way to the perfect humility, perfect love.

Through it, the follower of the Way comes to full stature;

Through it, he becomes stronger. 5

Therefore, the Ancient Sage said:

«When opposing armies are evenly мартаed,

The one that is in grief over losses

Is the one that will be victorious».373

Without offenses, humility has not been tested. 10

Without adversities, true love has not been tested.

Without afflictions, virtue has not been tested.374

As soon as a follower of the Way allows self-exaltation to steal into his soul,

The Way permits afflictions to grow and prevail,

Until the follower returns to the weakness and humility which is the function of the Way,

And thus becomes stronger.

The soul can never learn the power of the Way while abiding in comfort.

The soul can never value the love of the Way until she is in circumstances which cut off hope.

The Way reveals His Power by saving her

The Way reveals His love by giving hope where there is no hope. 20

The Way reveals Himself, but only in a region of stillness,375

When the soul is alone, imprisoned in the heart,

Seeking Him alone in her pain.

Chapter 71

I give you no formulas, says the Way,

I give you no equations.

But I will heal you in my own time,

In my own way,

Imperceptible to you. 5

Your mind races, seeking a solution;

But there is no solution that can be grasped by the mind.

Your mind tries every avenue,

Thinking that at least one will open up suddenly on the longed-for goal:

Freedom from pain. 10

But every avenue is a dead-end;

You are up against the wall,

The goal is not reached.

That is because the pain is there for a reason.

It is like a maddening fever that burns up and drives out disease. 15

By it alone do I heal you:

Without it you will die in your sickness.

By it alone do I change you unto perfection:

Without it you will be as a foreigner in my Kingdom.

Seek no formula. 20

Seek no equation.

Only be patient:

Wait on me

While I do my unseen work inside you.

When you are changed and fit for my Kingdom, 25

You will know that something happened,

And that is all you will know.

Hut there is no need for thought.

Enter, then, into my joy,376

Yon who have waited, in devotion, in my pain. 30

Chapter 72. His concern is not with the ideas of men;

Nor with their classes, or states, or nations, or warring factions;

Nor with what they call their rights.

These pass from day to day like clouds.

Many say that He wishes us to be happy. 5

They try to make Him what they want Him to be.

The truth is, He cares not for that happiness,

For that happiness is not real, but a dream.

It too is like clouds,

Clouds that change shape and vanish into air. 10

Who remembers yesterday s clouds?

Beneath the clouds is the ground we call sorrow.

This sorrow is our earth, the dust of the ground,

The very substance of life.

Unlike the clouds, it is solid and firm.


Beneath the earth are hidden reservoirs of water,

And this water we call joy,

A joy deeper than the happiness of the clouds.

But this water мая not come to the surface of its own accord.

Therefore one must labor to dig the ground of sorrow

In order to tap it.

The Ninth Ennead: Following the Way of Truth

Chapter 73

The Ancient Sage, follower of the Way, said:

«The Way is like an empty vessel I hat мая yet be drawn from

Without ever needing to be filled.

It is like a deep pool that never dries».377 5

And the Way, when He became flesh, said to the woman at the well:

«Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;

But the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up into unending life».378

Before you can drink of the still pool,

Concealed under the ground of sorrow, 10

You must become like the pool,

Become like the water, which can only flow down.

The water has one law to follow,

And it never fails to follow it.

People, too, have laws to follow: 15

Laws of the universe, not invented by man.

Simple laws, yet unchanging, inexorable.

There can be no others,

There can be none better.

Not even the Maker of the universe will change you 20

Ch’en Yüan-du (Like Ch’en), The Woman at the Well

Unless you change your mind.379

Unless you abandon the path of avarice, sensual pleasure, and self-exaltation.

Unless you collapse, fold in on yourself, and open out of yourself.

Unless you release everything, redirect all your energy,

Despoil yourself of all that is not of the Way, 25

Strip your heart of all created things,

Renounce your will, inclinations, whims, and fancies,380

And allow yourself to be carried by Him downstream,

Down to the still pool,

Drinking of which

You shall never thirst again. 30

Chapter 74

At the birth of love, there is no decision to be made:

Spontaneously it arises, as if it had always been there.

Hut for love to endure, a decision must be made:

The decision to sacrifice oneself for one’s beloved.

