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Posts by Alice Lin
My teachings are very easy to understand
and very easy to practice,
But no one can understand them and
no one can practice them.
In my words there is a principle.
In the affairs of men there is a system.
Because they know not these,
They also know me not.
Since there are few that know me,
Therefore I am distinguished.
Therefore the Sage wears a coarse cloth on top
And carries jade within his bosom.
(Translation by Yu Tang Lin)
In previous chapters, Lao Tzu talked about his political ideal and political doctrine, such as static, soft, frugal, merciful, inaction, indisputable, and so on, all of which are in line with nature and are based on nature. In social life, it should be easy to be understood and easily implemented by people.
However, people are stuck in fame and fortune, eager to be impetuous and violate the principle of inaction. Lao Tzu tried to explore people’s thoughts and behaviors and make fundamental understandings and annotations on everything. He narrated profound truths in plain language just as he is dressed in bold clothes and embraced with jade. However, it can not be understood or even practiced by people, so he exclaimed: “They who know me are few.”
Therefore, our understanding is that Lao Tzu was abandoned by his time, and his political ideas cannot be carried out. But he was recognized by the people of later generations, his ideology, his political opinions, some of whom were accepted and implemented by the rulers, and some of them were pushed to the highest place, and they were deified as the classic of Taoism.
In using the military, there is a saying:
I dare not be the
I dare not advance an
This is called marching in formation without formation
Raising arms without arms
Grappling enemies without enemies
Holding weapons without weapons
There is no greater disaster than to underestimate the enemy
Underestimating the enemy almost made me lose my treasures
So when evenly matched armies meet
The side that is compassionate shall win
(Translation by Derick Lin)
This chapter talks about the principle of strategy and tactics in the sense of using troops exclusively. The central idea is to clarify what the previous chapter was about. Lao Tzu demanded that people should not be brave, infuriated easily, avoid confrontation with people, give full play to their talents, be good at using the power of others and not fight for contention. He thought this is in line with the will of heaven, is the ancient principle.
I practice Taijiquan for several years. I always amaze its combat philosophy-yielding, retreating, deflecting and pushing back. The practitioner may appear to be yielding and withdrawing, and yet is devastatingly effective in combat. The master of Taijiquan indeed illustrates the teaching of Lao Tzu the best.
How Lao Tzu wishes the readers to apply his concepts to their daily life, because acting from compassion and humbleness is the secret to the winning.
You may find some translation use “The grieving one will be victorious.” for the last sentence of the text. Yes, the person with virtue who has the grieving heart for the loss on any side will surely bring down the help from heaven; thus he gains nothing but wins.
On Thanksgiving day, a little boy overhears his mom and dad fighting. He hears his mom call his dad a bastard and hears his dad call his mom a bitch. He asks, “Mommy, what does bastard mean?” She answers, “Um, it means boy.” Then he asks, “Daddy, what does bitch mean?” He says, “Uh, it means girl.” Later that day, the boy sees his father in the bathroom shaving; the dad accidentally cuts himself and says, “Sht.” The son asks, “What does that mean?” The dad says, “It means shaving cream.” Then he sees his mom in the kitchen carving the turkey; she accidentally cuts herself and says, “Fck.” The son asks her what that word means and she says, “It means carving.” That evening, the family’s guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. The son opens the door to welcome them and says, “Welcome bitches and bastards! My dad is in the bathroom rubbing shit on his face and my mom is in the kitchen fucking the turkey.”
A child asked his father, “How were people born?” So his father said, “Adam and Eve made babies, then their babies became adults and made babies, and so on.” The child then went to his mother, asked her the same question and she told him, “We were monkeys then we evolved to become like we are now.” The child ran back to his father and said, “You lied to me!” His father replied, “No, your mom was talking about her side of the family.”
Mr. and Mrs. Brown had two sons. One was named Mind Your Own Business & the other was named Trouble. One day the two boys decided to play hide and seek. Trouble hid while Mind Your Own Business counted to one hundred. Mind Your Own Business began looking for his brother behind garbage cans and bushes. Then he started looking in and under cars until a police man approached him and asked, “What are you doing?” “Playing a game,” the boy replied. “What is your name?” the officer questioned. “Mind Your Own Business.” Furious the policeman inquired, “Are you looking for trouble?!” The boy replied, “Why, yes.”
A 3 years old boy sits near a pregnant woman.
Boy: Why do you look so fat?
Pregnant woman: I have a baby inside me.
Boy: Is it a good baby?
Pregnant woman: Yes, it is a very good baby.
Boy: Then why did you eat it?!
Dad: “Can I see your report card, son?”
Son: “I don’t have it.”
Son: “I gave it to my friend. He wanted to scare his parents.”
The jokes are from http://www.laughfactory.com/jokes/family-jokes/2.
The great generals are not warlike
The great warriors do not get angry
Those who are good at defeating enemies do not engage them
Those who are good at managing people lower themselves
It is called the virtue of non-contention
It is called the power of managing people
It is called being harmonious with heaven
The ultimate principle of the ancients
This is in line with the principle of Heaven, which has not changed since ancient times.
(Translated by Derek Lin, 1994 )
He who is good at leading soldiers, do not use force;
He who is good at war is not impulsive;
He who is good at defeating the enemy does not fight directly with the enemy.
He who is good at employing people are humble.
The above are the indisputable moral character of “Te,” which can manage the people. It is in line with the principle of Heaven, which has not changed since ancient times.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
A parrot met a crow; the parrot lived in a cage at ease, but the crow was in the wild and free. The parrot envied the crow’s freedom, and the crow envied the parrot’s ease.
The two birds negotiated and decided to change places.
The crow was at ease, but his master never liked him, so he died of loneliness. The parrot was free, but because he used to live comfortably, he could not live on his own and die of hunger.
Don’t blindly envy other people’s happiness. Maybe there is a reason you don’t have what they have. Don’t compare yourself to others, live your own life and enjoy your own life.
Don’t Overthink It
Someone asked a farmer, “Have you planted wheat?”
The farmer said: “No, I’m afraid it won’t rain enough.”
“Did you grow cotton?” the man asked.
The farmer said: “No, I’m afraid worms will eat the cotton.”
The man asked, “So what did you plant?”
The farmer said: “Nothing. I want to make sure it’s safe first.”
Overthinking or over-worrying will lead to tied hands and nothing accomplished.
Give What the Others Want
On the first day, the little white rabbit went fishing and caught nothing. The next day, he went fishing again, and the same thing happened.
On the third day, a big fish jumped out of the river, shouting: “If you dare to use carrots as bait again, I will beat you to death!”
If what you give is not what the other person wants, but what you want to give, then it becomes worthless.