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Comments on excerpts from Arthur Waley's translation of Lao Tzu's book, Tao Teh Ching:

l. The sage relies on actionless activity, carries on wordless teaching, but the myriad creatures are worked upon by him; he does not disown them.

He rears them but does not lay claim to them, controls them but does not call attention to what he does.

2. Heaven and earth [Nature--P.B.] are ruthless.

3. The sage remains outside but is always there.

4. When your work is done, then withdraw; only by knowing when it is time to stop can danger be avoided.

5. Hold fast to the Unity and never quit it.

6. Return to the root is called Quietness; Quietness is called submission to Fate; what has submitted to Fate has become part of the always-so.

To know the always-so is to be illumined; not to know it means to go blindly to disaster.

[Comment by P.B.: The "always-so" is also translated elsewhere as the "ever-so."]

[Another comment on the previous extract: By passing on and on through successive stages of his own consciousness back to the initial unity, a man can arrive at the Tao, the Way, which controls the universe. This ecstasy, called far-away-wandering, is also known as the far-away-passing-on.]

7. There was something formless yet complete that existed before heaven and earth; its true name we do not know.

[Comment: This means we do not know to what class of things it belongs.]

8. The further one travels the less one knows.

9. Learning consists in adding to one's stock day-by-day; [note: similar to Bible's "much learning is much sorrow."]

The practice of Tao consists in subtracting day-by-day, but by this very inactivity everything can be activated. Those who evolved won the adherence of all who live under heaven, all did so by not interfering.

10. Shut the doors, and till the end your strength shall not fail.

11. If the sage, though he controls, does not lead when he has achieved his aim, does not linger, it is because he does not wish to reveal himself as better than others.

[Comment: To allow oneself to be regarded so as superior is to lose one's power.]


-- Notebooks Category 15: The Orient > Chapter 3: China, Japan, Tibet > # 60






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