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 7, 2012

Understanding the Tao te Ching Chapter 24: "Being Natural"


It is not natural to stand on tiptoe, or being astride one does not walk. One who displays himself is not bright, or one who asserts himself cannot shine. A self-approving man has no merit, nor does one who praises himself grow.

The relation of these things (self-display, self-assertion, self-approval) to Dao is the same as offal is to food. They are excrescences from the system; they are detestable; Dao does not dwell in them.

Tao te Ching Chapter 24


Again this chapter cautions us about vanity and the ego and the very funny metaphors again points out the happy heart of the taoist.   We cannot stand on our ego with any more grace than we can on our tiptoes.  

The comparison of the ego to "offal" is funny but leads to a deeper question.  By saying "self-display" etc. exist in relation to the Dao in the same way that offal relates to food, the author suggests that ego is a by product of the Tao.  Why might they say that?
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