Tao Te Ching: Second Chapter | Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Tao Te Ching: Second Chapter

Tao Te Ching: Second Chapter

Tao te Ching
Second Chapter

When the people of the world know beauty as beauty,
There arises the recognition of ugliness.
When they all know the good as good,
There arises the recognition of evil.

Being and non-being produce each other;
Difficult and easy complete each other;
Long and short contrast each other;
High and low distinguish each other;
Sound and voice harmonize each other.
Front and behind accompany each other.

Therefore the sage manages affairs without action
And spreads doctrines without words.
All things arise, and he does not turn away from them.
He produces them but does not take possession of them.
He acts but does not rely on his own ability.
He accomplishes his task but does not claim credit for it.
It is precisely because he does not claim credit that his
Accomplishment remains with him.


As I understand it:

Why judge pairs of opposites? They are what they are. Let’s see them for what they are. Why call the one we like better than the one someone else prefers? Beauty and ugliness are the criteria we have made up: each one of us has a different one. We defend, discriminate, judge, possess. Can we look at things for what they are? Without prejudice?

The sage sees the Morning Glory that blooms only for few hours with the same joy as he sees the hardy Zinnias. The 10,000 things of the universe arise from the same source, the Tao, and are therefore of equal beauty.
Lao Tzu says do your work and let go. Neither over do it nor expect credit for it. If you have done your work right things will move in harmony.

Suggested Readings:  
Lao Tzu, The Way of Lao Tzu, tr. Wing-Tsit Chan, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1963.
Dyer, Wayne W., Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of Tao. Hay House, Inc. 2007.

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