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"He does not show off,
therefore he shines."

Tao Te Ching - Chapter 22

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.

The Taoist Classic by Lao Tzu
Translated and Explained


22

Hulk to be whole.

Bend to be straight.

Empty to be filled.

Wear down to be renewed.

Reduce to gain.

Excess confuses.


Therefore, the sage embraces the one,

And is an example to the world.

He does not show off, therefore he shines.

He does not justify himself, therefore he is revered.

He does not boast, therefore he is honored.

He does not praise himself, therefore he remains.

Because he opposes no one,

No one in the world can oppose him.


The ancients said:

Hulk to be whole.

Are these just empty words?

Indeed, he shall remain whole.



Humility Brings Honor

"Blessed are the meek," said Jesus, and continued: "for they will inherit the earth." That's also Lao Tzu's message in this chapter. Humility is praised, whereas its opposite meets with protests and contempt.

       It's not a question of envy. We can live with the success of others, even congratulate them wholeheartedly. But not if they brag. We accept that other people have power over our lives, but not if they are rude. We need to feel that privileged people are worthy of their privileges. At least, we don't want them to be unworthy. That upsets us.

       We expect life and civilization to have some kind of built-in justice. That may be naïve, stemming from the morals of fairy tales, myths, and legends. It's also the principle applied to just about every Hollywood movie. We would loathe a movie ending with the villain being victorious at the cost of our hero.

       Aristotle pointed it out in The Poetics, his text on the rules of drama. The audience can come to terms with the good and virtuous meeting a tragic end, but not with the bad and immoral achieving final success. It would upset and disgust us. Every playwright since before Aristotle's time has been aware of this, so a drama ending in conflict with this principle is mighty hard to find.

       We would really like life to be the same. So, whenever we have the chance, we act to make it so. We hurry to condemn people who don't behave nobly in their splendor, and we take any chance to strip them of their privileges. Even kings can fall, when confronted with this power of the people.

       The only thing they have to do in order for us to accept their good fortune is to be modest about it. Then we congratulate them.

       To Lao Tzu, this is more than a necessity to avoid provoking others. It's in accordance with nature and the principle of Tao. The universal world order of Tao is meek. It acts in a submissive way, but still it rules the universe. The world is run by yielding principles, so we must do the same in order to succeed with our intentions.

       We might not always be successful when walking this path, but we are sure to fail miserably if we choose the opposite direction. Neither mankind nor nature will comply.

© Stefan Stenudd.

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Tao Te Ching Explained


Preface


Introduction


Literature


The 81 Chapters of Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
translated and explained by Stefan Stenudd.
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Tao Te Ching Explained


James Legge's Tao Te Ching


Aleister Crowley's Tao Te Ching


The 1st Chapter of Tao Te Ching in 76 Versions


Lao Tzu - Legendary Author of Tao Te Ching





My Taoism Books:


Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Te Ching

The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Taoist philosophy classic by Lao Tzu translated, and each of the 81 chapters extensively commented. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.


Tao Quotes - the Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Quotes

The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. 389 quotes from the foremost Taoist classic, divided into 51 prominent topics. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.



My Other Websites:


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Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal.


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Other Books by Stefan Stenudd:


Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Cosmos of the Ancients

The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


QI - increase your life energy. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Qi - Increase Your Life Energy

The life energy qi (also chi or ki) explained, with exercises on how to awaken, increase and use it. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Aikido Principles. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Aikido Principles

Basic Concepts of the Peaceful Martial Art
Aikido principles, philosophy, and basic ideas. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. Sunday Brunch with the World Maker

Fiction. A brunch conversation slips into the mysterious, soon to burst beyond the realm of possibility. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction. Stefan Stenudd


About me

I'm a Swedish author and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written books about Taoism and other East Asian traditions. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. Click the image to get to my personal website.

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