The Scripture of Purity and Stillness 太上老君说常清静经
老君曰, 大道无形生育天地. 大道无情运行日月.大道无名长养万物. 吾不知其名,强名日道. 夫道者有清有浊有动有静.天清地浊天动地静. 男清女浊男动女静. 将本流末而生万物. 清者浊之源动者静之基. 人能常清静天地悉皆归. 夫人神好清而心扰之. 人心好静而欲牵之. 常能遣基欲而心自静澄其心而神自清. 自然六欲不生三毒消灭. 所以不能者为心未澄欲未遣也. 能遣之者内观其心, 心无其心. 外观其形,形无其形. 远观其物,物无其物. 三者既悟唯见于空. 观空亦空,空无所空. 所空既无,无无亦无. 无无既无湛然常寂,寂无所寂. 欲岂能生欲既不生,即是真静.真常应物真常得性. 常应常静常清静矣.如此清静渐入真道.既入真道名为得道.虽名得道实无所得.为化众生名为得道. 能悟之者可传圣道
Lord Lao said “The Great Dao has no shape, though it gave birth to Heaven and Earth. The Great Dao has no affections yet it moves the sun and the moon. The Great Dao has no name, though it constantly supports the 10,000 things. I don’t know its name. If I had to name it I would call it a “Way.”
This Dao contains purity and multiformity, it contains motion and stillness. Heaven is pure, while the Earth is multiform. Heaven is in motion, while the Earth is still. The masculine contains purity, while the feminine contains multiformity. The masculine is in motion, whereas the feminine is in stillness. From its source flowing to its end, it creates the 10,000 things. Purity is the source of diversity; movement is the foundation of stillness. If a person can be pure and still, all of Heaven and Earth will return to him. The original human spirit is best in purity, but the heart may disturb it. The human heart is best in stillness, but desires pull it away. If a person can forever eradicate the foundation of his desires his heart becomes naturally still. When the heart is clear then the spirit becomes naturally pure.
Naturally the six desires do not arise and the three poisons disappear. If a person is unable to achieve this, it is because his heart has not settled yet, because his desires have not been dispelled.
If people able to eradicate their desires, when they look within, they will see their heart and it will be a heartless heart. When they look outwards, they will observe forms, but these will be formless forms. When looking further they will observe objects but these will be objects with no objectivity. When a person is awakened to these three observations all they see is taken as emptiness.
Recognizing that emptiness itself is empty, there can be no such thing as emptiness. So emptiness is nothing. A lack of nothing is also nothing. So although we lack (this awakening to) nothingness, we are already nothing, with a depth and clarity of eternal serenity. It is serene because it has no specific serenity. How could desires arise in it? When desires are not created true stillness exists.
Truth always corresponds to the material world, so nature is derived from truth. By constantly responding, but being constantly still a person achieves eternal purity and stillness. Having such purity and stillness one gradually enters the True Dao. Having entered the True Dao a person is called one who has achieved the Dao.
Although it is called “achieving the Dao,” there is nothing really to be achieved. For the purpose of bringing awakening to all living creatures it is given the name “achieving the Dao”. The person who has come to realization of this is able to pass on this Sacred Way.