The Yellow Emperor approached from below upon his knees.
Kowtowing twice upon the ground, he said, "I am told that you are in possession of perfect Tao.
May I ask how to order one's life so that one may have long life?"
Kuangch'engtse jumped up with a start. "A good question indeed!" cried he.
"Come, and I will speak to you of perfect Tao.
The essence of perfect Tao is profoundly mysterious; its extent is lost in obscurity.
See nothing; hear nothing; guard your spirit in quietude and your body will go right of its own accord.
Be quiet, be pure; toil not your body, perturb not your vital essence, and you will live for ever.
For if the eye sees nothing, and the ear hears nothing, and the mind thinks nothing,
your spirit will stay in your body, and the body will thereby live for ever.
"Cherish that which is within you, and shut off that which is without for much knowledge is a curse.
"Then I will take you to that abode of Great Light to reach the Plateau of Absolute Yang.
I will lead you through the Door of the Dark Unknown to the Plateau of the Absolute Yin.
"The Heaven and Earth have their separate functions.
The yin and yang have their hidden root.
Guard carefully your body, and material things will prosper by themselves.
"I guard the original One, and rest in harmony with externals.
Therefore I have been able to live for twelve hundred years and my body has not grown old."
The Yellow Emperor kowtowed twice and said, "Kuangch'engtse is surely God.
"Come," said Kuangch'engtse, "I will tell you.
That thing is eternal; yet all men think it mortal.
That thing is infinite; yet all men think it finite.
Those who possess my Tao are princes in this life and rulers in the hereafter.
Those who do not possess my Tao behold the light of day in this life and become clods of earth in the hereafter.
"Nowadays, all living things spring from the dust and to the dust return.
But I will lead you through the portals of Eternity to wander in the great wilds of Infinity.
My light is the light of sun and moon.
My life is the life of Heaven and Earth.
Before me all is nebulous; behind me all is dark, unknown.
Men may all die, but I endure for ever."
Photo by Albert Vila