Lord Lao says:
The Great Tao is formless, bringing into being Heaven and Earth;
The Great Tao is emotionless, revolving the sun and the moon;
The Great Tao is nameless, nourishing all things. I do not know it’s name, compelled I name it Tao.
As for this Tao, it has clarity it has turbidity; it has motion it has stillness;
Heaven is clear Earth is turbid; Heaven is motion Earth is stillness. Male (i.e. Yang) is clear Female (i.e. Yin) is turbid,
Male is motion Female is stillness. Descending from the source flowing to the end, thereby bringing into being all things.
Clarity the source of turbidity, motion the basis of stillness.
If one can be perpetually tranquil, Heaven and Earth will revert entirely.
The spirit of Man (i.e. the primordial spirit) is fond of clarity, but the heart-mind disturbs it; the heart-mind of Man is fond of stillness, but desires pulls at it. Being able to perpetually dispatch such desires, the heart-mind will be still on its own.
Settle the heart-mind and the spirit will be clear on its own. Naturally the six desires (i.e. desires associated with eyes, ears, nose, mouth, body and mind) will not accrue, the three poisons (i.e. the sins caused by the body, the mind and the mouth) will be eliminated. Those who are unable, it is because their heart-minds are not yet settled, their desires have yet to be dispatched. Those who are able to dispatch them, internally observe your heart-mind, your heart-mind has no such heart-mind.
Externally observe your form, your form has no such form; remotely observe all things; these things are not such things. Having already understood these three,
All you see is emptiness. Observe that emptiness is precisely empty, empty till even emptiness is negated (i.e. do not be obsessed with emptiness).
That which is emptiness is already non-being, being free of non-being is precisely non-being. Being free of non-being is already non-being, pure tranquility perpetual serenity.
Serene till even serenity is negated (i.e. do not be obsessed with serenity), how can desire then arise?
Since desire does not arise, that is true stillness, respond to all with the true constant, with the true constant innate nature is attained, responding perpetually and perpetually still, perpetual tranquility.
Thus so tranquil, gradually enter into the true Tao. Since entering into the true Tao, in name we call it attaining Tao, though called attaining Tao, in reality there is nothing to be attained (i.e. though Tao is there to begin with, true attainment requires cultivation).
In order to bring deliverance to all living creatures, in name we call attaining Tao. One who can be enlightened, can impart the sacred Tao.
Lord Lao says: The superior person does not content, the inferior person is fond of contention; superior virtue is not virtue, inferior virtue persists on virtue. Those who are persistent, does not understand Tao and Virtue.
Living creatures who are unable to attain the True Tao, is because they have a presumptuous heart-mind, as they have a presumptuous heart-mind, the spirit is discomposed.
As the spirit is discomposed, it becomes obsessed with the myriad things. As it becomes obsessed with the myriad things,
it begins to covet. As it begins to covet, that is secularity.
Secularity and wishful thinking, distresses body and mind, so suffer confusion and humiliation, adrift between life and death, perpetually sinking in the sea of misery, forever losing the true Tao.
Of the true perpetual Tao, those who are enlightened will attain it on its own, those who attain enlightenment, perpetual tranquility.
The immortal Ge the elderly says: I have attained the true Tao,
having recited this scripture ten thousand times at some time in the past . This scripture is practiced by celestial beings,
it is not imparted to inferior persons, I received it in the past from the Donghua Imperial Sovereign, the Donghua Imperial Sovereign received it from the Imperial Sovereign of the Golden Palace, the Imperial Sovereign of the Golden Palace received it from the Queen Mother of the West, from the Queen Mother of the West all imparted by word of mouth,unrecorded in writing, I now write it down for the world.
Realized by the superior person, one ascends and becomes a heavenly official, cultivated by the average person, one ranks as an immortal at the Southern Palace. Attained by the inferior person, one lives for many years, travelling throughout the three realms, ascending to the Golden Gate.
The Zuoxuan Immortal says: A person who studies Tao who recites this scripture obtains from the guardian gods of ten directions protection for one’s body, after that with the jade talisman protecting the spirit, the golden fluid refining the body; both body and spirit become completely marvelous, combined with Tao and be realized.
The Zhenyi Immortal says: Those people who possess this scripture, with a true grasp, need not be concern with catastrophes. With the multitude of saints protecting their gates; their spirit ascends to the upper realm, paying homage to the high immortals, with merits completed and virtue accomplished; mutually resonating with the imperial sovereigns, recitation without receding, the self soars on purple cloud.
The Most High Lord Lao speaks of the Scripture of Perpetual Tranquility.
Translated by Wang Chongwei
References: Annotations by Reverend Min Zhiting , Annotations by Shuijingzi