So it is with the one who follows the Way out of love, 5

Who seeks to become one with Him.

I he decision is not to love, but to sacrifice;

And sacrifice is the evidence and confirmation of love.

Chapter 75

«There are those», said the Ancient Sage,

«Who would conquer the world and make of it what they desire.

I see they will not succeed.

The world is like a hollow utensil

And cannot be manipulated.381 5

That which is not the Way soon fades away.382

Hence the sage assists the natural development of all things,

Even though he does not venture to interfere».383

When something accords with the Way,

All creation aids it. 10

But when the Way rejects something,

Creation too opposes it.384

The stream flows gently

But its course is inexorable.

There are many directions, 15

But there is only one Way by which the stream flows.

The Way has given to the soul freedom of movement

And power over herself.

Exercising this freedom and this power,

She мая think she is fulfilling her true nature, 20

Not knowing that her nature was made, not merely to move,

But to move in the right direction.385

As free of the Way, one can go in many directions,

But then one becomes a slave of those directions.

As a slave of the Way, one can follow naught but one Course, 25

But then one is free.

Universal freedom is a lie

Because there is only One Course in the universe, not many.

Yet universal freedom is true

Because, in following the One Universal Course, 30

One encompasses the cosmos.

Having the freedom of choice,

One chooses freedom from choice.

Chapter 76

«It is better to leave alone», said the Ancient Sage,

«Than to forcibly attempt to make full.

The hall that is filled with gold and jade is not easy to protect.

Pride in riches and honors must lead to calamity».386

Even if we have a great abundance of everything 5

It will always seem to us that we are deprived,

We will always be in fear,

Despondent, agitated, fainthearted,

Every hour full of cares, anxieties and vain sighing,

Until we turn again to the Way and raise ourselves to Him 10

As the sunflower ever turns and raises itself to the sun.387

Chapter 77

The Way is not found by those who seek after signs,388

Although He мая give signs.

The Way is not found by those who seek after wonders,

Although He мая manifest wonders.

The Way is not found among those who seek after communion with spirits, 5

Although He alone is pure Spirit, and is adored by spirits.

Those who seek after signs мая behold false signs.

Those who seek after wonders мая be deceived by lying wonders.389

Those who seek after communion with spirits мая come into contact with dark spirits, hiding under a guise of light.390

The Way is not found by these seekers, 10

But by those who, whether they seek or not,

Are irresistibly drawn

To what is wise and true,

To what is simple and pure,

To what is childlike, 15

To what is lowly,

And sadly, sadly beautiful.

Chapter 78

The Way of Heaven, being Himself simple and undivided,

Wants souls that come to Him to be simple and guileless,

Immune to crafty thinking,

Far removed from all ulterior motive,

With unmeddling thought, sincere character, 5

Frank and unpremeditated speech.391

Even customary human knowledge,

With its many notions, deliberations and subtleties,

Hinders one from entering into primal, unified Simplicity,

The guilelessness of one’s true nature.392 10

Therefore, said the Ancient Sage:

«Empty yourself of everything,393

Attain the utmost purity.394

Let the mind rest at peace».395

And the Way of Heaven, when he became flesh, said: 15

«Let not your heart be troubled,

Neither let it be afraid.396

Which of you by taking thought

Can add one cubit to his stature?

If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, 20

Why take thought for the rest?»397

The follower of the Way thus frees himself from worry, planning and calculation,

From slavery to human concepts,

Not allowing himself to be carried along by thoughts and images,

He establishes himself in a childlike state of mind. 25

Becoming an infant, he yet lacks the deficiencies of an infant.398

Being an adult, he yet lacks the complexities of an adult.

«Become as a little child once more», said the Ancient Sage.399

And the Way, when He became flesh, said:

«Unless you are converted, and become as little children, 30

You shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven»400

That is, into spiritual Divine vision401

Wherein, as an innocent babe, one basks in the simple delight

Of the simple Truth that is above compounded knowledge.

For the secret things, said the Way, 35

«Have been hidden from the wise and prudent,

And have been revealed unto babes».402

The pure in heart, and they alone, shall see Him as He is.403

Chapter 79

«The essence of the Way», said the Ancient Sage,

"Is supremely true:

Within is the evidence.

