Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by EmptyForceOfChi, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    i have posted many a verse from the tao te ching in the past on sciforums so im sorry if they offend people for bieng with us again.

    the tao te ching cannot be translated from ancient chinese into modern day english perfectly but it is acceptable i guess.

    The tao that can be told
    is not the eternal Tao
    The name that can be named
    is not the eternal Name.

    The unnamable is the eternally real.
    Naming is the origin
    of all particular things.

    Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
    Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

    Yet mystery and manifestations
    arise from the same source.
    This source is called darkness.

    Darkness within darkness.
    The gateway to all understanding.


    When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad.

    Being and non-being create each other.
    Difficult and easy support each other.
    Long and short define each other.
    High and low depend on each other.
    Before and after follow each other.

    Therefore the Master
    acts without doing anything
    and teaches without saying anything.
    Things arise and she lets them come;
    things disappear and she lets them go.
    She has but doesn't possess,
    acts but doesn't expect.
    When her work is done, she forgets it.
    That is why it lasts forever.


    If you overesteem great men,
    people become powerless.
    If you overvalue possessions,
    people begin to steal.

    The Master leads
    by emptying people's minds
    and filling their cores,
    by weakening their ambition
    and toughening their resolve.
    He helps people lose everything
    they know, everything they desire,
    and creates confusion
    in those who think that they know.

    Practice not-doing,
    and everything will fall into place.


    The Tao is like a well:
    used but never used up.
    It is like the eternal void:
    filled with infinite possibilities.

    It is hidden but always present.
    I don't know who gave birth to it.
    It is older than God.


    The Tao doesn't take sides;
    it gives birth to both good and evil.
    The Master doesn't take sides;
    she welcomes both saints and sinners.

    The Tao is like a bellows:
    it is empty yet infinitely capable.
    The more you use it, the more it produces;
    the more you talk of it, the less you understand.

    Hold on to the center.


    The Tao is called the Great Mother:
    empty yet inexhaustible,
    it gives birth to infinite worlds.

    It is always present within you.
    You can use it any way you want.


    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.


    The supreme good is like water,
    which nourishes all things without trying to.
    It is content with the low places that people disdain.
    Thus it is like the Tao.

    In dwelling, live close to the ground.
    In thinking, keep to the simple.
    In conflict, be fair and generous.
    In governing, don't try to control.
    In work, do what you enjoy.
    In family life, be completely present.

    When you are content to be simply yourself
    and don't compare or compete,
    everybody will respect you.


    Fill your bowl to the brim
    and it will spill.
    Keep sharpening your knife
    and it will blunt.
    Chase after money and security
    and your heart will never unclench.
    Care about people's approval
    and you will be their prisoner.

    Do your work, then step back.
    The only path to serenity.


    Can you coax your mind from its wandering
    and keep to the original oneness?
    Can you let your body become
    supple as a newborn child's?
    Can you cleanse your inner vision
    until you see nothing but the light?
    Can you love people and lead them
    without imposing your will?
    Can you deal with the most vital matters
    by letting events take their course?
    Can you step back from you own mind
    and thus understand all things?

    Giving birth and nourishing,
    having without possessing,
    acting with no expectations,
    leading and not trying to control:
    this is the supreme virtue.


    We join spokes together in a wheel,
    but it is the center hole
    that makes the wagon move.

    We shape clay into a pot,
    but it is the emptiness inside
    that holds whatever we want.

    We hammer wood for a house,
    but it is the inner space
    that makes it livable.

    We work with being,
    but non-being is what we use.


    Colors blind the eye.
    Sounds deafen the ear.
    Flavors numb the taste.
    Thoughts weaken the mind.
    Desires wither the heart.

    The Master observes the world
    but trusts his inner vision.
    He allows things to come and go.
    His heart is open as the sky.


    Success is as dangerous as failure.
    Hope is as hollow as fear.

    What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure?
    Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
    you position is shaky.
    When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
    you will always keep your balance.

    What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
    Hope and fear are both phantoms
    that arise from thinking of the self.
    When we don't see the self as self,
    what do we have to fear?

    See the world as your self.
    Have faith in the way things are.
    Love the world as your self;
    then you can care for all things.


    Look, and it can't be seen.
    Listen, and it can't be heard.
    Reach, and it can't be grasped.

    Above, it isn't bright.
    Below, it isn't dark.
    Seamless, unnamable,
    it returns to the realm of nothing.
    Form that includes all forms,
    image without an image,
    subtle, beyond all conception.

    Approach it and there is no beginning;
    follow it and there is no end.
    You can't know it, but you can be it,
    at ease in your own life.
    Just realize where you come from:
    this is the essence of wisdom.


    The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
    Their wisdom was unfathomable.
    There is no way to describe it;
    all we can describe is their appearance.

    They were careful
    as someone crossing an iced-over stream.
    Alert as a warrior in enemy territory.
    Courteous as a guest.
    Fluid as melting ice.
    Shapable as a block of wood.
    Receptive as a valley.
    Clear as a glass of water.

    Do you have the patience to wait
    till your mud settles and the water is clear?
    Can you remain unmoving
    till the right action arises by itself?

    The Master doesn't seek fulfillment.
    Not seeking, not expecting,
    she is present, and can welcome all things.


    Empty your mind of all thoughts.
    Let your heart be at peace.
    Watch the turmoil of beings,
    but contemplate their return.

    Each separate being in the universe
    returns to the common source.
    Returning to the source is serenity.

    If you don't realize the source,
    you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
    When you realize where you come from,
    you naturally become tolerant,
    disinterested, amused,
    kindhearted as a grandmother,
    dignified as a king.
    Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
    you can deal with whatever life brings you,
    and when death comes, you are ready.


    When the Master governs, the people
    are hardly aware that he exists.
    Next best is a leader who is loved.
    Next, one who is feared.
    The worst is one who is despised.

