Madhu Bazaz Wangu | As I Understand It
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As I Understand It

Forty-First Chapter

Forty-First Chapter: Tao-te Ching When the highest type of men hear Tao, they diligently practice it. When the average type of men hear Tao, they half believe in it. When the lowest type of men hear Tao, they roar with ridicule at it. If they did not ridicule it, it would not be Tao. Therefore there are established sayings on this: The Tao that is bright appears dark, the Tao which goes forward appears to retreat, the easy way seems hard, the great power appears weak, the great purity appears tarnished. the great clarity seems obscure, the great art seems unsophisticated, the great love seems indifferent, the great wisdom seems childish. The Tao is hidden and nameless; the Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment. # As I Understand It: When a great scholar understands the wisdom of Tao she diligently applies it in her daily life....

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Fortieth Chapter

Fortieth Chapter: Tao-te Ching Returning is the movement of Tao. Yielding is the motion of Tao. All things are born of being. Being is born of non-being. # As I understand it: We come into existence and also cease to exist. We may feel our Tao-selves while alive or wait until we die. We feel our spiritual selves by yielding, by being humble. When we understand this, the world looks different. It does not matter if anyone else understands it or not. Yielding towards the humble ways is the way of the Tao. The more we yield the faster we return to the state of non-being (the Tao) while still living. # Suggested Readings: The Way of Lao Tzu, tr. Wing-Tsit Chan, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1963. Dyer, Wayne W., Change Your Thoughts - Change Your...

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Thirty-Ninth Chapter

Thirty-Ninth Chapter: Tao-te Ching The things that originated from the Tao: The clear sky is whole. The firm earth is whole. The spirit is whole. The myriad things are whole and so is the country. When kings and rulers interfere with the Tao, the sky becomes filthy, the earth becomes depleted, the spirits loses balance, creatures become extinct. Therefore, nobility is rooted in humility, Loftiness is based in lowliness. This is why kings and barons feel unworthy and lonely. Parts of chariots are useless, unless they work in accordance with the whole. An individual life brings nothing, unless lived in accordance with the whole universe. Too much honor means no honor. It is not wise to shine like the jade or sound like stone chimes. # As I Understand It: This chapter eulogizes the great dance of the universe that is...

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Thirty-Eighth Chapter

Thirty-Eighth Chapter: Tao-te Ching A truly good person is not conscious of his virtue, and therefore possesses virtue. A foolish person tries to be virtuous and is therefore not virtuous. The sage does nothing, Yet he leaves nothing undone. The ordinary man is always doing things, yet many more are left to be done. The highest virtue is to act without a sense of ego. The highest kindness is to give generously. The highest justice is to see without prejudice. When Tao is lost, there is virtue. When virtue is lost, there is morality. When morality is lost, there is ritual. Ritual is husk of doctrines, the beginning of disorder. The sage follows his own nature, not the fluff of life. He dwells in the firm, not the flimsy. He dwells in the fruit, not the fluff. He dwells in the true, not the false. # As I...

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Thirty-Seventh Chapter

Thirty-Seventh Chapter: Tao-te Ching The Tao does nothing, and yet leaves nothing undone. If powerful can center themselves in the Tao, the whole world will transform spontaneously to its natural rhythms. Life will become simple. Pretenses will fall away. Our true nature will shine through. Without cravings there is calm. World straightens itself. In silence, one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself. # As I Understand It: If a person does nothing, is he worthless? Isn't he better than an interferer, a meddler, a controller? The sage knows interference causes problems to surface. She lets things follow their natural course and refuses to participate in the activities that cause harm. The sage does not allocate responsibilities; tell others what to do and how to do it. Instead of directing others she observes her own natural...

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Thirty-Sixth Chapter

Thirty-Sixth Chapter: Tao-te Ching In order to contain something, let it expand first. In order to weaken something, let it strengthen first. In order to eliminate something, let it flourish first. In order to take away something, let it be accessible first. This is called wisdom of obscurity. The weak and the tender outlast the hard and the strong. Fish should not leave deep waters, And a country's weapons should not be displayed. # As I Understand It: In our world, where competition and being first is given a high priority, the teachings in thirty-sixth chapter stir misgivings. The teachings tell us that obscure, tender, and subtle things are stronger in the long run: that we must experience humility to appreciate the powerful: that we should be bighearted to allow others to prosper. It may sound strange to children if we,...

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Thirty-Fifth Chapter

Thirty-Fifth Chapter: Tao-te Ching Hold fast to the great Tao, And the entire world will come. They come and will encounter no harm. In it they will find security, peace and health. Music and dainties are passing pleasures, And yet they make strangers stay. But how insipid and tasteless are things of the world As compared with the flow of the Tao! When we look for it, there is nothing to see. When we listen to it, there is nothing to hear. When we use it, it cannot be exhausted. # As I Understand It: Sages say the Tao is bliss. Invisible, it courses through them. It is the reason people flock to a sage to find security, peace and happiness. We relish the sensuous pleasures of the world; food, clothing, laughter, dance, music and such things, but are never satiated. No sooner have...

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Thirty-Fourth Chapter

Thirty-Fourth Chapter: Tao-te Ching The Great Tao flows everywhere. It may go left or right. All things depend on it for life, and it does not run away from them. It accomplishes its purpose, but does not claim credit for itself. It shelters all creatures 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. Thus, it may be called the Great. Like the Great Tao, the sage does not claim greatness, And thereby the sage achieves greatness. # As I Understand It: Great people who affect the human life in a positive way are extraordinary individuals. They achieve fame and fortune. They may even command and dominate. But the greatness of the Tao is not the same. The people who have experienced the...

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Eastern Scriptures: As I Understand Them

I have come to believe that there is so much practical wisdom in world scriptures (the ones I have studied) that they have answers for almost all of our present problems and dilemmas. There is, however, a deep-rooted male bias in these books (except Tao-te Ching which has almost none). The obvious example would be the Ultimate Reality or Supreme Being referred to as "He." Goddess is positioned either at a lower hierarchical level than God or is seemingly not significant. This hierarchy also reflects in traditional households where father is the authoritative figure and mother functions as a mediator between the father and children. I keep such biases in mind when I read the sacred books and glean the practical wisdom from them. I wish their points of view...

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Thirty-Third Chapter

Thirty-Third Chapter: Tao-te Ching He who knows others has knowledge. He who knows himself has wisdom. He who conquers others requires force. He who conquers himself needs strength. He who is content with what he has is truly rich. He who acts with vigor lives long. He who is one with the Tao lives forever. As I Understand It: If you are a person with power and position you may think that you know other people well. But if you turn your gaze within you will see the world with a new light. Rather than trying to understand other people, understand yourself. Replace the power you think you have over others with the inherent power you have within. Instead of fretting over why some people upset you, explore why you get upset. Remain in touch with sensations that distress...

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