Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way (review)


Your teacher will be there when you are ready to accept the teaching.

When you are truly ready, there will be no teacher.

As you open yourself to what is, you will leave behind yourself.

The more you try to be someone, the more the opposite reveals itself.

Rather than lecture on how to be or not be, be and not be.

Without any expectation of praise or reward, without seeking to become, you already are.

There is no need to show off. There is no need to pretend to be favorable or powerful or important.

The Tao shines on what is pleasant and unpleasant, on what is good and bad. These are not separate things.

You are not special, nor is anyone else. No one is better than the nature which nourishes them. Those who are superior are not superior. Those who are truly special are ordinary. Do you understand? Can you learn to be quiet and receptive, without the need to do, without any expectation, without desires for success and rewards?

True self-interest is selflessness. Water runs down rocks, stilling in a pond.

One who studies the Tao doesn’t complain, but acts for the benefit of others. There is no self there.

Speaking simply, honestly, one does not push, but guides others to find themselves.

It doesn’t matter who gets credit or not—as long as there is harmony among people.

Reflect in quiet awareness, adaptable, not trying too hard or too little.

Dependence on a good reputation or success will only make you cling harder to those things.

Trying to appear intelligent is not enlightened, trying to appear spiritual is not holy.

Be rooted. Do not rely on gimmicks or tricks, but see clearly with stability.

You must be decisive when it is necessary, but not reckless. Just as you do, you also are being.

Eventually, to empty yourself of notions of doing and being, walk alone in silence. Sit in silence.

Be in nature to return with stability to the group. Once in the group, lead without forcing. To force is to create division, to overly-manage others is to split the group into hostile members. Do as little as you can with the utmost effectiveness. Do not try to attack or defend your ego from criticism. Look to be centered and not emotionally attached. The more you cling to what should be done, inflexible with how things ought to be, the more resentment arises in you and others. Your victories will become failures.

All things contain their opposites. Learn to see these things as they arise and fall naturally. Then follow what is natural, what underlies everything, from gravity and space-time to your own inner-processes. Separateness is an illusion. Power comes through your cooperation, your service helps you to find yourself, and to find yourself is to lose yourself.

To live wisely is to live according to nature. Consistently being with it, never resisting.

Never wanting, you see everything as it is, unnamed. Wanting, you see only what you want.

High and low, tall and short, up and down, before and after, depend on each other.

You don’t need to say that you know. You only need to do without doing, teach without teaching, speak without speaking. By letting go, you maintain. By not praising or criticizing, you’re noncompetitive. By not desiring, you have all that you desire.

With a pond that’s deep and still and clear, a world changes on its reflective surface.

What is most useful about a clay pot is the emptiness within it. Do you see?

When there is benefit in what is, it is because of what isn’t.