    If you don't trust the people,
    you make them untrustworthy.

    The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
    When his work is done,
    the people say, "Amazing:
    we did it, all by ourselves!"


    When the great Tao is forgotten,
    goodness and piety appear.
    When the body's intelligence declines,
    cleverness and knowledge step forth.
    When there is no peace in the family,
    filial piety begins.
    When the country falls into chaos,
    patriotism is born.


    Throw away holiness and wisdom,
    and people will be a hundred times happier.
    Throw away morality and justice,
    and people will do the right thing.
    Throw away industry and profit,
    and there won't be any thieves.

    If these three aren't enough,
    just stay at the center of the circle
    and let all things take their course.


    Stop thinking, and end your problems.
    What difference between yes and no?
    What difference between success and failure?
    Must you value what others value,
    avoid what others avoid?
    How ridiculous!

    Other people are excited,
    as though they were at a parade.
    I alone don't care,
    I alone am expressionless,
    like an infant before it can smile.

    Other people have what they need;
    I alone possess nothing.
    I alone drift about,
    like someone without a home.
    I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

    Other people are bright;
    I alone am dark.
    Other people are sharper;
    I alone am dull.
    Other people have a purpose;
    I alone don't know.
    I drift like a wave on the ocean,
    I blow as aimless as the wind.

    I am different from ordinary people.
    I drink from the Great Mother's breasts.


    The Master keeps her mind
    always at one with the Tao;
    that is what gives her her radiance.

    The Tao is ungraspable.
    How can her mind be at one with it?
    Because she doesn't cling to ideas.

    The Tao is dark and unfathomable.
    How can it make her radiant?
    Because she lets it.

    Since before time and space were,
    the Tao is.
    It is beyond is and is not.
    How do I know this is true?
    I look inside myself and see.


    If you want to become whole,
    let yourself be partial.
    If you want to become straight,
    let yourself be crooked.
    If you want to become full,
    let yourself be empty.
    If you want to be reborn,
    let yourself die.
    If you want to be given everything,
    give everything up.

    The Master, by residing in the Tao,
    sets an example for all beings.
    Because he doesn't display himself,
    people can see his light.
    Because he has nothing to prove,
    people can trust his words.
    Because he doesn't know who he is,
    people recognize themselves in him.
    Because he has no goad in mind,
    everything he does succeeds.

    When the ancient Masters said,
    "If you want to be given everything,
    give everything up,"
    they weren't using empty phrases.
    Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself.


    Express yourself completely,
    then keep quiet.
    Be like the forces of nature:
    when it blows, there is only wind;
    when it rains, there is only rain;
    when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.

    If you open yourself to the Tao,
    you are at one with the Tao
    and you can embody it completely.
    If you open yourself to insight,
    you are at one with insight
    and you can use it completely.
    If you open yourself to loss,
    you are at one with loss
    and you can accept it completely.

    Open yourself to the Tao,
    then trust your natural responses;
    and everything will fall into place.


    He who stands on tiptoe
    doesn't stand form.
    He who rushes ahead
    doesn't go far.
    He who tries to shine
    dims his own light.
    He who defines himself
    can't know who he really is.
    He who has power over others
    can't empower himself.
    He who clings to his work
    will create nothing that endures.

    If you want to accord with the Tao,
    just do your job, then let go.


    There was something formless and perfect
    before the universe was born.
    It is serene. Empty.
    Solitary. Unchanging.
    Infinite. Eternally present.
    It is the mother of the universe.
    For lack of a better name,
    I call it the Tao.

    It flows through all things,
    inside and outside, and returns
    to the origin of all things.

    The Tao is great.
    The universe is great.
    Earth is great.
    Man is great.
    These are the four great powers.

    Man follows the earth.
    Earth follows the universe.
    The universe follows the Tao.
    The Tao follows only itself.


    The heavy is the root of the light.
    The unmoved is the source of all movement.

    Thus the Master travels all day
    without leaving home.
    However splendid the views,
    she stays serenely in herself.

    Why should the lord of the country
    flit about like a fool?
    If you let yourself be blown to and fro,
    you lose touch with your root.
    If you let restlessness move you,
    you lose touch with who you are.


    A good traveler has no fixed plans
    and is not intent upon arriving.
    A good artist lets his intuition
    lead him wherever it wants.
    A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
    and keeps his mind open to what is.

    Thus the Master is available to all people
    and doesn't reject anyone.
    He is ready to use all situations
    and doesn't waste anything.
    This is called embodying the light.

    What is a good man but a bad man's teacher?
    What is a bad man but a good man's job?
    If you don't understand this, you will get lost,
    however intelligent you are.
    It is the great secret.


    Know the male,
    yet keep to the female:
    receive the world in your arms.
    If you receive the world,
    the Tao will never leave you
    and you will be like a little child.

    Know the white,
    yet keep to the black:
    be a pattern for the world.
    If you are a pattern for the world,
    the Tao will be strong inside you
    and there will be nothing you can't do.

    Know the personal,
    yet keep to the impersonal:
    accept the world as it is.
    If you accept the world,
    the Tao will be luminous inside you
    and you will return to your primal self.

    The world is formed from the void,
    like utensils from a block of wood.
    The Master knows the utensils,
    yet keeps to the the block:
    thus she can use all things.


    Do you want to improve the world?
    I don't think it can be done.

    The world is sacred.
    It can't be improved.
    If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
    If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.

    There is a time for being ahead,
    a time for being behind;
    a time for being in motion,
    a time for being at rest;
    a time for being vigorous,
    a time for being exhausted;
    a time for being safe,
    a time for being in danger.

    The Master sees things as they are,
    without trying to control them.
    She lets them go their own way,
    and resides at the center of the circle.


    Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
    doesn't try to force issues
    or defeat enemies by force of arms.
    For every force there is a counterforce.
    Violence, even well intentioned,
    always rebounds upon oneself.

