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.