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Writings and Readings Blog

Madhu Bazaz Wangu

Eleventh Chapter: Tao Te Ching

Chapter Eleven: Tao Te Ching Thirty spokes converge around one hub, But it is on the hole in the center that the utility of the carriage depends. Clay is molded to form a vessel, But it is in its hollowness that the utility of the vessel depends. Doors and windows are cut out to make a room, But it is in its emptiness that the utility of the room depends. The usefulness of being depends upon its non-being. # As I understand it: The value of a hole, hollowness or emptiness goes unnoticed. The invisible life force eludes our senses. But without silent pauses there is no language, no music. Our bodies function with senses, feelings and locomotion but it is in the invisible essence, the Tao within us, that the utility of our lives depends. Let's allow the essence of...

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Tenth Chapter: Tao Te Ching

Tenth Chapter: Tao te Ching Can you keep your body and soul separated? Can you keep your body as supple as an infant? Can you look at yourself in the dark mirror and make it spotless? Can you govern the state without knowledge (cunning)? Can you play the role of the female in the opening and closing of the gates of Heaven? Can you understand and penetrate all without taking any action? To birth things and to rear them, And not take possession of them, To act, but not to take credit for that action, To lead but not to master - This is called profound and secret virtue. # As I understand it: Body cannot be separated from man's breathing and intelligence. A faded body cannot bloom again. We cannot have the profound insight about ourselves unless we look within. Look at ourselves when...

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Ninth Chapter: Tao te Ching

Tao te Ching: Ninth Chapter To fill a cup until it overflows Is not as good as to stop in time. Sharpen a sword-edge too much Its edge will blunt. When the gold and jade fill your hall, You will not be able to keep them long. To puff with honor and wealth Is to cause your own downfall Withdraw as soon as your work is done: This is the heaven's way. # As I understand it: Tao, despite its unlimited capacity for creating, does not show off. It stops at the perfect moment and thus moves in natural harmony. Everything we do or say has a saturation point. Exaggerating or understating spoils it. The sense of te (the spiritual energy of Tao), deep within us, knows when enough is enough. To know when to work, when to stop and let go, and enjoy the...

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Eighth Chapter: Tao te Ching

Eighth Chapter: Tao te Ching The highest good is like water. Water benefits all things just by being itself. It flows in lowly places that all disdain. This is why it is like Tao. The highest good lives in accordance with nature. He lives close to the earth. He loves what is deep and profound. He is gentle and kind. He keeps to his words. He governs with equity. He handles affairs with competence. He keeps to timeliness. The one who lives in accordance with nature, Moves freely. It is because he moves in harmony to its nature and associations He flows and lets others flow with freedom. # As I understand it: Water is a symbol of Tao because just by being itself it teaches us to do highest good. We are of water, depend on water and are surrounded by water. But we do not...

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Tao Te Ching: Seventh Chapter

Tao te Ching: Seventh Chapter The Heaven is eternal and Earth Everlasting. They are eternal because they do not exist for themselves. Therefore the sage places himself in the background but finds himself in the foreground. He puts himself away, and yet he always remains. It is not because he has no personal interests. It is the reason why his personal interests are fulfilled # As I understand it: Tao, the source of Heaven, Earth and the 10,000 things in-between, is everlasting because it does not live for its own sake. This quality supports its stability and resilience. The sage lives from her Tao center. She does not live from worldly ego center. Non-ego makes her aware of the eternity. She serves the needs of others and puts herself last. She gives in thought, action and speech and asks for nothing...

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Tao Te Ching: Sixth Chapter

Sixth Chapter: Tao Te Ching The spirit that never dies Is subtle and profound-- The source of all things, mysterious feminine -- the Divine Mother. The gateway of the Divine Mother is the root of creation. It is always present and unending. Stay linked to its perfection. Use it and you will never wear it out. # As I understand it: Subtle and profound Feminine creates continuously. This mysterious force of abilities, talents and intelligence is inexhaustible. When we live creatively we become aware of the feminine force. If we yoke to its source with awareness, we are able to radiate outward what we feel deeply within. When we connect to the Divine Feminine, our passions become artworks, accomplishments, ideas and innovative ways of understanding and expressing our universe. {Lao's favorite symbol of Tao was the feminine (also infant, valley and water)....

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Tao Te Ching: Fifth Chapter

Tao-te Ching Chapter Five Heaven and Earth do not discriminate. They regard all things as straw dogs. The sage is impartial. To him no one is especially dear. He regards all people as straw dogs. Between Heaven and Earth there is a space like a bellows! Vacuous and inexhaustible -- the more it is used, more it creates. Keep to the center. Sit quietly and find the peace within. # As I understand it: The essence of Tao is like Heaven, Earth and the mind of the sage. It has no favorites. It sees everything as straw dogs. (Straw dogs were sacrificial objects in ancient China, discarded after the completion of a sacrifice.) In other words, Tao does not play favorites. It is neither partial nor impartial. Between the celestial and terrestrial regions there is a space that is vacuous and inexhaustible....

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Tao Te Ching: Fourth Chapter

Tao-te Ching Chapter Four Tao is empty (like a bowl). It may be used but its capacity is never exhausted. It is bottomless, perhaps the ancestor of all things. It blunts its sharpness, It unties its tangles. It softens its light. It becomes one with the dusty world. Deep and still, it appears to exist forever. I do not know whose son it is. It seems to have existed before the Lord. # As I understand it: Tao is invisible. Yet, it is deep within us and around us. It links us to what is "more than" us - infinite awareness. It untangles the knots and smoothens sharp edges of life. And it includes dust as well as diamonds. We must remain aware of Tao and make those we love and those less fortunate aware of it. Tao within us has limitless creative...

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Tao Te Ching: Third Chapter

Tao Te Ching: Third Chapter  Do not exalt the worthy, so that people shall not compete. Do not value rare treasures, so that the people shall not steal. Do not display the objects of desire, so that the people’s hearts shall not be disturbed. Therefore in the government of the sage, He keeps their hearts vacuous, Fills their bellies, Weakens their ambitions, And strengthens their bones, He always causes his people to be without knowledge (cunning) or desire, And the crafty to be afraid to act. By acting without action, all things will be in order. # As I understand it: In the Tao Te-Ching, the idea of personal achievements such as wealth, possessions, power and status is frowned upon because it promotes competition, jealousy, hate and anger. In an ideal state there is no need to award the worthy because all are award- worthy. But...

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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. Therefore: 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...

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