dao reciprocity

Chinese characters for "reciprocity"

women design of browns and beige, lovely pattern

Hands grasp, but also give.
Mouth tastes,but also speaks.
Nose breathes, but also smells.
Eyes see, but also show.
Ears hear, but also balance.

The hands teach us not to be selfish.
The mouth teaches us to give thanks in word and song.
The nose teaches us to learn from our environment.
The eyes teach us to show compassion and sincerity.
The ears teach us to keep our balance.

All parts of ourselves both give and receive. They function on a principle of reciprocity inherent in their very character. If our senses are so noble, shouldn’t we be as well?

The eyes of a dedicated person show an inner fortitude and charisma that the eyes of the ordinary do not. Scientifically, we know that an eye is an eye, a mere organ, yet experientially we know that the eyes are virtual windows to the soul. For us to achieve similar depth of character, we must live according to the inherent nobility of our natures. Each one of our senses is not simply an information-gathering faculty but is a channel of expression as well.


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

"Godhna Design" by Indra Kala Nidhi
this is our last day with the women's art project in India
so I share this portrait and know we will find them again
with new and more beautiful paintings!
women of the art project

T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao

S E V E N T Y - F I V E

Chinese characters for "daodejing verse seventy-five"

Why are the people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.

Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.

Why do the people think so little of death?
Because the rulers demand too much of life.
Therefore the people take death lightly.

Having little to live on, one knows better
than to value life too much.
— translation by GIA-FU FENG

When taxes are too high,
people go hungry.
When the government is too intrusive,
people lose their spirit.

Act for the people's benefit.
Trust them; leave them alone.
— translation by STEVEN MITCHELL

When rulers take grain so that they may feast,
Their people become hungry;
When rulers take action to serve their own interests,
Their people become rebellious;
When rulers take lives so that their own lives are maintained,
Their people no longer fear death.
When people act without regard for their own lives
They overcome those who value only their own lives.

— translation by P. MEREL

a reading list of books and interpretations of the Daodejing is available at

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