Part One: The Canon of Secular Life

Chapter Eight: Repose

1. On Repose

In heaven and earth, there is a proper order of the four seasons; for human beings, there are proper times in their lifespans. Just as heaven and earth do not transgress this proper order and thus the myriad things follow the order of being born, maturing, bearing fruit, and being harvested, so too human beings must not forget the proper time in order to live a consummate life throughout their lifespans as well as in coming and going within birth and death. Therefore, the Founding Master said, “Except for extraordinary circumstances, during one’s childhood one should be taught letters, during one’s adulthood one should be taught the study of the Way and should exert one’s effort in the task of deliverance, and during one’s later years one should abide in a scenic but secluded place and sever all worldly attachments and desires in order to study the great matter of birth and death.” During one’s youth, one should focus mainly on education in order to develop the foundation of human character; during adulthood, one should primarily engage in work in order to make manifest the value of human life; and during one’s old age, one should primarily concentrate on spiritual cultivation in order to nuture faithfully the spiritual seed of endless lives. Hence, just as during one’s youth one must take rest at appropriate times while engaged in business, during one’s later years a greater focus on repose is essential. Only when the Way of repose and the Way of liberation are well followed will the spiritual and physical life over endless lives be free of defects.