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

Sixty-First Chapter

Sixty-First Chapter Tao-te Ching A big country may be compared to the lower part of a river. It is the converging part of the world. It is the female of the world. The female always overcomes the male by tranquility, And by tranquility she is underneath. A big state can take over a small state if it places itself below the small state. And a small state can take over a big state if it places itself below the big state. Thus some, by placing themselves below, take over (others), And some, by being (naturally) low, take over (other states). After all what a big state wants is but to annex and herd others. And what a small state wants is merely to join and serve others. Since both big and small states get what they want, The big state should place itself low. # As...

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Sixtieth Chapter

Sixtieth Chapter Tao-te Ching Governing a big country is like cooking a small fish, You spoil it with too much poking. Approach the world with the power of Tao And evil will have no power. Although evil is powerful, with Tao in our hearts, it cannot harm us. It cannot harm and sage too is protected. If the ruler and his people refrain from harming each other, The virtue and its benefits will be accumulated in the country. # As I Understand It: Don't interfere without, cultivate a sacred space within. We view the world with fear. If we cultivate an inner awareness, we gain courage. The Tao awareness shields us with an invisible areole. The evil cannot penetrate it. When we stop having fearful and negative thoughts the wicked powers become impotent. Fear begets more fear and...

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Fifty-Ninth Chapter

Fifty-Ninth Chapter Tao-te Ching To rule people and to serve Nature there is nothing better than frugality. Only by being frugal can one learn to restrain. To restrain oneself means to accumulate virtue heavily. By the heavy accumulation of virtue one can overcome everything. If one can overcome everything, then there are no limits. When a man knows no limits, he is fit to lead. This is the way to be deeply rooted and firmly planted in the Tao-- The secret of long life and everlasting vision. # As I Understand It: When we cultivate virtues such as frugality, restraint and moderation there's nothing impossible for us to do. The one who lives according to the Tao has a chockfull of such virtues. She exemplifies virtuous life and encourages others to make choices based on such high standards. An individual...

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Fifty-Eighth Chapter

Fifty-Eighth Chapter Tao-te Ching When the ruler knows his heart, the people are simple and contented. When he meddles with their lives, they become restless and contentious. Calamity is what happiness leans on. Happiness is what calamity hides in. Who knows the end of this process? Yet what is good soon becomes bad. And the bad again becomes good. People have been confused (by this) for a long time. The sage becomes an exemplar and does not impose his will. He is pointed but does not cut. He straightens but does not disrupt. He illuminates but does not dazzle. # As I Understand It: If our heart is pure the apparent reality is plain and simple. If we play games with others the reality becomes restless and flammable. This is because apparent reality--the 10,000 things--is in constant motion, neither permanent nor predictable. Only the Tao...

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Fifty-Seventh Chapter

Fifty-Seventh Chapter Tao-te Ching Govern the state with the Tao. Operate with surprise tactics. Let go of fixed plans and concepts. And the world will govern by itself. How do I know that this should be so? Because in this world, The greater the restrictions and prohibitions, the more impoverished the people become. The sharper the weapons of the state, the more troubled the nation will become. The more cunning and crafty the plan, the stranger the outcome. The more laws and orders are posted, the more thieves appear. Therefore the sage says: I take no action and people are reformed. I enjoy tranquility and people become honest. I do nothing and people prosper. If I keep from imposing on people they become themselves. # As I Understand It: Lao Tzu often suggests similarities between governing people and parenting children. He encourages non-interference with touch of common-sensical supervising. The highest form of...

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Fifty-Sixth Chapter

Fifty-Sixth Chapter Tao-te Ching He who knows does not talk. He who talks does not know. Shut the doors of your body. Close your mouth. Blunt your sharpness. Untie your tangles. Soften your glare. Settle your dust. This is called the secret embrace. He who knows this secret is unmoved by attachment or aversion, not swayed by profit or loss, or touched by honor or disgrace. He is far beyond the cares of men. For this reason he is honored by the world. # As I Understand It: The first two lines of this chapter have now become a cliché but its message is still meaningful. Yet, this common knowledge is rarely practiced. The highest state of knowing is not command of one's language or confidence in one's point of view. It is in silent knowing; the deep silent knowing within that can be felt but not communicated. Some...

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Fifty-Fifth Chapter

Fifty-Fifth Chapter Tao-te Ching He who is in harmony with the Tao is like a newborn. Poisonous insects will not sting him. Fierce beasts will not seize him. Birds of prey will not strike him. His bones are weak, his sinews tender, but his grasp is firm. He does not yet know the union of male and female, But is whole. His manhood is strong. He cries all day without becoming hoarse, This is perfect harmony. To know harmony is to know the eternal. To know the eternal is to be enlightened. Things in harmony with the Tao remain. Things that are forced, grow for a while, But then begin to wither away. This is not the Tao. Whatever is contrary to Tao perishes away # As I Understand It: Some people seem to be blessed by lady-luck. Others wonder why "poisonous insects," "fierce beasts" or "birds of prey" do not...

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Fifty-Fourth Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Fifty-Fourth Chapter Tao-te Ching How do I know this is true? That he who is grounded in the Tao cannot be pulled out. He who has understanding of the Tao cannot be separated from it. Generations honor generations. When virtue is cultivated in the self, it is realized. When virtue is cultivated in the family, it overflows. When cultivated in the community, it increases. When in the country and the world, it abounds. The virtue of Tao is everywhere. It becomes everything. See it as a person. See it as a family. See it as a country. And see it as the world How do I know this is true? By seeing within. # As I Understand It: When we plant ourselves in the Tao we radiate joyful awareness. This consciousness is like a wave of energy that affects not only us but also what is around us. People...

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Fifty-Third Chapter

Fifty-Third Chapter Tao-te Ching If I have even just a little sense, I should walk in the Great Way, my only fear would be getting off the road. The Great Way is straight but people prefer devious bypaths. That is why the court is corrupt, the fields are weedy, the granaries are empty. Magnificent dresses are worn, sharp weapons are carried, Foods and drinks are consumed in excess, wealth and treasures are accumulated. This pomp and show is robbery at the expense of others. Is this the way of the Tao? # As I Understand It: The Great Way connects us all. But we continue to see ourselves as separate rather than one. The path of the Tao is straight and smooth but we walk paths that have painful ends. Half the world experiences opulence, the other half starves. Weapons of destruction receive funding while...

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Fifty-Second Chapter

Fifty-Second Chapter Tao-te Ching The source of the universe is the Mother. He who knows the source discovers the ten thousand things. He who discovers the ten thousand things and holds on to the Mother, He is free from danger. Close the mouth. Guard the senses. And life will be peaceful. Open the mouth. Meddle with people's affairs. And life will be hopeless. See small, see clearly. Be flexible, be strong. See the radiance and save yourself misfortune. This is called the practice of eternal light. # As I Understand It: Lao Tzu has symbolized the Tao as water, deep valley or, mother, as in this chapter. He says that human life, from birth to death, is not a straight line. What lies before our physical existence and after, is a mystery having maternal qualities. Like a mother, it sustains us throughout our lives. But unlike...

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