An excerpt from the writings of ConfuciusOnly those who are their absolute true selves in the world can fulfill their own nature; only those who fulfill their own nature can fulfill the nature of others; only those who fulfill the nature of others can fulfill the nature of things; those who fulfill the nature of things are worthy to help Mother Nature in growing and sustaining life; and those who are worthy to help Mother Nature in growing and sustaining life are the equals of heaven and earth.
The next in order are those who are able to attain to the apprehension of a particular branch of study. By such studies, they are able to apprehend the truth. Realization of the true self compels expression; expression becomes evidence; evidence becomes clarity or luminosity of knowledge; clarity or luminosity of knowledge activates; active knowledge becomes power and power become a pervading influence. Only those whoa re absolutely their true selves in the world can have pervading influence.
It is an attribute of the possession of the absolute true self to be able to foreknow. When a nation or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be lucky omens. When a nation or family is about to perish, there are sure to be signs and prodigies. These things manifest themselves in the instruments of divination and in the agitation of the human body. What happiness of calamity is about to come, it can be known beforehand.
When it is good, it can be known beforehand. When it is evil, it can also be known beforehand. Therefore he who has realized his true self is like a celestial spirit.
Truth means the fulfillment of our self; and moral law means following the law of our being. Truth is the beginning and end (the substance) of material existence Without truth there is no material existence. It is for this reason that the moral man values truth.
Truth is not only the fulfillment of our own being, it is that by which things outside of us haven existence. The fulfillment of our being is more sense. The fulfillment of the nature of our being is moral sense. The fulfillment of the nature of things outside of us is intellect. These, moral sense and intellect, are the powers or faculties of our being. They combine the inner or subjective and outer or objective use of the power of the mind. Therefore, with truth, everything done is right.
Thus absolute truth is indestructible. Being indestructible, it is eternal. Being eternal, it is self-existent. Being self-existent it is infinite. Being infinite, it is vast and deep. Being vast and deep, it is transcendental and intelligent. It is because it is vast and deep that it contains all existence. It is because it is transcendental and intelligent that it embraces all existence. It is because it is infinite and eternal that it fulfills or perfects all existence. In vastness and depth it is like the earth. In transcendental intelligence it is like heaven. Infinite and eternal, it is the infinite itself.
Such being the nature of absolute truth, it manifests itself without being seen; it produces effects without motion; it accomplishes its ends without action.
The principle in the course and operation of nature may be summed up in one word: because it obeys only its own immutable law, the way in which it produces the variety of things is unfathomable.
Nature is vast, deep, high, intelligent, infinite and eternal. The heaven appearing before us is only this bright, shrinking mass; but in its immeasurable extent, the sun, the moon, stars and constellations are suspended in it, and all things are embraced under it. The earth, appearing before us, is but a handful of soil; but in all its breadth and depth, it sustains mighty mountains without feeding their weight; rivers and seas dash against it without cause it to leak. The mountain appearing before us is only a mass of rock; bit in all the vastness of its size, grass and vegetation grow upon it, birds and beasts dwell on it, and treasurers of precious minerals are found in it. The water appearing before us is but a ladle full of liquid; bit in all its unfathomable depths, the largest crustaceans, dragons, fishes, and turtles are produced in them, all useful products abound in them.
In the Book of Songs it is said:
"The ordinance of God, How inscrutable it is and goes on for ever."
That is to say, this is the essence of God. It is again said:
How excellent it is, the moral perfection of King Wen."
That is to say, this is the essence of the noble character of the Emperor Wen. Moral perfection also never dies.
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