From the beginning until now its name has remained,

And it contains all Truth».404 5

A two-faced person –

One who is one thing outwardly and another inwardly

Such a one not only lies, but makes his very life a lie.

Guile and duplicity sap oné's power,

Engendering cowardice and fear. 10

But the honest and true person –

One who is the same outwardly and inwardly –

Remains unconfused

And thus has boldness without fear.

When the Way returns, 15

He will come with boldness and with power,405

For there is no falsehood to be found in Him.

He has boldness because He is one.

He has power because He is not double.

He is unconquerable because He cannot be divided. 20

His eye is single,

And the Light of His eye fills the whole body of His unique, eternal Being.406

Wholly single, simple and unconfused,

He is therefore wholly true.

And not only true, nor yet an embodiment of Truth, 25

Hut Truth Itself,

I m He said, «I am Truth».407

Chapter 80

«The Way is hidden and without name», said the Ancient Sage,

«Yet it alone supports all things and brings them to fulfillment».408

When the Way comes to a child, hurting, afraid, unknowing,

The child becomes a man, deep, strong, and wise.

When the Way comes to a man, jaded and stained, 5

The man becomes a child, innocent and pure.

In the Way, there is a reversal,

A circle of return,

That each thing мая become whole and complete in itself,

And each person, a universe. 10

Chapter 81

Оne who sees all ways as having equal truth Will find his life not long enough to follow the Way to the end.

Оne cannot be simple and guileless, free of multiple deliberations.

Оne will be as a person having many lovers,

Occupied with each, yet given wholly to none. 5

Оne e will not be married to the Way,

But will remain outside the Bridal Chamber.

To be married to the Way is to belong wholly to Him.

To belong wholly to Him is to have Him belong wholly to you.

It is only then that He can finish His work inside you. 10

It is only then that He can carry you to His end:

To His end, where there shall never be separation from Him,

The sole Bridegroom.

* * *


P. Ivanov, “Orthodox Translations of the New Testament into the Chinese Language.» Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate) (in Russian), no. 3 (1998), p. 62.


The Life of Christ by Chinese Artists, 3d cd. pp. 1–2.


Line 5. the Ancient Prophet: King David.


6. Psalm 17(Septuagint).


7. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 144.


Line 9. the Ancient Sage: Lao Tzu.


10–11. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 1 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


12–13. St. Gregory Palamas, “Theophanes.» Quoted in Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 37.


15–17. St. Gregory Nazianzen, Ora­tion 38. Quoted in Lossky, Mystical Theol­ogy, p. 36.


18–20. St. Maximus the Confessor, Se­lected Writings, p. 144.


22. Cf. John 8:58.


23–25. St. John Damascene, “Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith,” 1:4, in Saint John of Damascus: Writings, p. 172.


St. Dionysius the Areopagite, “The Mystical Theology,» ch. 5, and “The Di­vine Names,» 13:3, in Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, pp. 129–30, 141.


35–40. St. Maximus the Confessor, Se­lected Writings, pp. 143–44, 148.


Ibid., 2:2, p. 148.


45–48. Cf. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 1.


49–51. St. Maximus the Confessor, Se­lected Writings, p. 144.


Psalm 109(Septuagint).


13. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 25 (Gi-ming Shien, Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


14–29. St. Dionysius of Alexandria. Quoted in St. Athanasius the Great, “De­fense of Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria,» p. 185.


16. St.John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ, pp. 38–39.


17–21. Cf. John 3:8.


4–5. St. Gregory Nazianzen, “The Second Theological Oration,» in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d series, vol. 7, p. 289.


1. The teaching of Pythagoras.


1–5. These lines are taken from Gi-ming Shien’s commentary on ch. 42 of the Tao Teh Ching, as recorded by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose.


7. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 42 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


8–9. St. Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 22. Quoted in Lossky, Mystical Theology, p


16. Protopresbyter Michael Po- mazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p. 78.


13–17. Lossky, Mystical Theology, p. 47.


20–22. St. John Damascene, “Ortho dox Faith,» 1:8, p. 187.


7–9. St. John Damascene, “Orthodox Faith,» 2:2, p. 205.


St. Ircnaeus of Lyons, “Against Heresies,» 5:6. Quoted in Pomazansky, p. 111.


