dao confidence


Chinese for "confidence"

abstract peacocks face each other, patterns triangle

Truth perceived gives assurance.
Skill yields self-reliance.
With courage, we can defy danger.
To increase power, increase humility.

Through constant contemplation, we can arrive at the truth. The more experienced we are, the more thorough our understanding, and thus the more we can come to rely on our knowledge. When we exercise what we know, it not only extends our understanding of the truth but helps us take action in meaningful ways. The more we do, the more self-reliant we are.

Every achievement brings a wonderful dividend of confidence. We try greater and greater ventures, until we are brave enough to accomplish undertakings far beyond what the average person imagines. When we reach that level of consummate skill, it is a time of both celebration and extreme caution. We are justified to rejoice, for this is the level of ability that we have been striving so long and hard to attain. It is also the time for caution because the foolish will eventually try something too great for them to handle. Pride and passion will lead to their downfall.

Therefore, the more accomplished one becomes, the more circumspect one should be. The higher one’s skills, the more precarious one’s road. The most powerful followers of Tao are also among the most humble. By veiling their light until the proper moments, they escape the greatest danger of all: hubris.

365 Tao
Daily Meditations
Deng Ming-Dao
ISBN 0-06-250223-9
Galo Mandal The Artist:
Galo Mandel

I don't know my age, but I can check it at home on my citizenship card. 35 maybe?

At the time of my first marriage I was five. My husband's father came to my village and saw me playing, and my father and he made an agreement.

When I was ten I moved to my husband's house and slept with his mother. I was scared of my husband, and didn't speak to him or serve him food. Meanwhile my mother-in-law taught me how to cook rice and to clean.

Two or three years later my mother-in-law told me it was time to sleep with my husband. I bore a son at fourteen but I wasn't happy - my in-laws and my husband always beat me. So I went back to my parents. That's how it was for several years, I went back and forth, never staying longer than two months with my husband because I couldn't stand it.

Then I stayed with my parents for about three years and people told me I should remarry. I remarried and worked cutting grass, planting rice, and doing other kinds of work for people with land until I started working at the center. Now my son has come back to me, and he says if I can build a house in my parent's village we can all live together.

During the Festival of Light I would see other people's paintings on the walls of houses but I always made my own designs. In my parents' house I made peacocks smoking a hookah, pregnant elephants, tigers, and people. Now I make all sorts of paintings but you can tell which are my paintings for several reasons. I like to use bold colors. My animals have faces like people's, and they are often smiling. I show people from the side and usually their arms are out in front of them since they are busy doing something.

Most especially, I like to do paintings which make people laugh and which may have a little mischief in them. My favorite painting is of Krishna and the gopis (the cow herding maidens). He'd stolen the saris of the gopis while they were bathing in the pond and then he hung them in the tree. When they came out they had to cover themselves with their hands like this and then they pleaded with him to give them their clothes so they could go home. But Krishna just sat in the tree laughing, playing his flute and saying, "I haven't taken your clothes, they're hanging on the tree and you can get them yourselves." I like Krishna because he knows how to make fun and be mischievous.

T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao

S I X T Y - F I V E

Chinese characters for "daodejing verse sixty-five"

In the beginning those who knew the Tao
did not try to enlighten others,
But kept it hidden.
Why is it so hard to rule?
Because people are so clever.
Rulers who try to use cleverness
Cheat the country.
Those who rule without cleverness
Are a blessing to the land.
These are the two alternatives.
Understanding these is Primal Virtue.
Primal Virtue is deep and far.
It leads all things back
Toward the great oneness.

— translation by GIA-FU FENG

The ancient Masters
didn't try to educate the people,
but kindly taught them to not-know.

When they think that they know the answers,
people are difficult to guide.
When they know that they don't know,
people can find their own way.

If you want to learn how to govern,
avoid being clever or rich.
The simplest pattern is the clearest.
Content with an ordinary life,
you can show all people the way
back to their own true nature.

— translation by STEVEN MITCHELL
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