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from ‘Northern Cantos’

                                To D.R. Nagaraj

Don’t lock the door.
Go lightly like the leaf in the breeze
along the dawn’s valley.
If you are too fair
cover yourself with ash.
If too clever, go half-asleep.
That which is fast
will tire fast:
be slow, slow as stillness.
Be formless like water.
Lie low, don’t even try to go up.
Don’t go round the deity:
Nothingness has no directions,
no front, nor back.
Don’t call It by name,  
Its name has no name.
No offerings: empty pots
are easier to carry than full ones.
No prayers too: desires
have no place here.

Speak silently, if speak you must:
like the rock speaking to trees
and leaves to flowers.
Silence is the sweetest of voices
and Nothingness has
the fairest of colours.
Let none see you coming
and none, going.
Cross the threshold shrunken
like one crossing a river in winter.
You have only a second here
like melting snow.
No pride: you are not even formed.

No anger: not even dust is
at your command
No sorrow: it doesn’t alter anything.
Renounce greatness:
there’s no other way to be great.
Don’t ever use your hands:
they are contemplating
not love, but violence.
Let the fish lie in its water
and the fruit on its bough.
The soft one shall survive the hard,
like the tongue that survives the teeth.
Only the one who does nothing
can do everything.

Go, the unmade idol
awaits you.

(Tao Temple, Chu-fu)