Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 73


勇於敢則殺,勇於不敢則活。
此兩者,或利或害。
天之所惡,孰知其故?是以聖人猶難之。
天之道,不爭而善勝,不言而善應,不召而自來,繟然而善謀。
天網恢恢,踈而不失。
The bold in daring will be killed
The bold in not daring will survive

Of these two, one may benefit, the other may harm

The one hated by heaven – who knows the reason?
Even the sages still find this difficult

The Tao of heaven:
Does not contend and yet excels in winning
Does not speak and yet excels in responding
Is not summoned and yet comes on its own
Is unhurried and yet excels in planning
The heavenly net is vast
Loose, and yet does not let anything slip through
(Translation by Derick Lin)

I tried to think hard and long for a couple of days to understand why Lao Tzu tells us two kinds of bravery before he mentions the Tao of heaven in this chapter. Ironically, the post-titled-“Wait to Take Action” suddenly appear before my eyes on my computer when I worried that I would not be able to post this chapter on my designated time. The article is a super example of this chapter. It comes in at the right time and right place.

Here is the excerpt from the article-“Wait to Take Action” in my earlier post.

“I have a friend who bought a house with a huge yard. After moving in, he immediately cleared the whole yard. Then he planted new flowers throughout. One day, the original owner came to visit him, and he was shocked to see the yard, asking, “Where are the expensive peonies?

Then my friend realized that he had thought the peonies were weeds and had removed all of them.

Later he bought another house, and although the yard was messy, he did not take action right away. And sure enough, the plants he thought were weeds blossomed in the spring. Likewise, the plants that flowered in the summer were what he thought were weeds in the spring. The small trees stood there quietly for half of a year and then began growing beautiful foliage in the autumn.

He waited until late autumn to make sure that he had seen all the plants and recognized the useless weeds and removed them. That way, he could preserve all of the flowers and trees.”

Yes, we will encounter many messy gardens in our life; but there are full of precious flowers hiding. Sometimes, we are too bold to rush to take action, and we lose the beautiful flowers and trees. Only if we are cautious and follow the law of the heaven and give it time and through the seasons’ change, eventually we will see the blooming of the flowers. Those precious flowers will make their appearance in front of our eyes without our striving, speaking, and commanding. It is just like what Lao Tzu tells us in this chapter.

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