Thursday

Tao Thought: Sage and Tao te Ching Verse 53


irisrise

53

Were I sufficiently wise
I would follow the Great Way
and only fear going astray

The Great Way is smooth
but people love byways

Their palaces are spotless
their fields are overgrown
and their granaries are empty

They wear fine clothes
they carry sharp swords
they tire of food and drink
and possess more than they need

This is called robbery
and robbery is not the Way

RED PINE


53

Because I have a little wisdom,
I choose to walk the great path of Tao
and fear nothing except to stray from it.

The great way is very smooth and easy,
but some people are fond of getting sidetracked.

When a ruler's palace is full of treasure,
the people's fields are weedy
and their granaries are empty.

If the ruler wears fancy clothes
and his house is full of weapons,
if his table is laden with extravagant food and drink
and everywhere one looks he has more wealth than he can use,
the ruler is a robber and thief.

This is not in keeping with Tao.

BRIAN BROWNE-WALKER

53

The great Way is easy,
yet people prefer the side paths.
Be aware when things are out of balance.
Stay centered within the Tao.

When rich speculators prosper
While farmers lose their land;
when government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
while the poor have nowhere to turn-
all this is robbery and chaos.
It is not in keeping with the Tao.

STEPHEN MITCHELL

--
Ancient sages lived in forests and
Wandered from village to village.
Sharing openly, teaching the people
Without profit or ownership.

There were more holy aspirants in ancient times. These men and women cultivated themselves in the mountains or wandered among forests and streams. When they came to a village and saw that there was some knowledge that could be imparted to the people, they did so openly. Once they taught what was necessary, they disappeared, knowing that others would follow behind them. They did not establish religious schools, temples, or philosophies bearing their names. They knew knowledge did not belong to anyone. It could not be owned, parceled out for profit, or withheld selfishly.

Nowadays, many people regard knowledge as a mere commodity to be packaged, marketed, and sold. Their interest is not in benefit for others' souls but for their own pocketbooks. For example, one contemporary master requires a thousand ounces of gold before he will teach a single technique. We live in a world where the selfless sharing of knowledge is no longer a virtue.

The more knowledge that you give away, the more will come to you. The more you hoard, the less you will accumulate. Be compassionate to others. What do you have to fear by being open?

sage
365 Tao
Daily Meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

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