The Ancient Scripture of the Red Text Cave

Translated into English by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884

WHERE there is motion, that motion proceeds from immobility; where there is action, that action proceeds from inactivity. Where there is inactivity, the spirit reverts to its original; and when the spirit thus reverts, all things become still. Where there is no motion, the vital force becomes extinct; and the vital force being extinct, all things are produced, all spirits maintain each other; all objects depend upon or help each other, causing the rudiment [of all things] to revert to its primary source.

By silent contemplation this will become clear. I myself bear it constantly in mind; [the doctrine], entering uninterruptedly, does away with all distinctions between life and death, and makes me one with Heaven and Earth.

When the sense of sight is forgotten, the Light becomes infinitely copious; when the sense of hearing is annihilated, the heart becomes concentrated upon the Eternal Depths. If these two organs of perception be both forgotten, the man will be able to shut himself off from the allurements of the world-pure, guileless, and complete, in perfect unison with the Universe,-vast, limitless, like a vivifying aura, subject to no distinctions of mankind. The greatness of Heaven and Earth is that with which I am linked; the multitude of created things is what I direct, or grasp. How can it be said that, to the very furthest limit whither we can penetrate, there are any faults or imperfections?

If a man cherishes the Invisible, he will be able to maintain for ever the Visible-that which has a semblance; if he cherishes the Incorporeal, the Corporeal will attain to perfection and purity; and if perfection and purity co-operate to promote each other, the result will be the acquisition of perpetuity. It is because Heaven has obtained this original purity that it lasts for ever; it is because Earth has obtained it that it is enduring; it is when Man obtains it that he achieves immortality. The reason that the vulgar are unable to attain to prolonged existence is that they lose their hold of the Invisible and suffer the Incorporeal to escape them; thus they are unable to preserve their bodily organs and nine apertures together with the pure essence they received at birth, as one whole, and therefore it is they die.

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