    The Master does his job
    and then stops.
    He understands that the universe
    is forever out of control,
    and that trying to dominate events
    goes against the current of the Tao.
    Because he believes in himself,
    he doesn't try to convince others.
    Because he is content with himself,
    he doesn't need others' approval.
    Because he accepts himself,
    the whole world accepts him.


    Weapons are the tools of violence;
    all decent men detest them.

    Weapons are the tools of fear;
    a decent man will avoid them
    except in the direst necessity
    and, if compelled, will use them
    only with the utmost restraint.
    Peace is his highest value.
    If the peace has been shattered,
    how can he be content?
    His enemies are not demons,
    but human beings like himself.
    He doesn't wish them personal harm.
    Nor does he rejoice in victory.
    How could he rejoice in victory
    and delight in the slaughter of men?

    He enters a battle gravely,
    with sorrow and with great compassion,
    as if he were attending a funeral.


    The Tao can't be perceived.
    Smaller than an electron,
    it contains uncountable galaxies.

    If powerful men and women
    could remain centered in the Tao,
    all things would be in harmony.
    The world would become a paradise.
    All people would be at peace,
    and the law would be written in their hearts.

    When you have names and forms,
    know that they are provisional.
    When you have institutions,
    know where their functions should end.
    Knowing when to stop,
    you can avoid any danger.

    All things end in the Tao
    as rivers flow into the sea.


    Knowing others is intelligence;
    knowing yourself is true wisdom.
    Mastering others is strength;
    mastering yourself is true power.

    If you realize that you have enough,
    you are truly rich.
    If you stay in the center
    and embrace death with your whole heart,
    you will endure forever.


    The great Tao flows everywhere.
    All things are born from it,
    yet it doesn't create them.
    It pours itself into its work,
    yet it makes no claim.
    It nourishes infinite worlds,
    yet it doesn't hold on to them.
    Since it is merged with all things
    and hidden in their hearts,
    it can be called humble.
    Since all things vanish into it
    and it alone endures,
    it can be called great.
    It isn't aware of its greatness;
    thus it is truly great.


    She who is centered in the Tao
    can go where she wishes, without danger.
    She perceives the universal harmony,
    even amid great pain,
    because she has found peace in her heart.

    Music or the smell of good cooking
    may make people stop and enjoy.
    But words that point to the Tao
    seem monotonous and without flavor.
    When you look for it, there is nothing to see.
    When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear.
    When you use it, it is inexhaustible.


    If you want to shrink something,
    you must first allow it to expand.
    If you want to get rid of something,
    you must first allow it to flourish.
    If you want to take something,
    you must first allow it to be given.
    This is called the subtle perception
    of the way things are.

    The soft overcomes the hard.
    The slow overcomes the fast.
    Let your workings remain a mystery.
    Just show people the results.


    The Tao never does anything,
    yet through it all things are done.

    If powerful men and women
    could venter themselves in it,
    the whole world would be transformed
    by itself, in its natural rhythms.
    People would be content
    with their simple, everyday lives,
    in harmony, and free of desire.

    When there is no desire,
    all things are at peace.


    The Master doesn't try to be powerful;
    thus he is truly powerful.
    The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
    thus he never has enough.

    The Master does nothing,
    yet he leaves nothing undone.
    The ordinary man is always doing things,
    yet many more are left to be done.

    The kind man does something,
    yet something remains undone.
    The just man does something,
    and leaves many things to be done.
    The moral man does something,
    and when no one responds
    he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.

    When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
    When goodness is lost, there is morality.
    When morality is lost, there is ritual.
    Ritual is the husk of true faith,
    the beginning of chaos.

    Therefore the Master concerns himself
    with the depths and not the surface,
    with the fruit and not the flower.
    He has no will of his own.
    He dwells in reality,
    and lets all illusions go.


    In harmony with the Tao,
    the sky is clear and spacious,
    the earth is solid and full,
    all creature flourish together,
    content with the way they are,
    endlessly repeating themselves,
    endlessly renewed.

    When man interferes with the Tao,
    the sky becomes filthy,
    the earth becomes depleted,
    the equilibrium crumbles,
    creatures become extinct.

    The Master views the parts with compassion,
    because he understands the whole.
    His constant practice is humility.
    He doesn't glitter like a jewel
    but lets himself be shaped by the Tao,
    as rugged and common as stone.


    Return is the movement of the Tao.
    Yielding is the way of the Tao.

    All things are born of being.
    Being is born of non-being.


    When a superior man hears of the Tao,
    he immediately begins to embody it.
    When an average man hears of the Tao,
    he half believes it, half doubts it.
    When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
    he laughs out loud.
    If he didn't laugh,
    it wouldn't be the Tao.

    Thus it is said:
    The path into the light seems dark,
    the path forward seems to go back,
    the direct path seems long,
    true power seems weak,
    true purity seems tarnished,
    true steadfastness seems changeable,
    true clarity seems obscure,
    the greatest are seems unsophisticated,
    the greatest love seems indifferent,
    the greatest wisdom seems childish.

    The Tao is nowhere to be found.
    Yet it nourishes and completes all things.


    The Tao gives birth to One.
    One gives birth to Two.
    Two gives birth to Three.
    Three gives birth to all things.

    All things have their backs to the female
    and stand facing the male.
    When male and female combine,
    all things achieve harmony.

    Ordinary men hate solitude.
    But the Master makes use of it,
    embracing his aloneness, realizing
    he is one with the whole universe.


    The gentlest thing in the world
    overcomes the hardest thing in the world.
    That which has no substance
    enters where there is no space.
    This shows the value of non-action.

    Teaching without words,
    performing without actions:
    that is the Master's way.


    Fame or integrity: which is more important?
    Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
    Success of failure: which is more destructive?

