dao carefree

Chinese characters for "carefree"

winter haze, pink and lavender, small lake, two ducks

Two ducks nestled in lake-side grass.
Both marked by the same brilliant purple at
the wing.
Water provides food, bath, and play.
What need do they have for scholarship?

Animals need no schooling. They are perfect, without any need for long instruction. They know what to do by instinct and example. Tao is always there for them. It sustains them and nurtures them. There is no need for them to be specially aware of Tao or to study it: They have no rational consciousness to separate them from Tao.

It is only humanity that constantly divorces itself from Tao. We therefore need methods of reintegration If we could go beyond the interfering sense of the self, then we would know Tao in as constant and carefree a manner as ducks.

“Forget learning,” say those who follow Tao, but what they don’t append is that you must first have learning before you can forget it. If you would be unencumbered by the weight of knowledge, then you must return to a state of deep intuitiveness. This is not the same as mere selfish behavior—just doing what you feel like doing—because your actions are likely to be dictated more by lists, obsessions, compulsions, and habits than anything natural. Only through the clarification of spiritual training will you reach the ground of deep intuition and the freedom that it affords.


365 Tao
Daily Meditations
Deng Ming-Dao
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao

S E V E N T Y - E I G H T

Chinese characters for "daodejing verse seventy-eight"

Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people
is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country's disasters
deserves to be king of the universe.
The truth often sounds paradoxical.
— translation by GIA-FU FENG

Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people's greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

— translation by STEVEN MITCHELL

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