Eighteenth Chapter: Tao-te Ching | Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Eighteenth Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Eighteenth Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Eighteenth Chapter:
The Way of Lao Tzu (Tao-te Ching)

When the great Tao is flowing, the action is spontaneous.
When the great Tao is absent, the action comes from the rules.

When the rules of “kindness and justice” appear.
These are sign of great hypocrisy.

When kinship is not in harmony,
There is the advocacy of filial piety

When a country is in chaos,
Loyal politicians appear and patriotism is born.


As I understand it:

Harmony is lost when our living is not heart-based. If we choose to live from our hearts we don’t need codes of conduct and laws.
A country is in chaos when a ruler imposes crude authority and people don’t take individual responsibility. A need for justice arises – a need for laws to restore order. Patriotism is demanded. Loyalty to the country is questioned. “These are signs of great hypocrisy.” Politicians appear to bring light to the disorder and darkness. At the time of war the voice for peace is raised to the highest pitch.
Why not be patriotic for all humanity? Why restrict ourselves to the land where we were born or live?

Identify your “simple, spontaneous and generous” heart-rules. They would be in sync with love, freedom, responsibility and non-violence. If some of the heart rules do not correspond with society’s conventions or family’s traditions, discard them. Don’t follow like one in a herd.


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 Life: Living the Wisdom of Tao. Hay House, Inc. 2007.

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