Happy Easter (for those of you who celebrate it) and all the best wishes to all of you. Being so busy lately, was looking for a short text to read and came across Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. What can be better than some nice short texts that can make you question things and find yourself nodding while reading some passages. The text is dated in 6th Century BC and is full of philosophical themes. I had no idea it was so old, even though at times it seemed a bit out of context. As strange as it might seem some ideas seemed so accurate and so actual that I came to the conclusion time is moving in circle and we are reliving same stories and history over and over again. It’s like we really have to learn the lesson and are struggling for more than 2 millenniums to do that.
The style of Tao Te Ching is poetic, with 81 chapters- poems and each little poem has a different theme with limitless interpretation. The poems that spoke about humanity, wisdom and political advice seemed more accurate for our times. I can’t help but type down some of the most appealing passages:
“We have fear because we worry about our physical self.
If one’s body doesn’t exist how can one have fear?”
“All men have in themselves the negativity coming from Ying and positivity coming from Yang. By uniting them everything reaches harmony.”
“Peace and calmness is the way to guide the world.”
“Ruling a great nation is like frying small fish.
When they are over stirred, they will break into pieces.”
“Let the people return to the ancient simple life where knotting ropes were used to record every event.
People would then enjoy the simple food, simple clothing and be contented with a simple life.
And they should live happily with the traditional customs.”- I totally agree with this one. On second thought I wonder how they lived in the 6th century BC, as the Great Master had these ideas. Either they were as us today or Lao Tzu was a visionary.
“There, when Tao (the Way) is lost, there is Te (Virtue)
When Te is lost, there is humanity
When humanity is lost, there is etiquette
Etiquette becomes prevalent when people fail to be sincere and honest.
Hence, chaos begins.”
“The truth is not always beautiful,
nor beautiful words the truth.”
“THE REPRESSION OF DESIRES
Through sight, the colours may be seen,
but too much colour blinds us.
Apprehending the tones of sound,
too much sound might make us deaf,
and too much flavour deadens taste.
When hunting for sport, and chasing for pleasure,
the mind easily becomes perplexed.
He who collects treasures for himself
more easily becomes anxious.
The wise person fulfills his needs,
rather than sensory temptations.”
A text that at times will seem so actual and real like it was written yesterday, while at times may seem so distant and so unreal like it was written at the beginning of times. I recommend it first because it’s so ancient and second because it has great teachings.