Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 81


信言不美,美言不信。
善者不辯,辯者不善。
知者不博,博者不知。
聖人不積,既以為人己愈有,既以與人己愈多。
天之道,利而不害;聖人之道,為而不爭。

True words are not beautiful
True words are not beautiful

Those who are good do not debate
Those who debate are not good.

Those who know are not broad of knowledge
Those who are broad of knowledge do not know

Sages do not accumulate
The more they assist others, the more they possess
The more they give to others, the more they gain

The Tao of heaven
Benefits and does not harm
The Tao of sages
Assists and does not contend
(Translated by Derek Lin, 1994)

This is the last chapter and also the core of the of Tao Te Ching. It reflects the patterns of three ways of thinking for the sage of the Tao.

1) Thinking of Illusion
True words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not true.
Those who are good do not debate, those who debate are not good.
Those who know are not broad of knowledge, those who are broad of knowledge do not know.

Here Lao Tzu explained that what we see is not necessarily the true images. They are all illusion. The sage knows to hide himself, but he also knows to identify the hypocrisy of others. The world you see is just the world in your eyes, not the real world. The real world is covered up by all kinds of illusions. No one wants to stand naked in front of others.

For many people who do not have the tactics of thinking, they say what they think and express what is in their hearts. They feel they are sincere they are neither sophisticated nor wise.

2) Thinking of giving first

Lao Tzu is particular about giving before taking.
Sages do not accumulate-the more they assist others, the more they possess and the more they give to others, the more they gain. This is against conventional thinking, against human nature and own civilized humanity. By going against our understanding, we follow the nature of the others then we can direct them in our way.

Chinese has a word-捨得 has the exact meaning as above. It means that we will gain when we are willing to let go or to give up.

The man without tactful thinking is not the one who gives but the one who takes. The man who feels that the world owes him everything and expects to get something for nothing can only make others abandon him.

3,) Thinking of submission

The Tao of heaven
Benefits and does not harm
The Tao of sages
Assists and does not contend

Yes, a simple rule for our benefit is to follow nature.
We do not confront nor fight with others. We do not always try to infringe on the interests of others. When we are submissive, we will notice that things will come our way.

Legend has it that who says a woman is weak; she can overcome a million soldiers by her twinkle and smile.

In short, we will be like the sage of the Tao if we can practice the above three ways of thinking in our life. We indeed grasp the true meaning of Tao Te Ching.

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