Chinese for "longevity"

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Contemplate in the morning.

Pull weeds in the afternoon.
The joys and labor of a single day
Are part of a whole journey.

If all you want is spiritual realization, it its’t that difficult. For the average person, a dozen years under the guidance of a good teacher will probably give it to you. That’s shorter than what it takes to be a good musician, athlete, or artist. It’s even shorter than the time it will take you to collect your pension. If you have the good fortune to study with the right person, you can succeed in a relatively short amount of time.

But after you get it, then what? Many of us place such an emphasis on attaining realization that we may forget to put it in context. What actually matters is to walk Tao, maintaining vitality until we meet our end in a timely way. Spiritual realization is essential, but it is not everything.

A starving person dwells inordinately on the thought of food. Likewise, as spiritually hungry person can only think of realization. One who has food can place it in the right context, just as one who has understanding can place it in the correct perspective. Followers of Tao therefore do not emphasize enlightenment as an ultimate goal. For them, realization is a means, not an end. Their emphasis is on the act of living. They use the word longevity, not because they want to live forever, but because it symbolized their determination to live the entire course of their lives well.

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

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T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao

S I X T Y - T W O

Chinese characters for "daodejing verse sixty-two"

Tao is source of the ten thousand things.
It is the treasure of the good man, and the refuge of the bad.
Sweet words can buy honor;
Good deeds can gain respect.
If a man is bad, do not abandon him.
Therefore on the day the emperor is crowned,
Or the three officers of state installed,
Do not send a gift of jade and a team of four horses,
But remain still and offer the Tao.

Why does everyone like the Tao so much at first?
Isn't it because you find what you seek
and are forgiven when you sin?
Therefore this is the greatest treasure of the universe.
— translation by GIA-FU FENG

The Tao is the center of the universe,
the good man's treasure,
the bad man's refuge.

Honors can be bought with fine words,
respect can be won with good deeds;
but the Tao is beyond all value,
and no one can achieve it.

Thus, when a new leader is chosen,
don't offer to help him
with your wealth or your expertise.
Offer instead
to teach him about the Tao.

Why did the ancient Masters esteem the Tao?
Because, being one with the Tao,
when you seek, you find;
and when you make a mistake, you are forgiven.
That is why everybody loves it.
— translation by STEVEN MITCHELL

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

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