4–5. Cf. Psalm 148(Septuagint).


6. Cf. Psalm 32(Septuagint).


8. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 4 (Gi-ming Slum Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


9–10. John 1:3.


13–14. John 21:25.


16. St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ, pp. 38–39.


18. Cf. Psalm 32(Septuagint).


Genesis 1:26.


21–22. Genesis 2:7.


27–28. Cf. Genesis 1:2.


1–10. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 39 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


Ibid., ch. 42 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


John 14:6.


5–6. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 40 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


9. Cf.John 14:6.


12. John 2:19–21.


19. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 281.


14–17. John 12:24.


23–26. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 52 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


54. Cf.John 13:23.


56. Cf.John 6:53.


57. Cf. Matthew 28:20.


9. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 14 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


10–17. Ibid., ch. 35 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


18. Ibid., ch. 1 (Gia-fu Feng and Eng­lish, trans.).


28–33. Ibid., ch. 21 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


38–42. Ibid., ch. 51 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


43. Ibid., ch. 4 (Arthur Waley, trans.).


Cf . John 14:9.


St. Dionysius of Alexandria. Quoted in Pomazansky, Orthodox Dog­matic Theology, p. 88.


3. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 28 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


4. Ibid. (Gi-ming Shien, Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


5–6. Ibid., ch. 14 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


7–28. St. Athanasius the Great, “Against the Heathen,” p. 5.


32. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 21 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


33–38. Ibid., ch. 14 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


1–4. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 16 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


Cf. Romans 8:22.


17–20. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 173.


1–3. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 6 (Ch’u Ta-kao, trans.).


the Ancient Prophet: Ezekiel.


4–6. Ezekiel 44(Septuagint).


10. Cf. l Kings 19:12.


16–21. This image is drawn from the teachings of St. Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow.


Luke 1:38.


29. Cf. Philippians 2:7.


the Mystic Mother: the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.


36. Cf. Daniel 2:34–35.


the Ancient Prophet: Daniel.


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 8 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


1–8. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 51 (Gi-ming Shien, Waley, Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


14. Matthew 16:16.


16. Matthew 11:11; Luke 7:28.


1–4. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 34 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


the Ancient Prophet: Isaiah.


5–8. Isaiah 42:2–3 and Matthew 12:19--20.


12–15. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 34 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


19. Luke 22:27.


20–25. Isaiah 53(Septuagint).


26–27. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 25 (John C.Wu, trans.).


10–12. Matthew 5:5, 3; Luke 6:21.


14. Matthew 5:11.


6–7. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 22 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


9–12. Luke 6:20–21, 24–25.


14–17. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 38 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


19–20. Matthew 6:3.


22–24. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 66 (Waley, Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


26. Mark 9:35.


28–29. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 77 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


30. Cf. Matthew 23:13.


31. Matthew 21:43.


34–35. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 9 (Lin Yu-tang, trans.).


37–38. Matthew 6:19.


40–41. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 44 (Lin Yu- tang, trans.).


43. Matthew 16:26.


45–46. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 78 (Thomas Cleary, trans.).


47. Ibid., ch. 22 (Lin Yutang, trans.).


49–53. Matthew 5:39–40.


55–56. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 42 (Gi-ming Shien and Lin Yutang, trans.).


58. Matthew 26:52.


60–62. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 64 (Cleary, trans.).


64–69. Matthew 13:31–32.


71–72. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 63 (Gia-ln Feng, English, Ch'u Ta-kao and Ren Jiyu, trans.).


76. Matthew 13:33.


78. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 78 (Lin Yutang, trans.).


80–81. Matthew 13:47.


83. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 78 (Lin Yutang. trans.).


85. Cf. Matthew 10:29.


87. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 34 (Lin Yutang, trans.).


89–92. Matthew 6:28–29.


94–95. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 40 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


97. 2Corinthians 12:9.


99–101. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 25 (Wu, trans.).


103. John 4:26.


2–5. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 2 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


6–7. Ibid., ch. 64 (Waley, trans.).


22–23. Luke 18:19.


28. Matthew 11:5.


31. John 7:46.


14. John 3:5.


1–3. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 34 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


3. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 14 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


10. Revelation 1:8, 1:11, 21:6, 22:13.


18. 1Corinthians 15:28.


