The spirit of the valley never dies;
It is called the mysterious female.
The gateway of the mysterious female,
Is called the root of Heaven and Earth.
Like a fine slender thread,
It appears to go on forever;
No matter how much it’s used,
It’s never exhausted.
Continue reading Daodejing Chapter 6: the mysterious female
Confucius said: “If there was a ruler who achieved order through effortless action it was Shun, wasn’t it?” How did he do it? He composed himself with reverence and sat facing south. That was all.”
Effortless action (無為/wúwéi) is a term much more closely identified with Daoist teaching than Confucius, which is hardly surprising given that this is the only time it appears in the Analects. Continue reading Effortless action
Confucius said: “Know the Way in the morning; die without regret in the evening.”
Confucius said: “A scholar-official who sets his heart on the Way but is ashamed of his threadbare clothes and coarse food is not worth listening to.”
The concept of the Way (道/dào) predates Confucius and Laozi by thousands of years. Even though they had different approaches to following and implementing the Way, they both began from the same starting points and shared the same set of core values. Continue reading Die happy
What a marvelous piece of luck! I certainly didn’t see the bee hovering over the flower when I took this photo in Fitzroy Gardens yesterday. Continue reading Nature rarely talks
In the Daodejing, the character 德 (dé) literally means virtue, though it can also be translated as moral power, power, or excellence. Here is a collection of quotations on the subject of virtue from the text. Continue reading Daodejing quotes on virtue
In the Daodejing, selflessness is seen as an essential quality for a sage. Here is a collection of the most popular quotations on the subject of selflessness from the text. Continue reading Daodejing quotes on selflessness
In the Daodejing, trusting others and being trustworthy are seen as essential qualities for a leader. Here is a collection of the most popular quotations on the subject of trust from the text.
In speaking, it is good faith that counts;
Leaders who don’t trust their people enough won’t be trusted in return.
Wise ones choose their words carefully.
The Daodejing is a rich source of leadership wisdom. Here is a collection of the most popular quotes on the subject from the text. Continue reading Daodejing quotes on leadership
Although the Daodejing has a mystical feel to it, thanks in large part to the ambiguity of some of the terms it uses and the richness of its language, the book is at heart a leadership manual that was written to warn the ruling class of the time against their excessive greed, depravity, and cruelty. Continue reading Daodejing: The best leaders
Even after completing my translation the Daodejing, I am still struggling to paint a clear picture in my mind of what exactly the Way is. In literal terms it’s a path, but as Laozi candidly admits in Chapter 25 he only gave it this name because he didn’t know what its real one is: Continue reading The great womb and the invisible force