dao adapting

Chinese for "adapting"

Town in China, busy with activity

Chinese characters for &quotscroll painting, Qing dynasty; "

Heaven embraces the horizon.
No matter how jagged the profile,
The sky faithfully conforms.

Wherever you are, the sky constantly meets the horizon. It conforms absolutely with the earth’s surface. Changes in the earth or sky do not affect this perfect adaptation. There might be clouds, it might be night, there might be mountains or trees or even buildings on the horizon, but the relationship remains.

No matter what circumstances life may present, we must adapt exactly, whether we think the situation is good or bad. Resistance is useless. Instead, we should concentrate on perceiving whatever circumstances surround us. For example, if one is in a leadership situation, one must adapt one’s vision to that of the group; the successful leader articulates and brings consensus to the group. Being flexible and constantly adjusting to the times is one of the secrets of Tao.

We often think of the landscape as being in the foreground and the sky as the background. It is because the sky is always in the background that it can meet the outline of the foreground perfectly. If we emulate this feature of bing in the background, then we too can find perfect conformity with life. Such adaptation is not passivity, however. It is concordance. It is because the sky is in the background that it is in fact supreme. So too with ourselves. If we know how to adapt, we end up being superior.


365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

Chinese characters for &quotscroll painting, Qing dynasty; "

Scroll painting,
Qing dynasty, 1644 — 1911
Ink and color on silk
length 675 cm, width 41.5 cm

This hand-scroll takes the viewer along the river affording a detailed look at the bridges and streets of a city in the 18th century, and the life of its inhabitants. The Lu River, which flows east of Beijing, was a busy route to the Bohai Bay.

National Museum of Chinese History, Beijing
T A O t e C H I N G
hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao
s e v e n
tao verse 7

Nature is complete because it does not serve itself.

The sage places herself after and finds herself before,
Ignores her desire and finds herself content.

She is complete because she does not serve herself.

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