What is the explanation for “Once where to rest is known, the

direction of practicing Tao is set.  Once set, one can be tranquil. 

In tranquility, one can reveal his True Nature.  With the True

Nature, one can be pure.  Being pure, one can attain Tao” in

The Great Learning?


This statement highlights the Gong-fu15 of refining and cultivating of

one’s True Self as adopted by Saints.  It describes the six stages in the

process of refining oneself.


Where to rest – The first stage is to know where to rest.  To rest means

to arrest one’s innate ability at Oneness.  When one knows where to rest,

he holds fast to his True Self.  When one knows when to rest, he acts

properly.  To rest is to return one’s spirit to Oneness.  To rest at Oneness

is the ultimate rest.  One should know the Truth first and then acts

accordingly.  He who knows the Truth knows where the point of

perfection is.  The true practitioner of Tao will not stray away from

the point of perfection, and his actions are consistent with his True Self.


Direction is set – When the direction of practicing Tao is set, one

neither senses the thunder above him nor is frightened by a mountain

that crumbles in front of him.  He could not be allured by any

temptations.  Having the direction of practicing Tao set allows

one to understand the Truth and not be swayed by heresies.  He

has courage and can take on important missions.  When one’s

heart rests, his heart is set.  When one knows what matters to rest,

his future is set.  This way, one has a determination and a goal.


Be tranquil – When one is tranquil, his heart remains still.  He can

rid of his impatience and recklessness.  He is perfectly tranquil like

still water.  When a person is tranquil, his True Self can light up the

cosmos, just like still water can reflect perfect images.  In calmness,

wisdom can be revealed to oneself.  One can then be inspired.


Reveal True Nature – Revealing the True Nature means to be natural. 

To be natural means to put away one’s mind, or attain the state of no

Human Nature.  Then one can understand Tao without thinking, and

stay in the centre without effort.  In motion or in stillness, he is natural. 

This is attaining what Confucius described as “At seventy, I can follow

my heart without transgressing what is right.”  To follow the heart is to

put away the Human Nature.


Be pure – Knowing to rest, being set, being tranquil, and revealing the

True Nature lead a person from motion to quiescence.  He turns emotions

away and fulfill his True Self, returning all into Oneness.  Then he can

be pure, or in other words, he is awakened.  The Law governing all lives,

matters, and the cosmos becomes clear to him.  He realizes what the Truth

is and what emotions and desires are.  He purifies his behaviours to

distinguish the right from wrong.  When all is quiet, he is still.  When

matters arise, his response is always appropriate.


Attain Tao – When one attains Tao, he is united with God.  This means

the cosmos is within him, and he is within the cosmos.  They are two of

the same.  Celestial bodies, wind, thunder, rain, electric storms, earth

and oceans all belong to him.  He is united with the cosmos, or in

other words, he returns to God’s kingdom.