Thank you, Tao Te Ching


I was feeling a crashing wave of stress, when I saw the Tao Te Ching tab I leave open on my computer. This message is perfect for me right now. Thank you, Tae Te Ching. Also, thank you to @Listening_Wind who reminded me to read this book again.

If you’re unfamiliar or want to give it another read, here’s a free version. Feel free to share any gems in this thread.

Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
you position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don’t see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

The Tao doesn’t take sides;
it gives birth to both good and evil.
The Master doesn’t take sides;
she welcomes both saints and sinners.

The DaoDeJing is notoriously difficult to interpret to other languages / cultures…

I really like this site which lets you pick various translations to compare:

“Side By Side” viewer

Ron Hogan’s interpretation is pretty interesting.

This is great! Thanks for sharing.

How much Tao is there?
More than you’ll ever need.
Use all you want,
there’s plenty more
where that came from.

You can’t see Tao, but it’s there.
Damned if I know where it came from.
It’s just always been around.

Glad to see others finding their way through the teachings of the Tao. Between the Tao Te Ching and the Bhagavad Gita, I find all the words of wisdom to keep me on the path. Working on the Tibetan Book of the Dead currently…pretty fascinating indeed!


This is great, I gotta check out the whole thing.

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I recently had a profound experience with nonduality… These lines by 八大山人 Bada Shanren sum it up nicely:

Not-One cannot be divided.
Not-Two doesn’t have Two Names.
Drink West River to the dregs —
That might tell you something about the Tao!

(Haven’t found it in the original Chinese yet; this English is quoted in John Minford’s interpretation of DDJ which I highly recommend)

How do you interpret the West River part in light of the two lines before it? We are West River so drinking it to the dregs is just accepting that truth?

More literal!

The Xi (“West”) River is the largest tributary feeding into the Pearl River Delta in central Guangdong. It’s the biggest river in southern China; only the Yangzi further north has a larger volume of water flowing through it.

To “drink [this river] to the dregs” could be to attempt a physical feat that is impossible by virtue of your bodily limitations. Doing something physical which exhausts you can also be mentally exhausting, bringing you to a state of mind where your rational faculties are not able to form words any more — this ‘ineffability’ feels to me like Bada Shanren’s “something about the Tao”!

Great explanation. I’m going to drink that to the dregs.

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

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