Thursday, December 20, 2012

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 2

道德經 第2章


My translation of Chapter 2 of Tao Te Ching:

Promoting the beauty of selfless act
alerts us the gratification from being selfish
Praising the virtuous of good behavior
alerts us the gain from being vice

Scarcity felt through seeing abundance
Task becomes difficult because of an easier way
Comparison breeds dichotomy
The rich and the poor oppose each other
Discord does not come from a single note
Some felt falling behind because others seen getting ahead

Therefore a sage
acts benevolently as if he has done nothing
teaches morality without using words
makes things happen without showing his method
lets things grow as if it is only natural to be so

Contribute while keeping a low profile
Achieve results but not taking credit
No achievement being perceived
Tao will stay forever

Paul's inspiration:

Our contemporary society never teaches us to keep a low profile.  It teaches us to promote, to market and to make our intention known.  In some situations, it is a piece of good advice.  Before we turn left, we make a turn-left signal, so that the car behind us will slow down, and the car on the opposite lane will be alerted of our intention.  A fundamental of road safety. 

The popular understanding of Tao's way is to be modest, to be humble, not to show off.  On the defensive side, not to create an enemy; on the benevolent side, not to arouse envious feeling on your friends, even if they have no intention of harming you. This is what nice people are supposed to do.  And Tao teaches us to be nice people.  As popular understanding goes.

Laozi buys all these, I believe.

On a deeper level, a person who is at one with Tao will be one who is satisfied with his own existential situation.   Our religions have been focusing on tackling this problem, many resorted to the beauty of an everlasting afterlife, making the current life of lesser importance despite its existential inconvenience or deficiency, for most of us mortals.

On a personal level, the practice of Taoist meditation is the beginning and the end of a Taoist existential problem solving tool.  But Tao Te Ching is not only about Tao, it is also about morality (Te).  A moral person helps people, and by helping people he also alerts the people he helped of their existential situation which unfortunately is always found lacking.  If a person's only concern is to be satisfied with his existential situation, no material help will be needed.  Safe the soul and let the body rot. This is not the way of Tao towards morality.

Lets things grow as if it is only natural to be so.  A ideal of Tao, a happy marriage between Tao and morality.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...