Translator: Paul U. Unschuld and Hermann Tessenow in Collaboration with Zheng Jinsheng; University of California Press Berkeley Los Angeles
“I have heard, in high antiquity there were true men.60 They upheld [the patterns of] heaven and earth and they grasped [the regularity of] yin and yang. They exhaled and inhaled essence qi. 61 They stood for themselves and guarded their spirit. Muscles and flesh were like one. 62 Hence, they were able to achieve longevity, in correspondence with heaven and earth. There was no point in time when [their life could have] come to an end. 63 Such was their life in the Way.64
At the time of middle antiquity, there were the accomplished men. They were of pure virtue and they were entirely in accord with the Way. 65 They adapted themselves to [the regularity] of yin and yang and they lived in harmony with the four seasons. They left the world and they departed from the common.66 They accumulated essence and preserved their spirit. They roamed between heaven and earth and their vision as well as their hearing went beyond the eight reaches. This way, they added to their lifespan and were strong. They, too, may be counted among the true men.
Next, there were the sages. They lived in harmony with heaven and earth and they followed the patterns of the eight winds. 67 They accommodated their cravings and their desires within the world and the common and their heart knew no anger. In their activities they had no desire to disassociate themselves from the world; in their <clothing and> bearing they had no desire to be observed by the common people. 68 Externally, they did not tax their physical appearance with any affairs; internally, they did not suffer from any pondering. They made every effort to achieve peaceful relaxation and they considered self-realization as success. Their physical body did not deteriorate and their essence and their spirit did not dissipate. They, too, could reach a number of one hundred [years].
Next, there were the exemplary men. They took heaven as law and the earth as rule; their appearance resembled sun and moon. They distinguished among and arranged the stars [on the basis of their] movements contrary to or following [the movements of] yin and yang. 69 They distinguished among the four seasons. They went along with high antiquity and they acted in complete union with the Way. They, too, were able to add to their long life and to have their full time.”
|Just as a reference: Lao Tzu(True Men), Chuang Tzu(Accomplished Men), Confucius(Sages), Mo Tse(Exemplary Men)|
60 Wang Bing: “True men are those who have attained the Way.” For classic definitions of the “true men” see 莊子, 大宗師, and 淮南子, 本經訓, as well as 史記, 始皇本紀.
61 442/34: “ ‘Exhaling and inhaling essence qi’ is one of the ancient methods of nourishing life. Another name is 行氣, ‘to move the qi.’ ” See also 莊子, 刻意篇.
62 L in Yi et al.: “Quan Yuanqi has 身肌宗一 instead of 肌肉若一; the Tai su, too. Yang Shangshan comments: Muscles and stature of the true man’s body are of identical quality with the Uppermost Pole. Hence, [the text] states: ‘are of one kind with the One.’ ”
63 Wang Bing: “Their body paralleled the Way and their longevity paralleled the Way. Hence, they were able to live for an endless time in that their long life lasted through the entire [existence of] heaven and earth. 敝 stands for 盡, ‘to exhaust entirely.’ ” On the basis of Huang’s 皇 commentary on 論語, 為政 (蔽, 當也), NJCD explains 敝 as identical here with 蔽 in the meaning of 相當, “corresponding.” In this case, the passage reads: “Hence, they were able to have a long life corresponding to heaven and earth.” Gao Jiwu/9 agrees. Shen Zumian: “The character 敝 is a mistake; maybe this should be the character 敵, ‘to oppose.’ Elsewhere it is stated that 敝 should be 適, ‘to correspond,’ because 敝 and 適 have often been exchanged for each other in antiquity. However, on the basis of character similarity, it should be 敵.” In this case the passage should read: “They were able to obtain longevity despite the limitations imposed by heaven and earth on the lifespan of man.” Such an interpretation is in keeping with the following sentence.
64 Zhang Qi: “These four characters are an erroneous insertion.” Zhang Yizhi et al.:
“These four characters make no sense; there must be an erroneous omission.”
65 L in Yi et al.: “Quan Yuanqi has 合于道數.” 497/34 agrees on the basis that the surrounding text abounds with “daoist” notions and identifies 道數 as “daoist arts and numbers.”
66 Gao Shishi: “With their body they were part of the customs of their days; with their heart they transcended the customs of their days.”
67 A concept referring to winds originating in the eight cardinal points East, South, West, North, East-North, East-South, West-South, and West-North. See also Suwen
26, note 21.
68 A t first glance, the three characters 被服章 make no sense here, and they do not fit into the metrical structure of the preceding and the two following lines which are composed of six characters each. Lin Yi et al. and various later commentators agree that they represent accidental amendations. In contrast, 1715/80 proposes to move 被服章 in front of the line before last, 無恚嗔之心, to create two parallel strings of eight characters with similar structure (適嗜 .. 之間 and 被服 .. 之心) and identifies 被 as preposition, reads 服 in the sense of 遵守, “to observe,” and 章 in the sense of 章法, ‘law.’ The entire eight character passage should read, according to 1715/80: “they observed the constraints of the laws and had no angry feelings.” 1208/131 leaves the three characters 被服章 at their place and sees a string of four characters 被服章舉. He identifies 章 as 彰, ‘to display,’ and, on the basis of 國語, 周語下, 舉 as 譽, ‘praise.’1208/131 reads the entire passage from 被 to 俗 as: “In the style and color of their clothing they did not display the fashions of their days.” 475/41 identifies 被 with 剪,“to eliminate,” and reads 服章 as 章服, “official dress,” in the sense of “strict hierarchic order.” In this case the passage would read: “The Sages did away with rigid hierarchies.” We consider the two characters 被服, ‘clothing’, a later insertion intended to elaborate on the following statement. 章 was added to form together with 舉 a parallel two character compound, ‘bearing’.69 Wang Bing: “星 refers to all the stars; 辰 refers to the pole star. 辯列 is to say: they defined the sequence of the more distant and not so distant positions occupied by the stars in the course of 365 days. ‘They went against or they followed yin and yang’ is to say: by conducting an opposing and/or regular counting based on the six jia 六甲 [pattern] and other patterns they figured out subtle omens of luck or misfortune. The Yin Yang Scripture 陰陽書 states: the jia zi 甲子[cycle] of man and center starts from jia zi 甲子 and is followed by yi chou 乙丑, etc., counting in accordance with the usual sequence. The jia zi [cycle] of the earth and of that below starts from jia xu 甲戌 and is followed by gui you 癸酉, counting against the usual sequence. That is meant by‘they went against or they followed yin and yang.’ ”