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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Understanding the Tao te Ching Ch. 28: Finding Simplicity

He who knows his manhood and understands his womanhood becomes useful like the valleys of earth (which bring water). Being like the valleys of earth, eternal vitality (de [teh]) will not depart from him, he will come again to the nature of a little child

He who knows his innocence and recognizes his sin becomes the world's model. Being a world's model, infinite de [teh] will not fail, he will return to the Absolute.

He who knows the glory of his nature and recognizes also his limitations becomes useful like the world's valleys. Being like the world'svalleys, eternal de [teh] will not fail him, he will revert to simplicity.

Radiating simplicity he will make of men vessels of usefulness. The wise man then will employ them as officials and chiefs. A great administration of such will harm no one.

Tao te Ching Chapter 28


These stanza may be said to represent a ladder of progress toward simple life.  

The first stanza suggest that we learn to understand our yin and yang, our expressive and receptive abilities.

The translation of the second stanza is in doubt.  The concepts of sin and innocence are not common in Taoism.  Legge translates the same stanza this way:

"Who knows how white attracts,
Yet always keeps himself within black's shade,
The pattern of humility displayed,
Displayed in view of all beneath the sky;
He in the unchanging excellence arrayed,
Endless return to man's first state has made."

Translated this way, stanza two becomes a lesson in humility; a common theme in Taoism.

Stanza three returns to to the earlier message of the "glory" found within all things that arise from the Tao but reminds us to balance that with our limited nature.  The combination of these three attributes; balance of yin and yang, humility, and glory matched to ability leads to a simple life.

The fourth stanza observes that a person skilled in these three skills can be of great use as leaders because they will not desire to harm anyone.
Thanks For Making This Possible! Kindly Bookmark and Share it.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble Facebook Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment