Sunday, September 07, 2008

Simplicity, Patience, and Compassion

For the last couple of days, I have been reading from the Tao. Here are some snippits from Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao te Ching:


Governing a large country
is like frying a small fish.
You spoil it with too much poking.

Center your country in the Tao

and evil will have no power.

Not that it isn't there,

but you'll be able to step out of its way.

Give evil nothing to oppose

and it will disappear by itself.


A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it

Having realized it, he admits it

Having admitted it, he corrects it

He considers those who point out his faults

as his most benevolent teachers.

He thinks of his enemy
as the shadow that he himself casts.

If a nation is centered in the Tao,

if it nourishes its own people
and doesn't meddle in the affairs of others,

it will be a light to all nations in the world.


I have just three things to teach;
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,

you accord with way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,

you reconcile all beings in the world.


There is no greater misfortune
than underestimating your enemy.
Underestimating your enemy
means thinking that he is evil.
Thus you destroy your three treasures

and become an enemy yourself.

When two great forces oppose each other,

the victory will go

to the one that knows how to yield.


When they lose their sense of awe,
people turn to religion.
When they no longer trust themselves,

they begin to depend upon authority.


Trying to control the future
is like trying to take the master carpenter's place.
When you handle the master carpenter's tools,

chances are that you'll cut yourself.


Those who try to control,
who use force to protect their power,
go against the direction of the Tao.
They take from those who don't have enough

and give to those who have far too much.


Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water

Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,

nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;

the gentle overcomes the rigid.

Everyone knows this is true,

but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains

serene in the midst of sorrow

Evil cannot enter his heart.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gale and I read from the Tao almost every morning. It never disappoints and always rings true. A wellspring of distilled knowledge and wisdom.

5:45 AM  

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