Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu
The Tao never does,
Yet through it everything is done.
If princes and dukes can keep the Tao,
the world will of its own accord be reformed.
When reformed and rising to action,
Let it be restrained by the Nameless pristine simplicity.
The Nameless pristine simplicity
Is stripped of desire (for contention).
By stripping of desire quiescence is achieved,
And the world arrives at peace of its own accord.
( Translation by Lin Yutang )
The image is from Boss Royal BossRoyal.
The Wu Wei (never does) suggests natural action rather than action inspired by desire. The practitioners of Wu Wei will stay at rest unless and until they are motivated. They act by need and then return to rest without claiming credit or glory for themselves.
The people will respond with Wu Wei to a leader who practices Wu Wei. A desireless person or a nation will remain at rest, and people can be of their own accord and remain at peace. In this way, all things would be at peace.
The Wu Wei is the principle of Tao. Within the working of the Tao, there is neither strife nor struggle because the Tao devoid the action and does not attempt to achieve, and yet nothing is beyond its power to achieve. On the other hand, if we take action with desire, and attain the goal in mind, we end up with chaos and fruitless both in a big scale-a country and a small scale-individual respectively.
Many years ago, I lost my husband; I was in grief. Seeing how distressed I was, my cousin suggested for me to take a trip back to my hometown(Taiwan). She hoped the trip would not only keep me occupied in doing the networking business to lessen my stress and also my financial hardship. She then prepared two pieces of luggage filled with nutrition bottles from the networking company for me to bring and recruit members there.
Once I settled at one of church friend’s house, I immediately took action and started to connect with all of my friends. Many referred their friends to me, but I failed to produce any result. One of my high school friends even convinced all of the classmates to buy all the products from me. Before I was getting ready to ship the package to them, I found out that they would not consume the products, they bought it was to help me out because of my circumstance. Of course, I could not impose on my friends with my need. I quickly put an end to my newfound career and brought back the two pieces of luggage. The content inside was the same except the hope of making money was no longer there.
While I was overseas, I did one thing effortlessly- that is to tell my daughter to purchase the brand new house in the new development in the city of Laguna Niguel. I moved right into the new home when I came back to the State. Whose to know that this effortless deed I did over the phone land me a gold mine. The price of the house doubled then almost tripled its original purchasing price many years later.
That which shrinks
Must first expand.
That which weakens
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
There must be giving.
This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.
Fish cannot leave deep waters,
And a country’s weapons should not be displayed.
(Translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)
This is one of the chapters that people easily miss the point of and underestimate its value. In the first section, Lao Tzu tells us that nature has its origin. Just as the balloon would never pop if it were not first blown up, the strong tree must also start from a tiny seed.
The second section tells us that things which are tender and soft conquer the rigid and strong.
The third section tells us that fish would be foolish to seek escape from its natural environment. For a nation, there is nothing to gain by showing off its weapons which are not of the natural environment.
The image is from https://www.jianshu.com/p/41011fdc9003
The whole world goes towards he who holds in his hands the Great Image (of the invisible Tao), where there will be no harm, but peace and ease.
Music and food will make passerby stop.
But though the Tao has no flavor, can’t be seen, nor be heard, its use is inexhaustible.
This chapter uses music and food to compare with Tao. The world loves both food and music, but there is the question about how many people know and practice the “Tao.” Therefore, Lao Tzu uses music and food to compare with Tao, to awaken the world and hope that the world will know the benefits of Tao more than music and food.
“Tao” is not spoken of by mouth. If “Tao” is spoken out of a mouth, it is light and tasteless; “Tao” is immaculate and full of silence in the universe, and though it can not be seen or heard it is inexhaustible. Inexhaustible and everything relies on it, this is the magic of “Tao”.
The great Tao flows everywhere, both to the left and to the right.
All things depend upon it; it holds nothing back.
It fulfills its purpose and makes no claim.
It nourishes all things,
And yet does not dominate them.
It has no desire; you can name it small.
All things return to it,
Yet it does not master them,
you can name it great.
It does not show its greatness,
And it is therefore great.
This chapter of Lao Tzu emphasizes the greatness of Tao. How great is Tao?
1. Tao fills the whole universe, and it moves freely in all directions.
2. Everything relies on “Tao” to raise and nourish them. “Tao” never ceases to exist and does not exist for itself.
3. “Tao” nurtures all things, rather than dominating all things so that all things can survive and develop; it can be said to be small.
4. All things are thankful and return to the “Tao,” while the “Tao” still does not control them, and it gives them the freedom to live to develop, thus “Tao” can be called great.
5. “Tao” never thinks of itself as great, so that it can achieve the greatness of “Tao.”
Knowing others is intelligent
Knowing yourself is wise
Controlling others is strong
Controlling yourself is powerful
Contentedness is rich
Perseverance is determination
Integrity lasts long
Spiritual legacy begets immortality
Lao Tzu makes it clear that the “inner-self ” is much more important than the outside factors.
He who understands other people is merely intelligent; he who understands himself is genuinely enlightened.
He who overcomes other people has external strength; he who overcomes himself possesses inner power. External strength never lasts. Inner power resides within and lasts forever so it makes you more powerful.
Furthermore, he mentions the significance of contentment, perseverance, and keeping your integrity (knowing your position).
The last and not the least that keep you self-searching instead of finding outer material, and help you not to perish but to be eternally present.