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

Sixteenth Chapter: Tao-te Ching

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

Attain complete vacuity.
Maintain steadfast quietude.

All things come into being,
And I see thereby their return.
All things flourish,
But each one returns to its root.
This return to its root means tranquility.
It is called returning to its destiny.
To return to its destiny is called the eternal (Tao)
To know the eternal is called enlightenment.
Not to know the eternal is to act blindly to result in disaster.

He who knows the eternal is all embracing.
Being all embracing, he is impartial.
Being impartial, he is kingly (universal).
Being kingly he is one with Nature.
Being one with nature he is in accord with Tao.
Being in accord with Tao, he is everlasting.
And is free from danger throughout his lifetime.


As I understand it:

Empty yourself.
Let your heart be at peace.
Things are born, flourish and return to their source, the Tao.
Observe how each dying wombs a new beginning.

Intimately know Tao, the everlasting, and become tranquil.
Knowing the source makes one fearless.
Its awareness makes one enlightened.
Not knowing it brings confusion and sorrow.

She who is aware of the source, the constant, becomes impartial.
She who is in accordance with Tao is unafraid in life and ready at the time of death.
To feel totally secure in the understanding of impermanence,
This is the greatest blessing.

Everything around us is constantly changing. The only permanent thing is the Tao, the steadying influence within. Instead of looking at the changes in our lives as something disruptive, view them as an expression of the flow of life. Such a perspective will give you clue to your life’s purpose and meaning.
When an ending or separation is causing anguish take time to observe. Remember, “This too shall pass.” Tao never ends, separates or dies. In our world, the only constant is change and the Tao.


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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