    If you look to others for fulfillment,
    you will never truly be fulfilled.
    If your happiness depends on money,
    you will never be happy with yourself.

    Be content with what you have;
    rejoice in the way things are.
    When you realize there is nothing lacking,
    the whole world belongs to you.


    True perfection seems imperfect,
    yet it is perfectly itself.
    True fullness seems empty,
    yet it is fully present.

    True straightness seems crooked.
    True wisdom seems foolish.
    True art seems artless.

    The Master allows things to happen.
    She shapes events as they come.
    She steps out of the way
    and lets the Tao speak for itself.


    When a country is in harmony with the Tao,
    the factories make trucks and tractors.
    When a country goes counter to the Tao,
    warheads are stockpiled outside the cities.

    There is no greater illusion than fear,
    no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself,
    no greater misfortune than having an enemy.

    Whoever can see through all fear
    will always be safe.


    Without opening your door,
    you can open your heart to the world.
    Without looking out your window,
    you can see the essence of the Tao.

    The more you know,
    the less you understand.

    The Master arrives without leaving,
    sees the light without looking,
    achieves without doing a thing.


    In pursuit of knowledge,
    every day something is added.
    In the practice of the Tao,
    every day something is dropped.
    Less and less do you need to force things,
    until finally you arrive at non-action.
    When nothing is done,
    nothing is left undone.

    True mastery can be gained
    by letting things go their own way.
    It can't be gained by interfering.


    The Master has no mind of her own.
    She works with the mind of the people.

    She is good to people who are good.
    She is also good to people who aren't good.
    This is true goodness.

    She trusts people who are trustworthy.
    She also trusts people who aren't trustworthy.
    This is true trust.

    The Master's mind is like space.
    People don't understand her.
    They look to her and wait.
    She treats them like her own children.


    The Master gives himself up
    to whatever the moment brings.
    He knows that he is going to die,
    and her has nothing left to hold on to:
    no illusions in his mind,
    no resistances in his body.
    He doesn't think about his actions;
    they flow from the core of his being.
    He holds nothing back from life;
    therefore he is ready for death,
    as a man is ready for sleep
    after a good day's work.


    Every being in the universe
    is an expression of the Tao.
    It springs into existence,
    unconscious, perfect, free,
    takes on a physical body,
    lets circumstances complete it.
    That is why every being
    spontaneously honors the Tao.

    The Tao gives birth to all beings,
    nourishes them, maintains them,
    cares for them, comforts them, protects them,
    takes them back to itself,
    creating without possessing,
    acting without expecting,
    guiding without interfering.
    That is why love of the Tao
    is in the very nature of things.


    In the beginning was the Tao.
    All things issue from it;
    all things return to it.

    To find the origin,
    trace back the manifestations.
    When you recognize the children
    and find the mother,
    you will be free of sorrow.

    If you close your mind in judgements
    and traffic with desires,
    your heart will be troubled.
    If you keep your mind from judging
    and aren't led by the senses,
    your heart will find peace.

    Seeing into darkness is clarity.
    Knowing how to yield is strength.
    Use your own light
    and return to the source of light.
    This is called practicing eternity.


    The great Way is easy,
    yet people prefer the side paths.
    Be aware when things are out of balance.
    Stay centered within the Tao.

    When rich speculators prosper
    While farmers lose their land;
    when government officials spend money
    on weapons instead of cures;
    when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
    while the poor have nowhere to turn-
    all this is robbery and chaos.
    It is not in keeping with the Tao.


    Whoever is planted in the Tao
    will not be rooted up.
    Whoever embraces the Tao
    will not slip away.
    Her name will be held in honor
    from generation to generation.

    Let the Tao be present in your life
    and you will become genuine.
    Let it be present in your family
    and your family will flourish.
    Let it be present in your country
    and your country will be an example
    to all countries in the world.
    Let it be present in the universe
    and the universe will sing.

    How do I know this is true?
    By looking inside myself.


    He who is in harmony with the Tao
    is like a newborn child.
    Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,
    but its grip is powerful.
    It doesn't know about the union
    of male and female,
    yet its penis can stand erect,
    so intense is its vital power.
    It can scream its head off all day,
    yet it never becomes hoarse,
    so complete is its harmony.

    The Master's power is like this.
    He lets all things come and go
    effortlessly, without desire.
    He never expects results;
    thus he is never disappointed.
    He is never disappointed;
    thus his spirit never grows old.


    Those who know don't talk.
    Those who talk don't know.

    Close your mouth,
    block off your senses,
    blunt your sharpness,
    untie your knots,
    soften your glare,
    settle your dust.
    This is the primal identity.

    Be like the Tao.
    It can't be approached or withdrawn from,
    benefited or harmed,
    honored or brought into disgrace.
    It gives itself up continually.
    That is why it endures.


    If you want to be a great leader,
    you must learn to follow the Tao.
    Stop trying to control.
    Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
    and the world will govern itself.

    The more prohibitions you have,
    the less virtuous people will be.
    The more weapons you have,
    the less secure people will be.
    The more subsidies you have,
    the less self-reliant people will be.

    Therefore the Master says:
    I let go of the law,
    and people become honest.
    I let go of economics,
    and people become prosperous.
    I let go of religion,
    and people become serene.
    I let go of all desire for the common good,
    and the good becomes common as grass.

    If a country is governed with tolerance,
    the people are comfortable and honest.
    If a country is governed with repression,
    the people are depressed and crafty.

    When the will to power is in charge,
    the higher the ideals, the lower the results.
    Try to make people happy,
    and you lay the groundwork for misery.
    Try to make people moral,
    and you lay the groundwork for vice.

    Thus the Master is content
    to serve as an example
    and not to impose her will.
    She is pointed, but doesn't pierce.
    Straightforward, but supple.
    Radiant, but easy on the eyes.


    For governing a country well
    there is nothing better than moderation.

