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Fake Lao Tzu Quote

"Do you imagine the universe is agitated..."

Fake Lao Tzu quote: Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question.

This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:


"Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question."






It is a safe bet that the stars don't care what we do or think. But in ancient times the heavenly objects and their movements were regarded as very much connected to earthly life. Out of that rose astrology. Also, heaven was regarded as the domain of deities, who kept a close watch on human behavior - and it frequently got them agitated.

       The overall perspective in the distant past was geocentric, placing earth in the middle of it all. And people knew by storms, eclipses, comets, and other heavenly phenomena, that the sky was full of dramatic events, which were mysterious and therefore all the more threatening. The indifference of the universe with its billions of stars is a recent concept, introduced by the advances of astronomy.


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       Lao Tzu spoke repeatedly about heaven in Tao Te Ching, often describing its workings as T'ien Tao, Heaven's Way. And Heaven's Way was not limited to events in the sky, but could be experienced everywhere on earth as well. Chapter 47 states (my version):


Without looking through the window,
You can see Heaven's Way.


       So, to Lao Tzu there would be no point in walking into the desert to look at the stars.

       Mostly, he paired Heaven and Earth as sort of the framework of everything in the world. In chapter 25 he presented a hierarchy of sorts:


Man is ruled by Earth.
Earth is ruled by Heaven.
Heaven is ruled by the Way.
The Way is ruled by itself.


       To him, as to most ancient thinkers in China and elsewhere, it was all connected.

       The quote examined here must be of modern making, and it is: Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu from 1992, interpreted by Brian Browne Walker (chapter 5, page 7). Hua Hu Ching is a text falsely claimed to be by Lao Tzu, and Walker's version of it is a very free rendering of an also very free rendering by Hua-Ching Ni from 1979.

       After the words of the quote, Walker continued the chapter:


The superior person settles her mind as the universe settles the stars in the sky. By connecting her mind with the subtle origin, she calms it. Once calmed, it naturally expands, and ultimately her mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky.


       Ni's corresponding part of chapter 5 reads:


The mind can be just as immeasurable as the universe itself. An integral being settles his mind just as the vast universe settles itself. He unites his mind with the unnameable Subtle Origin and its expression as the multiuniverse in which there is no past, present or future. This is how an integral being deals with his mind.


       None is even remotely similar to anything in Tao Te Ching.

       For more on Hua Hu Ching, see my chapter Embrace all things.

Stefan Stenudd
September 13, 2020.



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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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Fake Lao Tzu Quotes - Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Fake Lao Tzu Quotes

Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. 90 of the most spread false Lao Tzu quotes, why they are false and where they are really from. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.



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