The Chinese philosopher Hsün-tzu was born in 310 B.C.E. and died close to 100 years later. He was the most influential of the early "Confucian" philosophers in the early Empire. Opposed to all forms of superstition, he believed that the fundamental nature of human beings is not good, and needs to be controlled with laws.
Hsün-tzu has never been an "orthodox" philosopher, in any period. His pupils set up the first successful despotic imperial government in China, making heavy use of his legalist ideas. It is thought that his followers gained power by pushing aside an earlier theory of government that saw the ruler as mediating between the human and spirit worlds. Hsün-tzu and his followers were interested in practical techniques of government, which proved very attractive to the Qin rulers.
I have chosen a single excerpt, by no means the most famous. More will follow as I am able to give time to this project. The prose in this particular excerpt is extremely difficult to render because of its profound looseness. There is a fairly relaxed selection of excerpts translated by Burton Watson, and a much more sophisticated translation in 3 dense volumes by John Knoblock.
How can people know the Way?
I say: by the mind.
How does the mind know?
I say: it becomes still, having first become empty and single.
The mind has never failed to store things away; yet it has something that can be called emptiness.
The mind has never failed to be two-fold; yet it has something that can be called singlemindedness.
The mind has never failed to move; yet it has something that can be called stillness.
People have knowledge from birth and, having knowledge, they have ambition.
Now, ambition is storing things away; yet we have something that can be called emptiness. Not to let what has already been stored away affect what we are yet to receive - that is what we call emptiness.
Awareness exists as the mind comes into being, and with awareness there exist differences between things.
Now, differences mean that at the same instant you are aware of both things. If you are aware of both of them at the same instant, that means two-foldedness. Yet it has something that can be called singlemindedness: not letting this "one" affect that "one" - that is what we call singlemindedness.
The mind is like this:
when you lie down, it dreams;
when you are relaxed, it goes its own way;
when you use it for something, it plans.
And so it has never failed to move, yet it has something that can be called stillness. Not to disrupt awareness because of dreams or day-dreams - that is what is what we call stillness.
Someone who seeks the Way before he has yet obtained it should take as the basic truth the saying "become quiet, having first become empty and single."
Someone who is going to pursue the Way will enter into it after becoming empty.
Someone who is going to serve the Way will fully attain it after becoming singleminded.
Someone who is going to contemplate the Way will perceive it after becoming still.
from Ch. 21, "Easing Blindness"