    The mark of a moderate man
    is freedom from his own ideas.
    Tolerant like the sky,
    all-pervading like sunlight,
    firm like a mountain,
    supple like a tree in the wind,
    he has no destination in view
    and makes use of anything
    life happens to bring his way.

    Nothing is impossible for him.
    Because he has let go,
    he can care for the people's welfare
    as a mother cares for her child.


    Governing a large country
    is like frying a small fish.
    You spoil it with too much poking.

    Center your country in the Tao
    and evil will have no power.
    Not that it isn't there,
    but you'll be able to step out of its way.

    Give evil nothing to oppose
    and it will disappear by itself.


    When a country obtains great power,
    it becomes like the sea:
    all streams run downward into it.
    The more powerful it grows,
    the greater the need for humility.
    Humility means trusting the Tao,
    thus never needing to be defensive.

    A great nation is like a great man:
    When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
    Having realized it, he admits it.
    Having admitted it, he corrects it.
    He considers those who point out his faults
    as his most benevolent teachers.
    He thinks of his enemy
    as the shadow that he himself casts.

    If a nation is centered in the Tao,
    if it nourishes its own people
    and doesn't meddle in the affairs of others,
    it will be a light to all nations in the world.


    The Tao is the center of the universe,
    the good man's treasure,
    the bad man's refuge.

    Honors can be bought with fine words,
    respect can be won with good deeds;
    but the Tao is beyond all value,
    and no one can achieve it.

    Thus, when a new leader is chosen,
    don't offer to help him
    with your wealth or your expertise.
    Offer instead
    to teach him about the Tao.

    Why did the ancient Masters esteem the Tao?
    Because, being one with the Tao,
    when you seek, you find;
    and when you make a mistake, you are forgiven.
    That is why everybody loves it.


    Act without doing;
    work without effort.
    Think of the small as large
    and the few as many.
    Confront the difficult
    while it is still easy;
    accomplish the great task
    by a series of small acts.

    The Master never reaches for the great;
    thus she achieves greatness.
    When she runs into a difficulty,
    she stops and gives herself to it.
    She doesn't cling to her own comfort;
    thus problems are no problem for her.


    What is rooted is easy to nourish.
    What is recent is easy to correct.
    What is brittle is easy to break.
    What is small is easy to scatter.

    Prevent trouble before it arises.
    Put things in order before they exist.
    The giant pine tree
    grows from a tiny sprout.
    The journey of a thousand miles
    starts from beneath your feet.

    Rushing into action, you fail.
    Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
    Forcing a project to completion,
    you ruin what was almost ripe.

    Therefore the Master takes action
    by letting things take their course.
    He remains as calm
    at the end as at the beginning.
    He has nothing,
    thus has nothing to lose.
    What he desires is non-desire;
    what he learns is to unlearn.
    He simply reminds people
    of who they have always been.
    He cares about nothing but the Tao.
    Thus he can care for all things.


    The ancient Masters
    didn't try to educate the people,
    but kindly taught them to not-know.

    When they think that they know the answers,
    people are difficult to guide.
    When they know that they don't know,
    people can find their own way.

    If you want to learn how to govern,
    avoid being clever or rich.
    The simplest pattern is the clearest.
    Content with an ordinary life,
    you can show all people the way
    back to their own true nature.


    All streams flow to the sea
    because it is lower than they are.
    Humility gives it its power.

    If you want to govern the people,
    you must place yourself below them.
    If you want to lead the people,
    you must learn how to follow them.

    The Master is above the people,
    and no one feels oppressed.
    She goes ahead of the people,
    and no one feels manipulated.
    The whole world is grateful to her.
    Because she competes with no one,
    no one can compete with her.


    Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
    Others call it lofty but impractical.
    But to those who have looked inside themselves,
    this nonsense makes perfect sense.
    And to those who put it into practice,
    this loftiness has roots that go deep.

    I have just three things to teach:
    simplicity, patience, compassion.
    These three are your greatest treasures.
    Simple in actions and in thoughts,
    you return to the source of being.
    Patient with both friends and enemies,
    you accord with the way things are.
    Compassionate toward yourself,
    you reconcile all beings in the world.


    The best athlete
    wants his opponent at his best.
    The best general
    enters the mind of his enemy.
    The best businessman
    serves the communal good.
    The best leader
    follows the will of the people.

    All of the embody
    the virtue of non-competition.
    Not that they don't love to compete,
    but they do it in the spirit of play.
    In this they are like children
    and in harmony with the Tao.


    The generals have a saying:
    "Rather than make the first move
    it is better to wait and see.
    Rather than advance an inch
    it is better to retreat a yard."

    This is called
    going forward without advancing,
    pushing back without using weapons.

    There is no greater misfortune
    than underestimating your enemy.
    Underestimating your enemy
    means thinking that he is evil.
    Thus you destroy your three treasures
    and become an enemy yourself.

    When two great forces oppose each other,
    the victory will go
    to the one that knows how to yield.


    My teachings are easy to understand
    and easy to put into practice.
    Yet your intellect will never grasp them,
    and if you try to practice them, you'll fail.

    My teachings are older than the world.
    How can you grasp their meaning?

    If you want to know me,
    look inside your heart.


    Not-knowing is true knowledge.
    Presuming to know is a disease.
    First realize that you are sick;
    then you can move toward health.

    The Master is her own physician.
    She has healed herself of all knowing.
    Thus she is truly whole.


    When they lose their sense of awe,
    people turn to religion.
    When they no longer trust themselves,
    they begin to depend upon authority.

    Therefore the Master steps back
    so that people won't be confused.
    He teaches without a teaching,
    so that people will have nothing to learn.


    The Tao is always at ease.
    It overcomes without competing,
    answers without speaking a word,
    arrives without being summoned,
    accomplishes without a plan.

    Its net covers the whole universe.
    And though its meshes are wide,
    it doesn't let a thing slip through.


