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.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chapter 48: The Limits of Learning

He who attends daily to learning increases in learning. He who practices Dao daily diminishes. Again and again he humbles himself. Thus he attains to non-doing (wu wei). He practices non-doing and yet there is nothing left undone.

To command the empire one must not employ craft. If one uses craft he is not fit to command the empire.

Tao te Ching Chapter 48


There is a common saying, "The wise are not learned and the learned are not wise.  This stanza may be seen as comparison between learning for the sake of control and learning to be content.  We are can easily imagine a scatterbrained scientist who has memorized thousands of species names and endless details about birds but cannot remember to take care of a pet.  Then there is the person who has lived in nature and knows nothing of the names or scientific details of animals but can raise them and love them as family.   How does the second man, the wise man, acquire this ability?  By being still and observing.  Listening rather than doing.  This can be seen as the message of this chapter.

Stanza one points out the difference between the person who seeks intellectual knowledge and the the person who seek the Dao. 

The second stanza observes that the intellectual eventually fails.  This can be seen to say that the intellectual who is out of touch with the natural wisdom of listening and non-doing cannot value what he learns 
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