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.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Tao te Ching Chapter 37: Leading Naturally

Tao is apparently inactive (wu wei) and yet nothing remains undone. If princes and kings desire to keep) everything in order, they must first reform themselves. (If princes and kings would follow the example of Dao, then all things will reform themselves.

If they still desire to change, I would pacify them by the simplicity of the ineffable Dao.

This simplicity will end desire, and if desire be absent there is quietness. All people will of themselves be satisfied.

Tao te Ching Chapter 37


This chapter is again about the rule of people but may also be interpreted as advice on management of the self as well.  

It is important to note, here as in other chapters, the author does not indicate that the Tao does not act.  Wu wei suggests natural action rather than action inspired by desire.  The practitioner of Wu wei will stay at rest unless and until they are motivated, they will act in accordance with the need and then return to rest without claiming credit or glory for themselves.  There was a television show once about sailors in Indonesia.  It described their actions this way;  "I never heard Captain Tundry give an order but the crew responded at once to the needs of the ship."  A very wu wei sort of leadership and crew and very much the message of this Chapter.

The first stanza restates the function of wu wei and observes that, like Captain Tundry's crew, the people with respond with wu wei to a leader who practices wu wei.

The second stanza may be interpreted to mean the the author advocates the teach of Tao, or that Tao can be used like television to keep the masses at rest.

The third stanza agrees that a desireless person or nation will remain at rest and that people can of their own accord remain at peace.
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