    If you realize that all things change,
    there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
    If you aren't afraid of dying,
    there is nothing you can't achieve.

    Trying to control the future
    is like trying to take the master carpenter's place.
    When you handle the master carpenter's tools,
    chances are that you'll cut your hand.


    When taxes are too high,
    people go hungry.
    When the government is too intrusive,
    people lose their spirit.

    Act for the people's benefit.
    Trust them; leave them alone.


    Men are born soft and supple;
    dead, they are stiff and hard.
    Plats are born tender and pliant;
    dead, they are brittle and dry.

    Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
    is a disciple of death.
    Whoever is soft and yielding
    is a disciple of life.

    The hard and stiff will be broken.
    The soft and supple will prevail.


    As it acts in the world, the Tao
    is like the bending of a bow.
    The top is bent downward;
    the bottom is bent up.
    It adjusts excess and deficiency
    so that there is perfect balance.
    It takes from what is too much
    and give to what isn't enough.

    Those who try to control,
    who use force to protect their power,
    go against the direction of the Tao.
    They take from those who don't have enough
    and give to those who have far too much.

    The Master can keep giving
    because there is no end to her wealth.
    She acts without expectation,
    succeeds without taking credit,
    and doesn't think that she is better
    than anyone else.


    Nothing in the world
    is as soft and yielding as water.
    Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
    nothing can surpass it.

    The soft overcomes the hard;
    the gentle overcomes the rigid.
    Everyone knows this is true,
    but few can put it into practice.

    Therefore the Master remains
    serene in the midst of sorrow.
    Evil cannot enter his heart.
    Because he has given up helping,
    he is people's greatest help.

    True words seem paradoxical.


    Failure is an opportunity.
    If you blame someone else,
    there is no end to the blame.

    Therefore the Master
    fulfills her own obligations
    and corrects her own mistakes.
    She does what she needs to do
    and demands nothing of others.


    If a country is governed wisely,
    its inhabitants will be content.
    They enjoy the labor of their hands
    and don't waste time inventing
    labor-saving machines.
    Since they dearly love their homes,
    they aren't interested in travel.
    There may be a few wagons and boats,
    but these don't go anywhere.
    There may be an arsenal of weapons,
    but nobody ever uses them.
    People enjoy their food,
    take pleasure in being with their families,
    spend weekends working in their gardens,
    delight in the doings of the neighborhood.
    And even though the next country is so close
    that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking,
    they are content to die of old age
    without ever having gone to see it.


    True words aren't eloquent;
    eloquent words aren't true.
    Wise men don't need to prove their point;
    men who need to prove their point aren't wise.

    The Master has no possessions.
    The more he does for others,
    the happier he is.
    The more he gives to others,
    the wealthier he is.

    The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
    By not dominating, the Master leads.

    thank you for reading the entire post carefully i appreciate it alot.

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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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  5. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

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  7. VitalOne Banned Banned

    Anyone notice how the Tao is described almost exactly the way Brahm is?
    "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."

    I especially liked this part:
    "The Tao is called the Great Mother:
    empty yet inexhaustible,
    it gives birth to infinite worlds"

    Infinite realities spring from the tao.....the unborn, umade, etc....
  8. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    yeah it is the universal philosophy if you look closely at religions

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    the christians and muslims believe in one god, who is infinite and gives birth to all things, was never born will never die,

    the hindu's believe in many gods that are the manifestations on the one god, who has no form and is infinite,

    taoist beliefs are as you just posted, an infinite mother of creation wich was never born and will never die, it is infinite,

    in fact 90% of major and minor religions combined believe this "ultimate truth" if you may,

    thats why i am always saying we believe the same thing anyway if you strip down ll of the crap, so lets work together and not fight

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    the taoist philosophies are my favorite to read though

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  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Nonetheless it's pretty easy to translate Mandarin dao as English "way." Failure to do so seems like a deliberate attempt at obscurity.

    Same goes for hanging onto the obsolete romanization and not calling it the Dao De Jing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daoism-Taoism_romanization_issue It strikes me as similar to hanging onto the King James version of the bible, just to give it an artificial ancient aura. Wouldn't Laozi want us to embrace the dao in our own reality rather than seeing it as an artifact perhaps too old to be translated well?
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2007
  10. IceAgeCivilizations Banned Banned

    Isn't the symbol of "the path" the hexagon?
  11. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned


    you are 100% right. i cant argue with anything you just said. apart from maybe that spelling does not matter as much as the message, but im pretty sure you agree with that yourself so that was pointless of me saying it. but i wont delete what i just wrote,

  12. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    if i recall right, there are actualy a few symbls associated with it, a hexagon shape does come to mind somewhere but im pretty sure i am thinking of feng shui or fung shui depending on how you want to spell it. they are linked though, and i am sure there is a hexagon in buddhist sects too.

    i don know why but i am thinking of lots of hexagons from chinese belief systems and i am actualy confused wich is unusual for me about this type of subject.

    i will google it all now to stop the madness.

  13. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    i dont think enough people read the dao verses.

  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    How many speakers of English get an "ancient" feel from "tao" as opposed to "dao"?

    Would just make it harder to find on the shelf, having to look under "D" as well as "T".

    Out of curiosity: are you familiar with Ursula Leguin's version, and her approach? If so, how does an attempt like that strike you?
  15. IceAgeCivilizations Banned Banned

    It's interesting that the hexagon of Taoism, The Path, with 6 sides, divided into the number of years of Hindu yugas of time, 432,000 years, equals 72,000, which is ten times the number of Great Pyramid base perimeter lengths (7,200) which compose the radius of the Earth. There seems to be a connection here.
  16. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    yeah i think you just stumbled upon the greatest discovery of mankind.

    seriously though, what could that mean if anything atall?

