Clarity & Stillness Scripture (Qīng Jīng Jīng, 清靜經)


Laozi says:

The great Dao is without form
it gives birth and nurtures Heaven & Earth

The great Dao is without feelings
it moves and guides the sun & moon

The great Dao is without name
it raises and nourishes the ten-thousand beings

I do not know its name
forced to name it, call it Dao

Within the Dao
there is clarity, there is obscurity

Within the Dao
there is movement, there is stillness

Heaven is clarity, Earth is obscurity
Heaven is movement, Earth is stillness

Male is clarity, female is obscurity
male is movement, female is stillness

Descending from the beginning, flowing toward the end
the ten-thousand beings are born

Clarity is the source of obscurity
movement is the root of stillness

If we can be constantly clear & still
Heaven & Earth completely return


The human spirit tends toward clarity
but emotions disturb it

The human heart-mind tends toward stillness
but desires tether it

If we can constantly banish desires
then the heart-mind will become still naturally

If we can clear & still the heart-mind
then the spirit will become clear naturally

 The Six Desires will not arise
the Three Poisons will be destroyed

Whoever cannot accomplish this
has not yet cleared & stilled the heart-mind
has not yet banished desires

If we can banish desires
internally observing the heart-mind
there is no heart-mind

Externally observing form
there is no form

Remotely observing things
there are no things

When we awaken to these three
only then do we perceive emptiness


Observing emptiness with emptiness
emptiness is actually not empty

Emptiness does not actually exist
it is not nothing, yet it is nothing

It is both not nothing and nothing
these deep waters are constantly silent

When silence is actually not silence
how can desires arise?

When desires do not arise
this is true stillness

True stillness yields to things
true constancy attains true nature

Constantly yielding, constantly still
this is constant clarity, constant stillness


With such clarity & stillness
we gradually enter the true Dao

When we enter the true Dao
this is called attaining the Dao

Although this is called attaining the Dao
actually there is nothing to attain

Serving to transform all living things
this is called attaining the Dao

Those who can awaken to this
can transmit the sacred Dao


Laozi says:

The superior adept does not contend
the inferior adept tends to contend

Superior De is not De
inferior De grasps De

Those who hold attachments
are not imbued with Dao-De

All living things do not attain the true Dao
because they have deviant heart-minds

 When the heart-mind is deviant
then we startle the spirit

When we startle the spirit
then we cling to the ten-thousand things

When we cling to the ten-thousand things
then we generate craving and seeking

When we generate craving and seeking
then we have troubles and frustrations

Troubles, frustrations, deviations, and aspirations
cause anxiety and suffering in body & heart-mind


Then we meet with obscurity & defilement
drifting on the waves of life & death

Constantly drowning in the ocean of suffering
forever losing the true Dao

The Dao of true constancy
those who awaken to it will attain our true self

Attaining and awakening to the Dao
we have constant clarity & stillness

Translation by Nameless Stream (無名川)

Related: Clear & Calm: A Look at “Qing-Jing”