This blog is an interpretation of the Tao te Ching "Tao Virtue Book" which is attributed to Laozi "Lao Tze" a Chinese philosopher who lived circa 600 b.c.

Please remember always that this is the description of the Tao and not the experience of the living Tao. Hopefully, this blog will not serve as analysis or commentary but as a window into the Tao. You are encouraged to disagree with this interpretation, involve yourself in self-study, and ultimately leave all concepts behind and so experience the living Tao.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Tao te Ching Chapter 35: The Quiet Master

For this chapter we will use Legge's translation

To him who holds in his hands the Great Image (of the invisible Dao), the whole world repairs. Men resort to him, and receive no hurt, but (find) rest, peace, and the feeling of ease.

Music and dainties will make the passing guest stop (for a time). But though the Dao as it comes from the mouth, seems insipid and has no flavour, though it seems not worth being looked at or listened to, the use of it is inexhaustible.

Tao te Ching Chapter 35


This small and straight forward chapter holds many clues about how to be and recognize a great person.  

The first stanza makes the observation that those who understand the Tao are safe, good friends who will bring comfort to those around them.

The second stanza can be seen to be making a more subtle point.  It says that while "music and dainties"  can attract a person for a short time, the seemingly insignificant Dao has unlimited uses.  

It seems strange in a society dedicated to always having more to consider the value of nothing.  There are some clues to this in western culture.  Consider "deep listening" the practice of sitting with those in crisis and listening to their story without directing or judging.  Consider the young child, who when they lose their temper, is allowed to sit in a quiet room rather than being punished.  Consider the value of a quiet walk in the park after a hectic days work. Truly nothing can be as valuable as something!

Perhaps the author means to suggest that you may know a great person, someone filled by the Tao by the fact that they do not require anything from you.  "Music and dainties" can be seen and any entertainment and distraction.  The phone call from the television company offering you another hundred channels is appealing but would you not rather have a call from a friend who can listen without complaint to your troubles?
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