Friday, April 11, 2014

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 39


昔之得一者:天得一以清;地得一以寧;神得一以靈;谷得一以盈;萬物得一以生;侯王得一以為天下貞。其致之,天無以清,將恐裂;地無以寧,將恐發;神無以靈,將恐歇;谷無以盈,將恐竭;萬物無以生,將恐滅;侯王無以貴高,將恐蹶。故貴以賤為本,高以下為基。是以侯王自稱孤、寡、不穀。此非以賤為本耶?非乎? 故致數譽無譽。不欲琭琭如玉,珞珞如石。

My rendition of Chapter 39 of Tao Te Ching:

These are those who keep Tao's singular principle:
The Sky gets Tao and becomes clear,
The Earth gets Tao and becomes peaceful,
The mind gets Tao and becomes wise,
All living things get Tao and can grow,
A ruler gets Tao and his people becomes loyal.
Those who try too hard to overreach,
The sky won't be clear,
an impending breakdown;
The Earth won't be peaceful,
disasters will happen;
The mind will be muddled,
being overburdened;
Grains will be insufficient,
not enough to feed the people;
Living things cannot grow,
an impending death;
Rulers cannot maintain their status,
a coming collapse.
Therefore to keep one's esteem, one must humbly follow the lowliness of Tao's singular principle,
Like towering height must build upon a strong foundation.
Therefore a ruler should humbly call himself
a solitary man, an old bachelor, and an underfed.
Isn't it being humbly following the principle of Tao?
Those who seek fame will get no fame.
Therefore one should not be like a piece of shinning jade
nor like a jade necklace ready to show off.

Paul's comment: Another poetic interpretation of Tao. Tao has many meanings as manifested in different aspects of human life. In meditation, it is the fullness of chi sensation. In spiritual meditation, it is at one with the Divine. In human affairs, it is action without visible actions. In ethics, it is the unanimous philanthropist and helper. In psychology, it is free from the tyrant of our Subconscious. In mind-body exercise, it can mean any or all of the above.

What it is not? It is not "anything goes" (indiscriminate tolerance). It is not "mind my/your own business" (selfishness).

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