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.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Understanding the Tao te Ching Chapter 27: Compassion for All

Good walkers leave no tracks, good speakers make no errors, good counters need no abacus, good wardens have no need for bolts and locks for no one can get by them. Good binders can dispense with rope and cord, yet none can unloose their hold.

Therefore the wise man trusting in goodness always saves men, for there is no outcast to him. Trusting in goodness he saves all things for there is nothing valueless to him. This is recognizing concealed values.

Therefore the good man is the instructor of the evil man, and the evil man is the good man's wealth. He who does not esteem his instructors or value his wealth, though he be otherwise intelligent, becomes confused. Herein lies the significance of spirituality.

Tao te Ching Chapter 27


The first stanza of the chapter observes that, when you are very good at a thing, it can sometimes appear as if you are not doing it at all.  You have made it your nature.

The second stanza observes that a wise man chooses compassion.  Choose to include all people in his scope of care.  This is in keeping with earlier messages in the Tao te ching.  Since we all rise from the same source, can we say that one of us is more or less worth of care "saving?"  

Translations of the final stanza vary widely.  Looking at the characters:

the first line does clearly state that the "bad" or "not to be looked down on" person is the wise person's treasure.  The second sentence may or may not agree with Goddard's translation.  The character  is negative and seems to suggest that the wise man does not   "love" his treasure.  Perhaps in light of earlier chapters on non-attachment this stanza is meant to suggest that the wise man values all men but does not become attached to them.
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