Taoistic
TAOISM EXPLAINED

TAOISM

TAO TE CHING

TAO QUOTES

FAKE QUOTES

TAOISTS

CHUANG TZU

TAO THEMES

TAO/DAO



"The more he does for others, the more he has."

Tao Te Ching - Chapter 81

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.

The Taoist Classic by Lao Tzu
Translated and Explained


81

True words are not pleasing.

Pleasing words are not true.

Those who are right do not argue.

Those who argue are not right.

Those who know are not learned.

Those who are learned do not know.


The sage does not hoard.

The more he does for others,

The more he has.

The more he thereby gives to others,

The ever more he gets.


Heaven's Way

Is to benefit and not to harm.

The sage's Way

Is to act and not to contend.



The Ideal

The final chapter of the Tao Te Ching sums up the most important aspects of living up to the ideal of Tao, the Way, and what signifies the sage who follows it. The similarities to the Christian ideals, as expressed in the words of Jesus, are obvious. This whole chapter could be summarized: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

       This proximity to Christian ethics would raise hesitation, since we have the tendency to interpret foreign cultures and thoughts according to our own beliefs. Could we be reading things into Lao Tzu that come from our own minds and not his?

       But this golden rule is far from unique to Christianity. It can be found in numerous other traditions and philosophies. It's not unlikely for Lao Tzu to share it. Also, the Tao Te Ching contains many similar thoughts, as well as several arguments that lead to the same conclusion.

       The unselfish ideal is universal. Lao Tzu clearly supports it, too.

       One should not spend life gathering riches and privileges that others lack, although they might need them more. One should try to do good without forcing it upon people, and without needing to take credit for it. We should all try to help and care for one another. It's as simple as that.

       If we could, we would swiftly reach Heaven on Earth.


Words, Words, Words

Also in his warnings against false speech and preaching, Lao Tzu expresses thoughts very close to those of Jesus and other thinkers through time. The truth is not always pleasant to hear. Those, whose words are always pleasing, probably avoid words that would upset us, whether they are true or not.

       There's a lot of that going on, nowadays. Flattery, hypocrisy, and empty promises are poured over us constantly. The truth is said to be relative, which is taken as an excuse for bending it to one's liking and advantage.

       It's also far too common for people in positions of responsibility to hide their failures and shortcomings by not telling us what they know. And in our everyday life we claim to be kind, by serving each other numerous white lies and flattery, but rarely sincerity.

       This use of words has gone on so long and so much, that we are ourselves confused about whether or not what we say is true. We lie so much that we get lost in it, and we say so much that we can't keep track of it. As Hamlet says: "Words, words, words." We need to halt the flow and examine its content, before continuing.

       Arguments can be constructive when those involved use them to investigate their thoughts, striving for conclusions that all can agree upon. But there are lots of arguments where that process doesn't take place, and they are usually the most heated ones, going on the longest. Sadly, they are also usually about the most important topics.

       We listen the least when we talk the loudest. Many arguments are not exchanges of views, but repeated statements of the refusal to discuss.

       Those who are right and know it, don't feel protective about it. Mistakes and lies are short-lived, but the truth will most certainly prevail without battle. It's what remains when lies have been revealed and mistakes have been corrected.

       Truth wins without a fight, so there's no need to start one over it. The only thing needed is some patience. If we impatiently insist on the truth, we will be less convincing and it will just take longer for the truth to win.

       When truth is fought for, it seems to be untrue. Why else fight for it? Countless times, we have experienced how lies and deceptions were forced on us, so we have good reason to suspect whatever is aggressively propagated.

       The sage just lowers his voice and waits for sincere questions. They will come.



Wisdom, Not Learning

There is much good to say about learning, but it doesn't necessarily bring wisdom. Knowing the facts is not the same as understanding what they represent or prove. Good learning is gathered in order to have substantial material for reaching conclusions. But learning without concluding is as meaningless as amassing riches that one cannot ever spend in a lifetime. It's excessive baggage.

       Our time is one of rapidly growing knowledge. The total of human knowledge is said to be doubled every few years. But most of this knowledge is in need of processing. It has yet to be used for conclusions. We number things and name them, but that's not to understand them. We're just expanding our catalogs.

       Sadly, this rapidly increased knowledge and the widening gap to our understanding of it, leave most people in bewilderment. Not only is there more and more we have no chance of getting to know, but we also gasp at all we need to learn in order to introduce ourselves to any specific subject. Reaching knowledge about even the smallest thing seems like a gargantuan feat.

       So, the more human knowledge is gathered, the less we know and the farther we get from understanding. There is less and less that we dare to believe we comprehend, without being experts on it.

       That way, our society is quickly moving towards a world ruled by experts, as if there are always facts demanding this or that solution, and neither priorities nor ideals have anything to do with it. As if society is merely a machine and we are its fuel.

       But facts are often inconclusive and experts are rarely infallible. Any social situation is so complex that several options are present. When we make our choices, we need to consider what future we want to reach.

       We cannot surrender our responsibilities to facts that are yet uncertain or ambiguous. Nor can we allow those who claim to be the most learned to make all our choices for us. That ends in a world nobody wanted.

       Knowledge without true understanding is blind. If we follow the blind we are sure to leave the Way.

       Tao, the Way, is to benefit and not to harm. Therefore we know that what doesn't benefit us is not according to Tao, and it will probably harm us. A simple rule. When we are considering what path to follow and how to act, we can simply choose what's the most beneficial and the least harmful.

       All through our history, we have far too many examples of this simple rule being neglected, and the costly results thereof.

       It's not easy to follow Tao, the Way, but the result is certainly worth the effort.

© Stefan Stenudd.

FIRST



Tao Te Ching Explained


Preface


Introduction


Literature


The 81 Chapters of Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
translated and explained by Stefan Stenudd.
  1  
  2  
  3  
  4  
  5  
  6  
  7  
  8  
  9  
  10  
  11  
  12  
  13  
  14  
  15  
  16  
  17  
  18  
  19  
  20  
  21  
  22  
  23  
  24  
  25  
  26  
  27  
  28  
  29  
  30  
  31  
  32  
  33  
  34  
  35  
  36  
  37  
  38  
  39  
  40  
  41  
  42  
  43  
  44  
  45  
  46  
  47  
  48  
  49  
  50  
  51  
  52  
  53  
  54  
  55  
  56  
  57  
  58  
  59  
  60  
  61  
  62  
  63  
  64  
  65  
  66  
  67  
  68  
  69  
  70  
  71  
  72  
  73  
  74  
  75  
  76  
  77  
  78  
  79  
  80  
  81  



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:


I Ching Online

The 64 hexagrams of the Chinese classic I Ching and what they mean in divination. Try it online for free.


Qi Energy Exercises

The ancient Chinese life energy qi (chi) explained, with simple instructions on how to exercise it.


Life Energy

The many ancient and modern life force beliefs all over the world explained.


Creation Myths

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


Taoismen på svenska


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.

Contact