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, November 24, 2012

Chapter 53: Avoiding Boastfulness

If I were suddenly to become known, and (put into a position to) conduct (a government) according to the Great Dao, what I should be most afraid of would be a boastful display. 

The great Dao (or way) is very level and easy; but people love the

Their court(-yards and buildings) shall be well kept, but their fields shall be ill-cultivated, and their granaries very empty.

They shall wear elegant and ornamented robes, carry a sharp sword at their girdle, pamper themselves in eating and drinking, and have a superabundance of property and wealth;--such (princes) may be called robbers and boasters.

This is contrary to the Dao surely!

The Taoism Chapter 53

The Taoism Interpretation:

Unlike some chapters that cover several topics, this passage can be seen to be making a single observation.

At the end of the first stanza the author asserts that the most dangerous part of "becoming known" is the urge to display in a vain manner.

The second, third and fourth stanza observe the behavior of "known" people.  

The final stanza observes that such displays are out of keep with already established principles of Tao.

It is interesting to note the parallel between the behavior of the "princes" and the modern habit of borrowing excessively.   Perhaps this can be seen as similar to those princes who dress gaudily but leave their granaries empty.