Wow. What an interesting (if difficult) read. There were many interesting chapters between 40 and the end, my favorites being 43, 44, 46, 57,63,64,67,68,76,78, and 81. Of these, 44 and 46 are my favorites, focused on the value of “knowing what is enough.”
It seems to me that the Tao-te Ching is a book of philosophy, not a religious text (as I had thought).
19 is another favorite.
Get ride of “holiness” and abandon “wisdom” and the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Get rid of “humaneness” and abondon “rightness” and the people will return to filial piety and compassion.
Get rid of cleverness and abandon profit, and theives and gangsters will not exist.
Since the above three are merely words, they are not sufficient.
Therefore there must be something to include them all.
See the origin and keep the non-differentiated state. Lessen selfishness and decrease desire.
Okay. Thanks for humoring me. Many of the chapters are far more “puzzle-like” than these two I’ve shared today. These are simpler, I think, and they speak more to me (let’s not go into what that says about my mind!) I find it interesting how much of the Tao te Ching seems focused on instructing “rulers” about how to rule. It’s hard for me to imagine that being useful, really. I mean, how many rulers actually sit down and think, “Hmmm… let’s see… How can I be a nicer more ethical ruler? Gee…”?? It would be nice, I suppose, but I just don’t see that happening. Most rulers don’t get to be rulers through that sort of introspection. (Though, now that I think about it, Obama’s “Dreams of my Father” does suggest that sort of thoughtfulness exists in the current President of the US.)
am on 40, so getting close. Here’s one I found particularly interesting, #26:
Heaviness is the root of lightness.
Composure is the ruler of instability.
Therefore the sage travels all day
Without putting down his heavy load.
Though there may be spectacles to see
He easily passes them by.
This being so
How could the ruler of a large state
Be so concerned with himself as to ignore the people?
If you take them lightly you will lose your roots.
If you are unstable, you will lose your rulership.
half-way through. It’s not light reading, and some of it is written as puzzles the answers to which are not immediately obvious, but some of it immediately rings a bell of truth. I think I’m on track to finish by July 10…
I’m tired of having this on my list. I am going to finish this bugger SOON. Moving it to the challenge and starting the reading tonight!
As pre-work for this goal, I am currently reading Alan Watts’ “What is Tao?” An excellent primer, providing context for reading the Tao Te Ching. I hope to actually accomplish the goal in the next couple weeks, but I am currently focused on re-readings of the Dhammapada and don’t want to rush that. It’s already interesting to see some overlap. Ah, is there anything truly new in this world?