Reading Archives - Page 13 of 15 - Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Reading

Twenty-Third Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Twenty-Third Chapter: Tao-te Ching Nature says few words. For the same reason a whirlwind does not last a whole morning. Nor does a rainstorm last a whole day. What causes them? Heaven and Earth - Nature. Express yourself. Then say little. Exaggerated action cannot be sustained. If Heaven and Earth cannot sustain them, How much less can man. Those who follow the Way become one with the Way. Those who follow goodness become one with goodness. Those who stray from the Way and goodness, become one with failure. If you identify with the Way, its power flows through you. Act naturally Open yourself to the Tao, Then trust your natural responses. And everything will fall into place. # As I understand it: Do your task and let go of desire to push. Observe nature. It doesn't force. It moves through the seasons and, without saying much, produces...

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Twenty-Second Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Twenty-Second Chapter: Tao-te Ching To yield is to be preserved whole. To be bent is to become straight. To be empty is to be full. To be worn out is to be renewed. To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed. Therefore the sage embraces Tao within And becomes the model of the world. He does not display himself; people see his light. He does not justify himself; people trust him. He is not full; people see themselves in him He does not brag; people see themselves in him. The ancient saying, "To yield is to be preserved whole," are not empty words? He does not demand and desire; things are attracted to him # As I understand it: The supreme quality of a sage is flexibility. When destructive energy comes his way he feels it and allows it to...

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Twenty-First Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Twenty-first Chapter: Tao-te Ching The greatest virtue is to follow the Tao and the Tao alone. The Tao is elusive and vague. Although vague and elusive, It gives rise to form. It gives rise to shapes. Although dark and obscure, It is the essence. The life-breath of all things. From the time of old until now, its name has been preserved In order to recall the beginning of all things. How do I know the way of all things in the beginning? By looking at the Tao within me. # As I understand it: In this chapter Lao Tzu reaffirms (see chapter 1) the significance of being aware of the human paradox -- on the one hand, the unknowns (where we come from, where we go, why are we here) and on the other, inner feeling of Tao.   From formless we become formed; from...

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Twentieth Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Twentieth Chapter: The Way of Lao Tzu (Tao-te Ching) Abandon Learning and there will be no sorrow. How much difference is there between “Yes” and “ No?” How much difference is there between “good” and “evil?” Do not dread, what people dread. But, alas, I fear desolation when there is abundance. I feel darkness when light is everywhere. In springtime, some go to the park and ascend the tower. But I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am. Like an infant before it has learnt to smile. I am weary, without a home. Multitudes have too much. I alone seem to have lost all. Mine is indeed the mind of an ignorant person, Indiscriminate and simple! People rush about to get things done, to seek fame, I prefer to be left alone. Indeed I seem like an idiot: No mind, no worries. I drift...

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Reading Tao-te Ching

Dear Readers, We are one quarter of the way through our first book, Tao-te Ching. Lao Tzu’s ideas, in this spiritual text, meaningfully resonate in contemporary times. Posting one chapter each week of the text has begun to have a peaceful effect on me and has brought clarity in my thinking. Has it affected you in anyway? Writing about Tao-te Ching has enabled me to connect with you who, like me, thirst for such ideas. We have thus become a community of readers and thinkers who want to be “a little more than” what we already are. Where would I be without a bridge from my quiet study to your individual thoughtful islands? This is a good time to explain the reason why I started to write “As I Understand It.” I...

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Nineteenth Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Nineteenth Chapter: The Way of Lao Tzu (Tao-te Ching) Abandon sageliness and discard wisdom. Then the people will benefit a hundredfold. Abandon morality and discard justice; Then the people will return to filial piety and deep love. Abandon skill and discard profit; Then there will be no thieves or robbers. However, these three things are outward forms and are not adequate. Therefore let people hold onto these: Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Temper desires. # As I Understand It: It seems confusing that Lao Tzu would condemn morality, wisdom, skill, profit as well as the characteristics of an ideal human being, the sage, who he models at least thirty times in Tao-te Ching. Lao Tzu seems to condemn the sage (preachers, teachers, lawyers) whose “sageliness” has become a mere shell. Taoist sage is an ideal human being who transcends time. Lao Tzu wants us to...

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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...

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Seventeenth Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Seventeenth Chapter: The Way of Lao Tzu (Tao-te Ching) When the best leader rules people barely know that he exists. The next best is the one who is loved and praised. The next is the one who is feared. And the next comes the one whom people despise. When a ruler trusts no one, no one trusts him. The great ruler speaks little, acts more. He accomplishes his task: he leaves no trace. When the work is done people say, "We did it ourselves." # As I understand it: If we replace one authority figure, that of a ruler, with another authority figure, that of a parent, this chapter becomes immediately meaningful and relevant to the lives of those who have children. Enlightened parents don't lead. They suspend their desire to be seen as an authority figure. They ask...

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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...

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Fifteenth Chapter: Tao Te Ching

Fifteenth Chapter: Tao-te Ching Of old those who were the best rulers were subtly mysterious and profoundly penetrating; too deep to comprehend. And because they cannot be comprehended, I can only describe them arbitrarily: Cautious, like crossing a frozen stream in the winter, Being at a loss, like one fearing danger on all sides, Reserved, like one visiting, Supple and pliant, like ice about to melt. Genuine like a piece of uncarved wood, Open and broad, like a valley, Merged and undifferentiated, like muddy water. Who can make muddy water gradually clear through tranquility? Who can make the still gradually come to life through activity? He who embraces this Tao does not want to fill himself to overflowing. It is precisely because there is no overflowing that he is beyond wearing out and renewal. # As I understand it: Stop! Don't rush! Don't be the assertive manager of...

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