dao tree

Chinese character for TREE

red hues mark sunset on mountain

Did you measure to attain your height?
Did you use geometry to radiate your limbs?
Did you lament storm-torn branches?
Did you inventory your leaves for the sun?
You did none of these things,
yet man in
his cleverness
Cannot match your perfection.

When will we give up the artificiality of our tiresome lives and cleave instead to what is natural? All the achievements of man are only monuments to overwhelming pride. There has not been a single man-made item that has been a necessary improvement to the earth. Did we need the Great Wall of China? Did we need the pyramids of Egypt? Did we need the Colossus of Rhodes? Did we need mechanization, steam power, electricity, nuclear power, or computer technology? All our achievements have been for the sake of our exclusive comfort and gratification. We have only advanced the mad tangle of supply and demand that we call civilization.

We don't need all this “sophistication” in order to live with Tao. Our involvement in society blinds us to this fact. We ignore the natural order of our own bodies and minds and close ourselves to the point so that only sex and drugs are stimulating enough. We lament that we are lost and alienated. Ironically, the answers are right nearby. If you just go to the nearest tree and contemplate, you will easily see the secret to natural living.

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

Russet on the mountain.
Xu Jian Ming
Xu Jian Ming
a reading list of books and interpretations of the Daodejing is available at

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