Saturday, January 29, 2011

No, No, No

(3) If a person constantly hears “no, no, no”
will it will impel her to good action,
will it will inspire her to esteem virtue,
will it will enable her see what is true?
Instead, those things that are empty and weak inspire virtue.

It is hard for the people to become wise,
for they know they should not force things,
and this limits the power that desire has over
a person’s heart, mind, and will.

One who can inspire the people to simply be
will strengthen their hold on what is real,
and will add to their wisdom,
so that their true wealth can never be stolen from them.

Their government might be in chaos
but it will not move them to compete.
The desire of their bellies and their bones
will not compel their actions.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Heaven and Earth Is All There Is

(2) Heaven and earth is all that is.
Because of this it is difficult to talk about “high” things
for very long, or to keep them ever before you.
You must act to produce the 10,000 things.
You must act to produce merit.

If you know “low” things, then you know what is real.
Keep your speech brief and humble and restrained.
Not grasping after “things” you will only excel.

All ideas of “goodness” are really bad.
But this is not true of emptiness.
The word of the sage arises to say, “not this, not this, not this.”

You know already that something is good
when it accomplishes, contrasts, supports, and follows.
Peoples’ possessions are dependent upon their impermanence.

Those who are beautiful already have their reward.
They are not grounded in my teaching.
Therefore they do not act.

Those who are blinded by beauty
cannot hear my words.
They can find no escape.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Being and Non-Being

(1) The Tao can be called
both “being” and “non-being.”
Because of this it endures.
It is the same mystery, yet it takes many forms.

One person may call it “constant being”
yet will also call it subtle.
This describes both heaven and the ten thousand things.

One who calls it “non-being”
does not see it as a thing of this world
but a dark and profound mystery.

This is the beginning of truth.
Contemplate it and you will know what is eternal.
The source of the Tao is called “mother.”
Behold where it leads:
to a strange and wonderful understanding.