  17. Xerxes asdfghjkl Valued Senior Member

    :bugeye: A connection?!
  18. Nickelodeon Banned Banned

    There seems to be a connection between a hexagon and the number 6. I cant figure it out yet, but I'm trying really hard.
  19. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    the connection is, the hexagon has 2 sides. if you add that with the mirror image of itself that becomes 4 sides, if you take those 4 sides and add them to the number of feet i have you come to the answer wich is 6. now if you take that and cut it in half you have 3, if you take 3 and add it to the number of wise men that brung jesus gifts you come to the answer wich is 6 again,


  20. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Tao. Hmm, actually I have Daodedzin by Laodzi right here on my table, a Latvian translation.
    It has it's moments, but overall too bland and seemingly incomplete to my taste.
    That is, I think, you can either say all about Dao and de in one verse, if not, then in a 1000 pages, but not in between. But you could say most, by not saying anything at all.

    Oh, I like 16. most, but it is better in my translation.
  21. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    they all say the same thing to me

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    nah seriously 16 is very good though,

  22. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    quote from some site.

    The Tao te Ching is the oldest scripture of Taoism. It was composed during the warring states period when China descended into a chaos of rival kingdoms, some time between the sixth and the fourth or third centuries BC. It was supposedly written by Lao Tan, a possibly mythical figure, said to have lived till he was 160 or 200 years old.

    The classical Chinese historian Ssuma Chien says the work was by Li Erh, a custodian of imperial archives from the state of Ch'u in southern China, in the present province of Honan. This was a fertile, well-watered state. "Its people make little exertion, delight in life, and neglect to store anything."

    Li Erh was no seeker after fame. "The chief aim of his studies was how to keep himself concealed and remain unknown." says Ssuma Chien. Li Erh wrote his ideas only because, as he was heading into retirement, the royal gatekeeper pleaded with him to record his ideas before he disappeared into oblivion. He may have written the book under the pseudonym Lao Tan to avoid attention.

    A brutally honest personal confession in the Tao te Ching [chapter 20] suggests that he was not always happy with his reclusive way of life and personality:

    I alone am inert, showing no sign of desires,
    like an infant that has not yet smiled.
    Wearied, indeed, I seem to be without a home.
    The multitude all possess more than enough,
    I alone seem to have lost all . . .
    Common folks are indeed brilliant;
    I alone seem to be in the dark.

    The book of Chuang Tzu pays tribute to his character: "Men all seek the first. He alone sought the last. He said: "Accept the world's refuse." Men all seek happiness. He alone sought completion in adaptation . . . He was always generous and tolerant towards things." [Chuang Tzu, chapter 33]

    The Tao te Ching is a short, dense book of only 5,250 words - probably the most influential 5,250 words ever written. Its ideas became very popular under the Han dynasty in the second century BC.

    Lao Tan/Li Erh was even said to have met Confucius. After one visit Confucius' disciples asked him how he was able to correct and admonish Lao Tzu. "In him I have seen the dragon that rides on the cloudy air," replied Confucius. "My mouth fell open and I was unable to shut it; how could I admonish and correct Lao Tan?" After another crushing visit he admitted: "In the knowledge of the Tao am I any better than a tiny creature in vinegar?" A final episode shows him becoming virtually a disciple of Lao Tzu.

    These accounts are, of course, Taoist propaganda. In reality Confucius would have regarded Lao Tzu as a dangerous threat to established custom and filial piety. The Tao te Ching contains not a single word about either of these central Confucian concepts. Indeed by stressing spontaneity and harmony with nature, it represents a rebellion against Confucian obsession with form and duty.

    But Taoism did alter the course of Confucianism, leading to the synthesis of neo-Confucianism in thinkers like Chang Tsai. It also moulded the shape of East Asian Buddhism, giving Buddhism a much less negative stance to the world.

    Was Lao Tan/Li Erh a pantheist? His description of the reality of the Tao is of a mysterious, numinous unity underlying and sustaining all things. It is inaccessible to normal thought, language or perception. While he never calls the Tao a God, and rejects the idea that it is personal or concerned with humans, he clearly views it in the same light of awe and respect as believers view their Gods. Since the Tao is omnipresent and sustains everything, the Tao te Ching is clearly espousing a materialist form of pantheism.

    The Tao te Ching does not fall into the trap of Buddhism, assuming that because there is an underlying unity the diversity of the world is an illusion and there is only "emptiness." It recognizes both being and non-being as complementary. Non-being defines being as dark outlines light. Being and diversity emanate from non-being.

    Lao Tan/Li Erh also believed that human happiness consisted in understanding and living and acting in harmony with this underlying Reality. This means following a simple, frugal and peaceful way of life, not seeking after wealth, power or fame. Unlike the Chuang Tzu he is not an advocate of total withdrawal from public action. But he stresses the need for taking minimal action. He prefers non-violence over violence, softness over hardness, water over sharpened swords. He is a clear pre-cursor of both Jesus and Gandhi.

    In government his philosophy makes him in certain ways Machiavellian and laissez-faire. Kings should not encourage learning, wisdom or virtue. They should fill their people's bellies and keep their minds empty. A happy country would be one where people could hear dogs barking in the next village, yet would have no desire to go there.

    There are also repeated suggestions through the text that the sage can achieve long life and escape death. This gave rise to a much less philosophical aspect of later Taoism: the pursuit of everlasting life, not in heaven but on this earth, but through physical immortality, and by often magical means.

    There are dozens of translations of the Tao te Ching, many of them radically different from one another. Unless otherwise indicated, the texts below are from Wing-Tsit Chan in A Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1969. Additional biographical material from Fung-Yu Lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy, trs Derk Bodde, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1952, and James Legge, The Texts of Taoism, Sacred Books of the East vol 40, Dover, New York, 1962.


    Selected passages.


    Nature of the Tao


    Origin of all things.

