Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 7


天長地久。天地所以能長且久者,以其不自生,故能長生。
是以聖人後其身而身先;外其身而身存。非以其無私耶?故能成其私。

 

The Tao is infinite, eternal.
Why is it eternal?
It was never born;
thus it can never die.
Why is it infinite?
It has no desires for itself;
thus it is present for all beings.

The Master stays behind;
that is why she is ahead.
She is detached from all things;
that is why she is one with them.
Because she has let go of herself,
she is perfectly fulfilled.
(Translated by S. Mitchell)

 

This chapter talks about being egoless or selfless.

It is the easiest chapter to explain because there are many examples of this in human history.

My friend told me the story of one terminal ill patient who had lung cancer, whose doctor told him that he did not have much time to live.

He pitied himself and passed his last days complaining at first, but then he decided that he did not have time to waste, so he decided to get involved with charity work. He was so busy helping others that forgot his pain and illness. He recovered miraculously. It seemed that when he forsook his desires; he had also removed his troubles and unhappiness at the same time. He was the happiest when he tried to do good for others and in turn also helped himself.

There is also the example of Jesus Christ, who made the most selfless sacrifice by giving up Himself for the world. Before He was crucified, He knew what great suffering He would have to bear. He was weak for a moment and asked, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” But right away, He remembered that he had to put the world before Himself, and instead ended His prayer with, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.” He prioritized the world above Himself, and not only did He regain life for Himself, but also for the rest of humanity as well.

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