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, February 22, 2012

Chapter 44: Moderation

Which is nearer, a name or a person? Which is more, personality or treasure? Is it more painful to gain or to suffer loss?

Extreme indulgence certainly greatly wastes. Much hoarding certainly invites severe loss.

A contented person is not despised. One who knows when to stop is not endangered; he will be able therefore to continue.

Tao te Ching Chapter 44


This chapter makes the point that having to much of anything invites disaster.  

In the "classic" style of the Tao teh Ching, the first stanza asks a series of questions.  Do you feel closer to a person or to that persons name?  In other words, do titles matter more than the personality of the person?  Do you value people or treasure more?  Everyone enjoys gaining, is the pleasure more than the pain of loss?

The second stanza observes that if you indulge, you almost certainly waste and that gathering together more than you need invites loss.  A small house is easy to keep in order, but who can keep track of all that comes and goes from a mansion.  More importantly, contentment never comes to those who are always fearful that they will lose what they have.

The third stanza finds two benefits to moderation.  First, the person who is not always longing does not make enemies.  Second, the person who knows when to stop does not put himself in danger.  These two create an opening for a good and long life within the bounds of moderation.
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