25–26. Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33.


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 23 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


7. Cf. Matthew 19:14.


14. Cf. John 21:20.


2–9. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 20 (Gi-ming Shien, Gia-fu Feng, English and Waley, trans.).


11. Cf. Luke 17:20–21.


12–14. Luke 9:58.


2–3. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 78 (Lin Yutang, Ch’u Ta-kao, Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


the Ancient Prophet: Isaiah.


15–17. Isaiah, ch. 53 (Septuagint).


18–21. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 62 (Wu, Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


23–24. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 78 (Lin Yu­tang, Ch'u Ta-kao, Gia-fu Feng and Eng­lish, trans.).


the Prophet: John the Baptist.


26. John 1:29.


2–4. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 28 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


the City: Jerusalem.


6–8. Luke 19:35–36.


the Ancient Prophet: Isaiah.


13–15. Isaiah 53:3.


2–4. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 28 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


the Valley: the Kedron Valley.


a Garden: the Garden of Gethsemane.


1–7. John 16:32.


13. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 173.


18. Luke 22:44.


27. Cf. Matthew 26


1–5. Cf. Luke 22:53.


10–11.Cf.John 19:11.


7. Cf. John 13:34.


2–7. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 22 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


11–14. John 18:36.


17–18. Cf.Marthcw 27:12.


19. John 18:38.


21–22. Marrhew 27:13–14.


23–26. From the African American Spiritual «They Crucified My Lord (And He Never Said a Mumbalin Word)». Matthew 27:46.


29–30. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 34 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


31–33. Ibid., ch.73 (Gia-fu Feng, Eng­lish and Waley, trans.).


35–37. John 16:33.


1–11. Matthew 27:28–31.


12–13. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 41 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 41 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


10. John 19:28.


11–12. Cf. Matthew 18:12.


18–19. John 15:13.


20–21. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 13 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


23–24. Cf.John 12:32.


1–3. Cf.John 3:13.


5–6. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 76 (Wu and Waley, trans.).


8–9. Luke 18:14.


24. Cf.John 12:24.


30. Cf. Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34.


7–8. St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel, pp. 73–74.


9–13. St. Athanasius the Great, “Against the Heathen,» p. 5.


15–17. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 13 (Gi-ming Shien and Ren Jiyu, trans.).


19–23. Luke 12:22,28.


29–34. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 12 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


35. Ibid., ch. 38 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


36. Ibid., ch. 12 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


38–42. Ibid., ch. 52 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


44–46. Matthew 6:6.


47–58. St. Gregory Palamas. Greek Philokalia, vol. 5, p. 111.


59. Luke 12:29.


60–61. Matthew 6:34.


62–63. Luke 12:31–32.


64–65. Luke 17:20–21.


66–68. Matthew 6:6.


1. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 34 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


4–10. From Gi-ming Shien''s commen­tary on ch. 55 of the Tao Teh Ching, re­corded by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose.


14. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 19 (Ren Jiyu, trans.).


15–16. Ibid., ch. 64 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


17. Ibid., ch. 15 (Gi-ming Shien and Eugene [Fr. Seraphim) Rose, trans.).


24–28. Ibid., ch. 48 (Gia-fu Feng, Eng lish, Ch’u Ta-kao and Cleary, trans.).


1. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 19 (Ch'u Ta-kao, Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


2. Ibid., ch. 22 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


8. Ibid., ch. I (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


2–3. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 50 (Waley and Victor H. Mair, trans.).


4–5. Ibid., ch. 7 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


7–8. Luke 17:33.


20–21. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 10 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


2–8. Matthew 11:28–30.


14. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 8 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


24. Luke 14:28.


27–28. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 16 (Gi-ming Shien and Waley, trans.).


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 46 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


3. Ibid., ch. 3 (Gia-fu Feng and Eng­lish, trails.).


4. Ibid., ch. 64 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


5. Ibid., ch. 37 (Cleary, trans.).


13. Matthew 24:13.


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 22 (Gi-ming Shien, Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


the highest hill: Golgotha.


14–15. John 15:4.


27. Luke 10:21.


8–10. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 43 (Rose, trans.).


