March 15, 2009


Heaven goes on forever,
And Earth endures long.
The reason why Heaven and Earth are long-lasting
Is that they do not live for themselves.
Therefore, they can long endure.
Hence, in putting himself last, the shèng rén puts himself first.
He treats his person as if it was foreign to him,
And yet that person is preserved.
Is it not because he is selfless
That he can fulfill the self?

COMMENTARY by Koeng S. Wan:
The shèng rén (sage) is selfless, a selflessness that emulates that of Heaven and Earth, which means treating himself with detachment and impartiality (as prescribed in Division 5), and being desireless.

With regards to being first or last, the shèng rén doesn't order the importance of things that include himself, so his lack of desire might appear to set himself in the last place in the eyes of others but can also appear to set himself in the first place in terms of following the Dào. Any ordering, however, is an illusionary judgment like beauty and goodness (Division 2).

Furthermore, by being desireless, the shèng rén is able to live long like Heaven and Earth; and by being detached and impartial with respect to himself he is enabled see how his own Xuán is expressed (Division 1) and attain fulfillment (Division 16).