Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 50

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出生入死。生之徒,十有三;死之徒,十有三;人之生,動之死地,十有三。
夫何故?以其生,生之厚。
蓋聞善攝生者,陸行不遇兕虎,入軍不被甲兵;兕無所投其角,虎無所措其爪,兵
無所容其刃。
夫何故?以其無死地。
We go from birth to death.
Three out of ten follow life.
Three out of ten follow death.
People who rush from birth to death
Are also three out of ten.

Why is that so?
Because they want to make too much of life.
I have heard that the one who knows how to live
Can wander through the land
Without encountering the rhinoceros or the tiger.
He passes the battlefield
Without being struck by weapons.
In him, the rhinoceros finds no opening for its horn.
The tiger finds no opening for its claws.
The soldiers find no opening for their blades.

Why is that so?
Death has no place in him.
(Translation by Stefan Stenudd.)

People first born out of the world eventually died and buried on the ground. Three- tenths of those who belong to longevity; three-tenths belong to short-lived people; some could have lived longer, but they made their way to death, also making them three-tenths. Why is this so? Because they overdid everything (such as overcaring, over struggling, over rushing, overindulging…).

There is the remaining one-tenth of people who are good at protecting their lives and who live naturally. It is said they walk on land without encountering vicious rhinos and tigers, and they can not be harmed by weapons during the war. The rhinoceros does not appear to back them into a corner, the tiger is nowhere to claw at them, and the weapons have no space to attack with their blades. Why is this so? Because these people follow nature, appreciate life, and accept death when their time has come.

 

Image result for image of Lao Tzu
Image from Artnet.

 

This content reminds me the story of Lao Tzu and His Friend (an article I posted on my blog before-http://loveneverending.com/lao-tzu-and-his-friend/). Here, his friend commented on him, saying “When it was suitable to come into the world, the Master came at the right time. When it was suitable to depart the world, the Master left naturally. If one can calmly wait for the right moment and go with the natural flow, sadness and joy cannot enter the heart. The ancients would call that being released by the Emperor from hanging upside down.” No wonder the legend says that Lao Tzu lived up to one hundred and sixty years old.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 49

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聖人無常心,以百姓心為心。
善者,吾善之;不善者,吾亦善之;
德善。信者,吾信之;不信者,吾亦信之;德信。
聖人在天下,歙歙為天下渾其心,百姓皆注其耳目,聖人皆孩之。
The Sage has no decided opinions and feelings,
But regards the people’s opinions and feelings as his own.

The good ones I declare good;
The bad ones I also declare good.
That is the goodness of Virtue.
The honest ones I believe;
The liars I also believe;
That is the faith of Virtue.

The Sage dwells in the world peacefully, harmoniously.
The people of the world are brought into a community of heart,
And the Sage regards them all as his own children.
(Translation by Lin Yutang )

Image result for image of harmony

The image ifs from Gurmeet.Net

 

What should rulers do? Lao Tzu gives a clear idea here. It seems simple, but it is not easy to carry out.

Rulers are leaders with power, and power corrupts them. The more power they possess, the more corrupt they become. The power of the ancient emperors is beyond our imagination. They have the power to kill, extort, and do whatever they want. Finding noncorrupted rulers are rare. As a result, Lao Tzu wrote this article on the vigilance of the power of rulers. Whoever gains the support of the people will prosper, and whoever loses their support will perish.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 48

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為學日益,為道日損。
損之又損,以至於無為。
無為而無不為。
取天下常以無事,及其有事,不足以取天下。
The student of knowledge (aims at) learning day by day;
The student of Tao (aims at) losing day by day.
By continual losing
One reaches doing nothing (laissez-faire).
He who conquers the world often does so by doing nothing.
When one is compelled to do something,
The world is already beyond his conquering.
(Translation by Lin Yutang)

Image result for image for Tao Te Ching – Chapter 48
The image is from Pinterest.

 

By learning day by day, your knowledge will increase day by day.
On the other hand, those who seek and practice the Tao will reduce greed and delusion of the heart day by day until there is none and they will reach the state of doing-nothing.
Having arrived at this point of non-action, there is nothing which he does not do.

Letting things take their course is the way to rule the world. That is to do nothing. If the rulers try to tamper with it and they interfere with nature, they are not fit to conquer the world.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 47

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不出戶知天下;不闚牖見天道。
其出彌遠,其知彌少。
是以聖人不行而知,不見而名,不為而成。
Without stepping outside one’s doors,
One can know what is happening in the world,
Without looking out of one’s windows,
One can see the Tao of heaven.

The farther one pursues knowledge,
The less one knows.
Therefore the Sage knows without running about,
Understands without seeing,
Accomplishes without doing.
(Translation by Lin Yutang )

Image may contain: sky, tree, cloud, plant, outdoor, nature and water

The image is from Thomas Chen’s Collection

“Don’t go out, know the world,” in Lao Tzu’s time, was not an easy thing to say whereas in today’s information age, staying at home and knowing the world is easy to do. As long as you turn on the TV, the Internet, the telephone, you know what is going on in the whole world. Here, Lao Tzu means that the Tao practitioners do not search in the material world for the spiritual enlightenment, they can only find it by looking within.

Without looking out of one’s windows, one can see the Tao of heaven. It implies that even if you open the window, you still can’t see heaven because heaven is in the person’s heart. How can you see heaven by looking outside the window? To see the way of heaven is to look inward.

Therefore, to know heaven and earth, go out every day the farther you go, the less you know. Because the Toa is limitless and not confined to a particular place.

Lao Tzu said: a man of wisdom can do this: Thus the sage knows without traveling; He sees without looking; He works without doing.

 

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 46

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天下有道,卻走馬以糞。
天下無道,戎馬生於郊。
禍莫大於不知足;咎莫大於欲得。
故知足之足,常足矣。

When the world lives in accord with Tao,
Racing horses are turned back to haul refuse carts.
When the world lives not in accord with Tao,
Cavalry abounds in the countryside.

There is no greater curse than the lack of contentment.
No greater sin than the desire for possession.
Therefore he who is contented with contentment
shall always be content.
(Translation by Lin Yutang )

There is Tao, then there is peace for the community, and the houses will return to farming. When there is no Tao, war happens frequently; the ponies will be born in the rural areas, what a pitiful.

Greed is the biggest reason for causing the war to happen; will create the scourge of life. It is nothing more than not to content.

So self-knowledge of satisfaction will ensure permanent satisfaction!

 

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