Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 39.djvu/11

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PREFACE.

IN the Preface to the third volume of these 'Sacred Books of the East' (1879), I stated that I proposed giving in due course, in order to exhibit the System of Tâoism, translations of the Tâo Teh King by Lâo-ʓze (sixth century B.C.), the Writings of Kwang-ʓze (between the middle of the fourth and third centuries B.C.), and the Treatise of 'Actions and their Retributions' (of our eleventh century) ; and perhaps also of one or more of the other characteristic Productions of the System.

The two volumes now submitted to the reader are a fulfilment of the promise made so long ago. They contain versions of the Three Works which were specified, and, in addition, as Appendixes, four other shorter Treatises of Tâoism ; Analyses of several of the Books of Kwang-ʓze by Lin Hsî-kung ; a list of the stories which form so important a part of those Books ; two Essays by two of the greatest Scholars of China, written the one in A.D. 586 and illustrating the Tâoistic beliefs of that age, and the other in A.D. 1078 and dealing with the four Books of Kwang-ʓze, whose genuineness is frequently called in question. The concluding Index is confined very much to Proper Names. For Subjects the reader is referred to the Tables of Contents, the Introduction to the Books of Kwang-ʓze (vol. xxxix, pp. 127-163), and the Introductory Notes to the various Appendixes.

The Treatise of Actions and their Retributions exhibits to us the Taoism of the eleventh century in its moral or ethical aspects ; in the two earlier Works we see it rather as a philosophical speculation than as a religion in the ordinary sense of that term. It was not till after the introduction of Buddhism into China in our first century that Taoism began to organise itself as a