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.

There is nothing to hold, nothing to see, nothing to hear.

All that is returns to what isn’t. All that isn’t merges into what is.

People who know this are subtle, mysterious, unfathomable.

They make what is troubled become still, what is still become quick.

To be still in the nameless mystery is to return. To return is to be open-hearted to what endures.

One who follows the Tao is almost invisible to others while leading them. One who follows on some days but not others is often loved. One who does not follow the Tao is feared. One who fully resists and tries to control others is despised.

Giving trust is getting trust. Not trusting anyone is to have no one trust you.

People will see themselves as solving their own problems when you lead them correctly.

It’s silly to pretend to be holy or important to anyone. Simply cut wood, sleep, shit, eat food.

Need little, want less.

If you give yourself up to the Tao, you will be there. If you give yourself up to power and greed and craving, you will be there.

Those who are not good help the good to be good. Knowing light is to know darkness.

To do something to the world, to impose upon its sacredness, is to destroy it.

To impose upon others—through violence and control—is to become lost.

These ways lead to grief.

To master yourself rather than mastering others takes excellence. Whereas other people may control each other through strength and intelligence, you will come to know yourself through wisdom of the Way. You will simply live and then die. When you finally die, that will be the right time of your death. You will not lay claim to anything and will not lose anything either. What grows will shrink and what shrinks will grow.

Everything looks after itself.

There is nothing to do, but people so often cling to trying, to becoming someone, rather than being.

They live through their opinions, views. They look to be defined and to define.

You don’t need these things. You only are, which comes from nothing and returns to it.

The more you seek to understand, the less you know.

Everything is done without doing, seeing clearly without knowing.

You are good to bad people, you are good to good people.

Your way is low, plain. Most people seek short-cuts to heaven.

Lie low to be on top. Treat the small as large. All great things begin with the small.

As a seed sprouts into a tree, a tree that is tended will grow. While a strong tree will crack and fall down in a storm, a pliable tree will bend in the wind. Weak overcomes strong, soft overcomes hard.

To be rich, give. To do, do not do. To be, don’t be.

To be everything, be nothing. That is the Way.

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