15–17. From Gi-ming Shien’s com­mentary on ch. 55 ol the Tao Teh Ching, re­corded by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose.


19–20. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 55 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


20–23. Matthew 18:4.


25–26. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 10 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


27–29. Ibid., ch. 37 (Ren Jiyu, trans.).


3–6. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 262.


9–12. Ibid., pp. 226–27.


14–20. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 24 (Gi-ming Shien and Wu, trans.).


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 43 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


3–7. Ibid., ch. 76 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


8–15. St. Abba Dorotheus of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings, p. 96.


17–22. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 56 (Ch’u Ta-kao and Waley, trans.).


24, 26. St. Abba Dorotheus, Discourses and Sayings, pp. 95–96.


1. Tao Teh Ching, ch.4 (Ren Jiyu, trans.).


2. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Di­vine Ascent, 25:41, p. 156.


13–14. Cf. 3 Kings 19:11–12 (Scptua- gint).


the Ancient Prophet: King David.


16–17. Psalm 71(Septuagint).


6–20. St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies, homily 77, pp. 381–83.


21. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 39 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


22. Ibid. (Cleary, trans.).


25–30. St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies, homily 77, pp. 381–83.


1–3. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 66 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


4–6. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 25:58, p. 159.


7–8. See John 13:5.


14. Cf. Matthew 11:29.


9–17. St.John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 25:3, p. 150. Cf. Matthew 11:29.


23–24. Ibid., ch. 70 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


18–27. St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies, homily 71, p. 348.


2–5. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 79 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


7–9. Luke 6:30, 35.


14–15. Cf. Psalm 130:3–4.


13–24. St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies, homily 64, p. 314.


25–29. Cf Luke 4and Isaiah 61:1.


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 62 (Gia-fu Feng, English and Cleary, trans.).


14–17. Luke 7:47.


19–22. From the teaching of Elder Sampson Seivers. In The Orthodox Word, no. 177 (1994), p. 216.


7. Cf.John 14:27.


9. Matthew 10:34.


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 81 (Ch'u Takao, trans.).


3–4. St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies, homily 48, p. 230.


5–28. From the teaching of Elder Sampson Seivers. In The Orthodox Word, no. 177 (1994), pp. 222–23.


24–25. Cf. Matthew 26:26–28.


30. Philipians 4:7.


1–5. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 8 (Gi-ming Shien and Rose, trans.).


9–14. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena, p. 65.


1–10. Cf. 1 John, ch. 4.


11–16. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 174.


24–35. John, ch. 17.


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 25 (Waley, trans.).


8–9. Cf. 1Corinthians 13:8.


16–23.John 14:18–20.


24. Luke 24:49.


25–26. Matthew 28:20.


1–6. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 49 (Mail, trans.).


8–13. Luke 6:32–34.


14–22. St. Maximus the Confessor, in Selected Writings, p. 47.


1. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 79 (Ch’u Ta-kao, trans.).


2. Ibid., ch. 63 (Gia-fu Feng and Eng lish, trans.).


3. Ibid. (Cleary, trans.).


4. Ibid. (Wu. trans.).


6–9. Luke 6:27–28.


10–27. St. Maximus the Confessor, 111 Selected Writings, pp. 42–43.


1. Mark 12:31.


2–6. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, the Arena, p. 63.


7. Luke 10:29.


16. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 67 (Ch’u Ta-kao, trans.).


17–18. Ibid., ch. 27 (Gi-ming Shien Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


23. St. Maximus the Confessor, in Selected Writings, p. 51. Cf. Galatians 3:28.


25–26. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena, p. 63.


29. Cf. Ephesians 1:23; 1Corinthian 15:28.


31–34. St.John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 30:35, p. 228.


1–3. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 53 (Mair, trans.).


14. John 4:18.


4–16. St. Abba Dorotheus, Discourses and Sayings, pp. 109–10.


17–24, Cf. St. Maximus the Confessor, in Selected Writings, p. 131.


27. Cf. St. Maximus the Confessor, in Selected Writings, p. 131.


25–27. St. Nicetas Stithatos, in The Philokalia, vol. 4, pp. 120–21.


29–30. Lossky, Mystical Theology, p. 63.


6–7. Cf. Song of Solomon 5:2.


