Saturday, August 15, 2015

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 47



My rendition of Chapter 47 of Tao Te Ching:

Know the world without stepping outside the door,
Understand the wisdom of eternal Tao without looking outside the window.
Those who travel to know more,
turned out to understand less.
Therefore a sage understands without traveling around to study,
Comprehends without learning,
Achieves through non-action.

Paul's comment: Knowledge is different from wisdom.  In real life, both are important. When we are led by a strong ego, we explore the world of knowledge, and seek advice from the outside world, both from teachers and from our own experience. We achieved worldly success. Our ego, however, has no limit. Our ego does not understand other egos are seeking the same things that he desires, not to mention other sentient beings and the environment. Sooner or later, in our open society it is often sooner rather than later, our ego will be frustrated by the fact that knowledge has failed him. Wisdom comes from the feminine side of our personality. Wisdom guides us when to move forward, when to be satisfied with what we have, when to respect others or the environment, and above all when to retreat.

With wisdom, ego and knowledge still have their roles to play. Even if we can afford to, most of us would not like to be in an altered state of consciousness all the time, even if that state is happy or even meant bliss. We have our real/physical life to live, our real/physical people whom we interact with. And in order to survive in the real world, we need knowledge to solve day to day practical problems, not the least the need to make a living with a real job.

Wisdom is not everything, but it sets an important balance. As the sage explained, wisdom can only be seek from within. Inner peace has to be found from within.

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