Tag Archives: Taoism

Daodejing: back to the good old days

Ah, the good old days when men were men and, well, I’m sure you get my drift. Just like Confucius did with the Duke of Zhou, Laozi is attempting to evoke a golden age from deep antiquity that almost certainly never existed. He is imploring people to learn from the mythologized behavior of the (nameless) great masters of the past in the hope that everyone returns to the right path. Continue reading Daodejing: back to the good old days

Daodejing: the unbroken thread

I am beginning to see why the Daodejing appeals to so many people in the west seeking spiritual inspiration. Passages like this one in Chapter 14 do a masterful job of evoking the myriad mysteries of the Dao, which stretches back to the very “beginnings of antiquity”. The richness and ambiguity of the text, no matter whether it’s in Chinese or English, certainly send the brain cells spinning in multiple directions! Continue reading Daodejing: the unbroken thread

Daodejing: enough is enough

Know when enough is enough. Stay humble no matter how successful you are. Pride comes before the fall.

「持而盈之,不如其已;揣而銳之,不可長保;金玉滿堂,莫之能守;富貴而驕,自遺其咎。功成身退,天之道」
Holding a cup while filling it to the brim,
Is not as good as stopping in time;
Hammering a blade until it is sharp,
Will not preserve its edge for long.
When your hall is stuffed with gold and jade,
Nobody will be able to protect it.
When riches and honors lead to arrogance;
Disaster will inevitably follow;
Retire when you have accomplished your goal;
This is the way of heaven.

Daodejing: flow like water

「上善若水,水善利萬物而不爭,處眾人之所惡,故幾於道。居善地,心善淵、與善仁、言善信、正善治、事善能、動善時。夫唯不爭,故無尤」
The highest good is like water;
Water brings good to all things without contending with them;
It settles in places that people disdain;
Thus, it is akin to the way.
In choosing your home, it is the location that counts;
In cultivating your mind, it is depth that counts;
In dealing with others, it is goodness that counts;
In speaking, it is good faith that counts;
In governing, it is order that counts;
In handling affairs, it is ability that counts;
In action, it is timing that counts.
By not contending with others,
You won’t be singled out for reproach.

The Dao is like water. It sustains life without intending to.  Continue reading Daodejing: flow like water

Daodejing: the more you give

The more you give, the more you get back. I’m not sure I even need to add that.

「天長地久,天地所以長且久者,以其不自生,故能長生。是以聖人後其身而身先,外其身而身存。非以其無私耶!故能成其私。」
Heaven is infinite and earth is eternal;
The reason why they last so long is because they do not exist for themselves;
Thus, they can continue to endure.
That is why the sage:
Places himself at the back, but finds himself at the front;
Places himself on the outside, but remains present.
Isn’t it because he doesn’t think of himself,
That he is able to achieve his private ends?

Daodejing: omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent

There is not much I can add to this: the way is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent if only you choose to acknowledge and follow it.

「道沖而用之,或不盈。淵兮似萬物之宗;挫其銳、解其紛、和其光、同其塵,湛兮似或存。吾不知誰之子,象帝之先。」
The way is an empty vessel;
But as much as it is drawn from, it never fills up.
It’s so deep that it is like the origin of all things.
Blunt the sharpness;
Untangle the knot;
Soften the glare;
Let your wheels move along old ruts;
Invisible and formless, it always seems to be present.
I have no idea who gave birth to it.
It seems to have existed before the Lord did.

Daodejing

Daodejing Chapter 1
老子道德經第一章

「道可道,非常道,名可名,非常名。無名天地之始,有名萬物之母。故常無欲以觀其妙,常有欲以觀其徼,此兩者同出而異名,同謂之玄,玄之又玄,眾妙之門。」
The way that can be spoken of is not the constant way;
The name that can be named is not the constant name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth;
The named is the mother of the myriad things.
Therefore, by always remaining free of desire you can observe its secrets;
While by always remaining full of desire, you can observe its manifestations.
The two emerge from the same source,
But they have different names;
Call them both mysteries;
Mystery upon mystery;
The gateway to all secrets.

Continue reading Daodejing