    There is a thing, formless yet complete.
    Before heaven and earth it existed.
    Without sound, without substance,
    it stands alone and unchanging.
    It is all-pervading and unfailing.
    One may think of it as the mother of all beneath Heaven.
    We do not know its name, but we call it Tao.
    25. [Bodde].

    Deep and still, it seems to have existed forever.

    Sustainer of all things.

    The Great Tao flows everywhere.
    It may go left or right.
    All things depend on it for life, and it does not turn away from them.
    It accomplishes its tasks, but does not claim credit for it.
    It clothes and feeds all things, but does not claim to be master over them.
    Always without desires, it may be called the Small.
    All things come to it and it does not master them;
    it may be called The Great.

    Tao is incomprehensible to us by normal means or language.

    We look at it and do not see it;
    Its name is the invisible.
    We listen to it and do not hear it;
    Its name is the inaudible.
    We touch it and do not find it;
    Its name is the Subtle (formless).
    These three cannot be further probed,
    and hence merge into one . . .
    Infinite and boundless, it cannot be given any name;
    It reverts to nothingness.
    This is called shape without shape, form without object.
    It is the vague and elusive.
    Meet it and you will not see its head.
    Follow it and you will not see its back.

    The Tao that can be told of is not the eternal Tao;
    the name that can be named is not the eternal name.

    Tao is both being and non-being.

    Non-Being is the term given to that from which Heaven and Earth sprang.
    Being is the term given to the mother that rears all things . . . [Bodde]
    The two are the same,
    But after they are produced , they have different names.
    The two together we call the Mystery.
    It is the Mystery of Mysteries. [Bodde].

    Being and Non-being produce each other.

    When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty,
    There arises the recognition of ugliness.
    When they know the good as the good,
    There arises the perception of evil.
    Therefore Being and non-Being produce each other.

    The thing that is called Tao is eluding and vague.
    Vague and eluding, there is in it form.
    Eluding and vague, in it are things.

    Tao achieves action through inaction.

    Tao invariably takes no action, and yet there is nothing left undone.

    Clay is molded to form a vessel,
    But it is on its non-being that the usefulness of the utensil depends.
    Doors and windows are cut to make a room,
    but it is on its non-being that the utility of the room depends.

    Tao is indifferent to human affairs.

    Heaven and earth are not humane.
    They regard all things as straw dogs.


    Following the Tao in human affairs


    Success in human affairs depends on understanding and following the nature of the Tao.

    Hold on to the Tao of old in order to master the things of the present.

    Being one with Nature, he is in accord with the Tao.
    Being in accord with the Tao, he is everlasting.

    Avoid action.

    The sage manages affairs without action
    And spreads doctrines without words . . .
    By acting without action, all things will be in order.

    Be content with enough; don't go too far.

    To hold and fill to overflowing
    is not as good as to stop in time.
    Sharpen a sword-edge to its very sharpest,
    And the edge will not last long . . .
    Withdraw as soon as your work is done.
    Such is Heaven's Way.

    Softness conquers: non-violence.

    The weak and the tender overcome the hard and the strong.

    To yield is to be preserved whole.
    To be bent is to become straight.
    To be empty is to be full . . .
    To have little is to possess.

    The stiff and the hard are companions of death,
    The tender and the weak are companions of life.

    There is nothing softer and weaker than water,
    And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.

    The use of force usually brings requital.
    Wherever armies are stationed, briers and thorns grow.
    Great wars are always followed by famines.

    Weapons are instruments of evil, not the instruments of a good ruler.
    When he uses them unavoidably, he regards calm restraint as the best principle.
    Even when he is victorious, he does not regard it as praiseworthy,
    For to praise victory is to delight in the slaughter of men.

    Turn the other cheek.

    I treat those who are good with goodness,
    And I also treat those who are not good with goodness,
    Thus goodness is attained.

    Whether it is big or small, many or few, repay hatred with virtue.

    Return to the root.

    Attain complete emptiness,
    Maintain steadfast quietude.
    All things flourish
    But each one returns to its root.
    This return to its root means tranquility.

    Pursue simplicity and frugality.

    Therefore let people hold on to these:
    Manifest plainness,
    Embrace simplicity,
    Reduce selfishness,
    Have few desires.

    He who hoards most will lose heavily,
    He who is contented suffers no disgrace.

    Avoid overconsumption.

    There is no calamity greater than lavish desires.
    There is no greater guilt than discontentment.
    And there is no greater disaster than greed.
    He who is contented with contentment is always contented.

    The courts are exceedingly splendid,
    while the fields are exceedingly weedy,
    and the granaries are exceedingly empty.
    Elegant clothes are worn,
    sharp weapons are carried,
    Foods and drinks are enjoyed beyond limit,
    And wealth and treasures are accumulated in excess.
    This is robbery and extravagance.
    This is indeed not the Tao.



    Philosophical Taoism overlaps in many respects with Scientific Pantheism. Both are non-dualist, and deny that spirit and matter are separate substances. Both are non-theist, and deny the existence of any personal creator God or supernatural realm. Yet both have a deeply religious reverence for nature and the universe. Both stress the importance of living in harmony with nature. If you are attracted to the Taoism of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, then you will find scientific pantheism totally congenial.
    There are of course some differences. Unlike Chuang Tzu, Scientific Pantheism does not advocate social inaction, and does not assume that there is an ultimate reality beyond the material universe (though it does not deny the possibility of this). Scientific Pantheism is completely free of the later accretions of religious Taoism: the alchemical pursuit of physical immortality, the multiplicity of deities and so on.
    Scientific Pantheism recognizes the right of all pantheists to celebrate their beliefs in any ritual or symbolic form they prefer: so it is entirely possible to be a scientific pantheist and a Taoist at the same time, and many of our members are.
  23. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    many people debate over the authors name, laotzu, lao lai tzu, and lao tan. but they are different names with the myth surrounding taoism,


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