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"People who are not good,
why abandon them?"

Tao Te Ching - Chapter 62

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.

The Taoist Classic by Lao Tzu
Translated and Explained


62

The Way is the source of all things,

Good people's treasure and bad people's refuge.


Fine words are traded.

Noble deeds gain respect.

But people who are not good,

Why abandon them?


So, when the emperor is crowned

Or the three dukes are appointed,

Rather than sending a gift of jade

Carried by four horses,

Remain still and offer the Way.


Why did the ancients praise the Way?

Did they not say it was because you find what you seek

And are saved from your wrongdoings?

That is why the world praises it.



The Greatest Gift

This chapter is partly rather confusing. The division of people into good and bad is not as convincingly Taoist as, say, comparing their distance to Tao, the Way. But they might refer to the same thing.

       Lao Tzu is clear about those close to Tao being good, so maybe those far away from it can be called bad. Still, it would be more accurate to call them lost, like someone leaving the road and getting too deep into the forest.

       There's also an interesting difference in what Tao is to the good and the bad: a treasure to the former and a refuge to the latter. It indicates that the good are able to use their understanding of Tao, whereas the others depend on it for their well-being. One is active, the other passive.

       This is repeated later in the chapter, where it says that Tao saves you from wrongdoings.

       It's a message of forgiveness. Tao is like a mother also to those who have turned away from it. None is abandoned. Those who speak fine words and do noble deeds get their rewards, so they should do fine. But it would be cruel to abandon those who are unable of the same, those who don't shine.


Caring For All

Therefore, the first thing that the emperor should receive when crowned is the understanding of Tao and the compassion it promotes.

       So should the three dukes, san-kung. This important trio of ancient China consisted of the Grand Preceptor, the Grand Mentor, and the Grand Guardian. In later versions of the Tao Te Ching they were changed to the three ministers, san-ch'ing, those of education, war, and work, because they became more important in the government of China.

       Rulers on all levels must understand that society can only improve if all its inhabitants are guided. If just the ones who already behave decently are cared for, the others will soon cause tremendous problems. When they are deserted and damned, the only thing remaining for them is to revolt.

       Caring for the bad as well as the good is not only the compassionate thing to do. It's also the most practical.

© 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.



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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.


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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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