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, February 25, 2012

Chapter 45: Finding Vigor

For this chapter we will use Legge's Translation:

Who thinks his great achievements poor Shall find his vigour long endure. Of greatest fulness, deemed a void, Exhaustion ne'er shall stem the tide.

Do thou what's straight still crooked deem; Thy greatest art still stupid seem, And eloquence a stammering scream.

Constant action overcomes cold; being still overcomes heat. Purity and stillness give the correct law to all under heaven.

Tao te Ching Chapter 45


Here the author talks about finding strength and remaining strong.

In the first stanza they make the observation, as they have before that being proud of your achievements will exhaust you.  They also point out that those who are happy with nothing, "filled with a void" are not easily tired.

Legge occasionally chose to rhyme his translation of the Dao and Stanza two is an example.  There is no reference to screaming of outcry of any kind in other translations of this chapter.  What the translations do seem to agree on is that, when you follow the natural path, your way will seem crooked.  This can be understood to mean that a Daoist uses least energy, holds his vigor, by following the lines of least resistance in life.  Or at least choosing paths free of unnecessary conflict.

The third stanza may be seen to be somewhat cleverly pointing out that seemingly opposite actions can be best in different circumstances.  If it's cold out, keeping busy will keep you warm.  On the other hand, if it's hot, finding  a shaded corner to rest in will help you cool down.  How often are the rules of life fixed?  How often to they require adaptation to the moment?

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