1–9. St.John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 30:12–13, p. 226.


13–19. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, pp. 276–77.


20–27. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 30:16, pp. 226–27.


1–8. St.John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 30:28, 30–31, 33, pp. 228–29.


1–8. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, pp. 198–99, 277.


9–14. Ibid., pp. 175,246.


16–17. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 58 (Ren Jiyu, trans.).


20–21. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 244.


25–29. Ibid., p. 232.


35–36. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 45 (Ren Jiyu, trans.)


5–9. Ibid., pp. 198–99.


11–12. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 4 (Gi-ming Shien and Mair, trans.).


13–19. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, pp. 174, 277.


21. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 55 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


24–25. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, pp. 277–78.


29–30. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 1 (Gi-ming Shien and Rose, trans.).


31–35. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, pp. 175, 277–78.


1–2. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 236.


3–4. Ibid., p. 240.


5–9. Fr. Seraphim Rose. Quoted in Hieromonk Damascene, Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, p. 103.


10. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 245.


11–14. Fr. Seraphim Rose. Quoted in Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, p. 103.


15–21. St. Maximus the Confessor, in The Philokalia, vol. 2, pp. 199, 245–47.


23–25. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 37 (Ren Jiyu and Waley, trans.).


1–4. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 50 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


14. Cf. Luke 17:33.


15–19. Cf. Matthew 5:3–12.


20–30. Archimandrite Seraphim Aleksicv, The Meaning of Suffering, p. 23.


32–33. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 42 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


34–37. Aleksiev, The Meaning of Suffer­ing, p. 22.


39–43.John 16:20, 22.


1–7. St. Nicetas Stithatos, in The Phi­lokalia, vol. 4, p. 144.


10. Matthew 27:51.


11–19. Abbess Thaisia of Leushino, An Autobiography, p. 169.


22–26. St. Nicetas Stithatos, in The Philokalia, vol. 4, p. 144.


27. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 56 (Ren Jiyu, Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


2–6. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena, p. 99.


8–9. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 23 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


10–17. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena, p. 99.


1. St. Mark the Ascetic, in The Philoka­lia, vol. 1, p. 136.


1–2. Cf. James 1:2–4.


7–9. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 69 (Ren Jiyu, trans.).


10–12. St. Mark the Ascetic, in The Philokalia, vol. 1, p. 114.


13–21. St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies, homily 72, p. 355.


29. Matthew 25:21.


2–5. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 4 (Waley, trans.).


7–8. John 4:14.


21. Cf. Romans 12:2.


24–27. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Quoted in Malcolm Muggeridge, Some­thing Beautifulfor Cod, p. 48.


1–5. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 29 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


6. Ibid., ch. 55 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


7–8. Ibid., ch. 64 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


9–12. St. Mark the Ascetic, in The Philokalia, vol. 1, p. 142.


17–22. St. Athanasius the Great, “Against the Heathen,” p. 6.


1–4. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 9 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


5–11. “Saint John Maximovitch ol Tobolsk.» In The Orthodox Word, no. 11 (1966), pp. 162–63.


1. See Matthew 16:4.


7–8.2 Thessalonians 2:9.


9. See 2Corinthians 11:14.


1–6. St.John Climacus, The Ladder oj Divine Ascent, 24:14, 17–18, 26, pp 146–48.


7–10. St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascttual Homilies, homily 37, p. 177: homily 72, p 353.


12. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 16 (Gia-fu Fing and English, trans.).


13. Ibid. (Rose, trans.).


14. Ibid. (Gia-fu Feng and Englinh trans.).


16–17. John 14:27.


18–21. Matthew 6:27; Luke 12:25–26.


23–26. See St. Isaac the Syrian, Assetical Homilies, homily 37, p. 177; homily 72, p. 353.


28. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 28 (Gia-fu Feng and English, trans.).


30–31. Matthew 18:3.


32. St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homi­lies, homily 72, p. 353.


36–37. Luke 10:21.


38. Matthew 5:8; 1 John 3:2–3.


1–5. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 21 (Gi-ming Shien, trans.).


15–16. Cf. Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27.


21–22. Cf. Matthew 6:22.


27. John 14:6.


1–2. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 41 (Waley, trans.).

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