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"To have enough of enough is always enough."

Tao Te Ching - Chapter 46

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.

The Taoist Classic by Lao Tzu
Translated and Explained


46

When the Way governs the world,

The proud stallions drag dung carriages.

When the Way is lost to the world,

War horses are bred outside the city.


There is no greater crime than desire.

There is no greater disaster than discontent.

There is no greater misfortune than greed.


Therefore:

To have enough of enough is always enough.



Enough Is Enough

We learned in the previous chapter that peace should govern the world. That's what Tao, the Way, leads to when followed. When we deviate from the Way, war is imminent. By preparing for it, we guarantee that it will arrive. It would be nice with a world where war is not expected.

       The following lines may well be regarded as a separate chapter. Their connection to the previous ones is indirect, to say the least. Not completely so, since war is often caused by desire, discontent, and greed. But war is not all they cause, although that must be the worst.

       Desire may not be a crime in itself, but it often leads to one. Not only the crime of passion, which is more common than we ever care to admit. What we lust for is so difficult to resist that we allow ourselves criminal acts to get it, when our longing exceeds our restrain.

       Discontent and greed are really expressions of desire. We are discontent when we don't have what we desire, and greed is the untamed eagerness to get what we desire, in abundance. Both of them easily lead to disaster as well as misfortune – even when we succeed to fulfill them. Especially when we fulfill them.

       Turning discontent into its opposite is likely to involve actions that are harmful to others, and therefore at length to ourselves. But mainly, once we are filled with discontent, what could possibly cure it? It's most likely to linger on, whatever benefits we manage to gain. That beast, when awakened, is very difficult to put to sleep again.

       To satisfy greed is a major feat that takes more than just one lifetime. Greed has no upper limit. When we are victims of it, the more we get the more we want. It's like a demon. Once it has appeared, there is no way of getting rid of it. Every offering to greed just makes it grow stronger. There is no fortune in the world large enough to bribe it off. So, even if the greedy one amasses a fortune, it will lead to nothing but misfortune.

       Lao Tzu ends the chapter with a statement that we recognize: enough is enough is enough. You have to know what you really need, and decide that any more is unimportant, insignificant in spite of its splendor.

       The Greek myth about King Midas says the same. His foremost wish was granted, when everything he touched turned into gold. Soon he discovered that this was true for food and drink as well. What is valuable is also very costly.

© 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.

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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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