THE SIXTY-FOUR JADE MAXIMS OF LU TI
1. Before thou whisperest "Jesus!" take thy hand out of thy neighbor's pocket.
2. Fine music delighteth the soul with a joy rarer than that to be derived from silks and the purest jade; but tom-tom music openeth a door to spirits of the lower air.
3. More potent before the Dragon Throne than all the commandments is unselfish love.
4. If thou lettest thy thoughts run about like monkeys, how can one expect to hear aught from thee but gibberish?
5. If thou wilt not let the gambling spirit of men naturally express itself, they will gamble with the resources of the land, and perhaps impoverish a nation.
6. Before you hang the murderer, make sure that the murdered man did not deserve his fate.
7. The Gods, knowing all things, permit all to live: man, knowing little, judgeth and slayeth.
8. Money is like water in a siphon: unless it be permitted to flow out, more will not flow in.
9. If thou insist upon serving the people, it is possible that thou wilt be crucified.
10. While the learned man sitteth silent at the feet of wisdom, the partially learned one talks.
11. Tho thou shouldst paint this in golden letters a thousand miles long and five hundred miles high across the Heavens, it would still be insufficiently advertised: Be Thyself!
12. Selfishness unerringly defeats itself.
13. Let him who feareth to be alone, go his way without thee; but let thine ears be wide open to the words of him who loveth Solitude.
14. For it is truly written that the Gods address themselves to a man when he is alone, not when he is at a bridge party, or on the floor of the Stock Exchange.
15. Because the Outer Barbarian cannot raise his thoughts above monetary gain, grease, machinery, theology and the satisfaction of his loins and belly, does he therefore express a superior civilization?
16. Of preachers and of preachments there is no end, but when thy heart speaketh, listen.
17. Seekest thou a wife in a bawdy house? Look not for KwanYin in a bank.
18. Before thou lock up the thief in prison, make sure that the community where he was captured did not deserve him.
19. It is written: "Of what a man thinks, that he becomes." Guard, therefore, thy thoughts, lest from being more precious than jade, they become more destructive than vitriol and make thee their first victim.
20. Since we are all children of the Gods, if thou makest another unhappy, thou defilest thine own nest.
21. In thy search for spiritual perfection, despise not the world of flowers, dogs and children. From these, also, perfection may be learned.
22. If power be given thee, use it for the sake of others, lest it rend thee.
23. It hath been said that if a maid love and lie with a man to whom she is not wed, then these two are immoral; but I say that it is more immoral to reject than to welcome even the humblest expression of love.
24. After railing at Chance, go forth and study the courses of the stars. Perchance thou wilt discover that Chance is a synonym for God.
25. There are many who cry "Peace! Peace!" fearing lest physical conflict deprive them of ease and comfort. The only peace worth having is that which bringeth calm in the very heart of battle. Without it, one may be in agony unspeakable before his own fireside.
26. In times of financial depression, men seek for many causes. There is but one cause – dishonesty.
27. There are many paths that wind among the worlds towards the King of Heaven. Unselfishness cutteth straight across them all into the heart of Tao.
28. When the Master Jesus was asked for the Law, He said: "Love the Lord thy God……. And thy neighbor as thyself." There is no other Law.
29. It is written in the Book of the Elixir of Life: "If the wrong man use the right means, the right means work in the wrong way; but on the other hand, if the right man make use of even the wrong means, the wrong means work in the right way." Thus we are assured of the triumph of honorable intentions.
30. Let there be in thine inmost heart a place alone, where in delicious solitude thou canst meet thy God.
31. It is possibly true that thy friend's wife appears fairer to thine eyes than thine own wife; but art thou sure that thy wife does not also appear more desirable to thy neighbor than his wife? Whilst thou art busy defiling his fireside, how dost thou know he is not defiling thine with equal success?
32. There is only one thing more dangerous than a stupid man. That one thing is a stupid man in a position of power.
33. With three exceptions, the best medicines are expensive. The exceptions are sunshine, laughter and water.
34. If thou wouldst rise above the multitude, thy first conquest must be of Fear.
35. In consulting the Spirits of the Upper Air, let thy purpose be honest, thy mind one-pointed and thine every attitude correct: and forget not that the Gods may be disinclined to take a child into Their confidence.
36. The surgeon who says, "The operation was a success, but the patient died," is like the general commanded by the Emperor to defend a city, who said, "What does it matter that the city has been burned to ground, the men slain and the women and children carried off into captivity? I am safe!"
37. If thy heart bleedth to see thy brother in want, take thought. Possibly he is there by his own desire.
38. The applause of a certain person is more priceless than the acclaim of millions. That certain person is thyself.
39. Of old it was written, "As above, so below." Beware of fortune built on blood and tears.
40. Do the next thing first. Having finished that, thou mayest look about for other things to do.
41. The superior man is a rock in a sea of emotion: his aspiration a strong place in the land.
42. There is more wisdom in one sentence by Lao Tze, than in all the treaties written by all known statesmen since the beginning of time.
43. Wisdom dieth not; but is ever cherished by her votaries. He who loveth Truth shall find her.
44. It was a mistake for the Athenian sculptor Socrates to say to his assistant, "Know thyself!" The boy undertook the task and had no time for anything.
45. It is written, "The Devil is a liar and the father of lies." His children have ruined many civilizations.
46. In the Great War, it is said, over twelve million people perished. And may I ask what was accomplished?
47. The way of virtue is the way of increasing uprightness; and the way of evil is the way of decreasing uprightness. Only the heart can tell thee which is which.
48. It is written: "Do not fear death. There is nothing terrible about death. Rather, fear birth, for that in truth is terrible!"
49. If thou wert to be as the idol of certain theologians, thou wouldst be hanged for casting thine own children into a furnace.
50. If thou be a thinker, take care lest it be generally known. It is more profitable, in certain quarters, to be thought smart rather than wise. But this, too, will pass.
51. Gold alone shines in the miner's pan with a steady gleam, no matter how the light shifts: when thy heart speaks, thou knowest that all other voices are but empty wind.
52. Take not thyself too seriously. All temples of the Gods are overthrown, sooner or later.
53. No matter whether there be but One God or three hundred thousand Gods, when thou bringest tears to the eyes of one who loveth thee, thou deniest them all.
54. If thou enter a secret society, see that thou keep its secrets: and do the same for the lady who pleaseth thee.
55. If thou slayest thyself, thou losest thy place in the Universe. Possibly this thought will halt thy madness.
56. If thou sayest, "No I cannot!" then, indeed, thou canst not; but if thou sayest, "Lo, I am already doing it!" accomplishment is certain.
57. If thy body be filthy, can it be believed that thou hast a superior mind?
58. In the company of many women, have thy say; but alone with one woman, keep a guard over thy tongue.
59. When thou sayest to thyself, "I know many things," and pride of the intellect assails thee, know that thou art locking thyself away from wisdom as the works of a watch are locked away from the sun.
60. When thou hast work to be done, do it in silence. Words dissipate the power of concentration.
61. When reasonable persuasion faileth, let him opposed to thee begin the fight; but see that thou finish it.
62. If for any reason whatsoever thou drivest from thee one who truly loves thee, go forth into the desert and weep. Thou hast brought upon thyself a great sorrow.
63. Words, being emblems of thought, are magical symbols. Be sparing and wise in their use.
64. If thou canst be amused at thine own discomfiture, thou art indeed great.