The Tao (Goddard)

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12

AVOIDING DESIRE

An excess of light blinds the human eye; an excess of noise ruins the ear; an excess of condiments deadens the taste. The effect of too much horse racing and hunting is bad, and the lure of hidden treasure tempts one to do evil.

Therefore the wise man attends to the inner significance of things and does not concern himself with outward appearances. Therefore he ignores matter and seeks the spirit.

13

LOATHING SHAME

Favor and disgrace are alike to be feared, just as too great care or anxiety are bad for the body.

Why are favor and disgrace alike to be feared? To be favored is humiliating; to obtain it is as much to be dreaded as to lose it. To lose favor is to be in disgrace and of course is to be dreaded.

Why are excessive care and great anxiety alike bad for one? The very reason I have anxiety is because I have a body. If I have not body why would I be anxious?

Therefore if he who administers the empire, esteems it as his own body, then he is worthy to be trusted with the empire.

14

IN PRAISE OF THE PROFOUND

It is unseen because it is colorless; it is unheard because it is soundless; when seeking to grasp it, it eludes one, because it is incorporeal.

Because of these qualities it cannot be examined, and yet they form an essential unity. Superficially it appears abstruse, but in its depths it is not obscure. It has been nameless forever! It appears and then disappears. It is what is known as the form of the formless, the image of the imageless. It is called the transcendental, its face (or destiny) cannot be seen in front, or its back (or origin) behind.

But by holding fast to the Tao of the ancients, the wise man may understand the present, because he knows the origin of the past. This is the clue to the Tao.

15

THAT WHICH REVEALS TEH

In olden times the ones who were considered worthy to be called masters were subtle, spiritual, profound, wise. Their thoughts could not be easily understood.

Since they were hard to understand I will try to make them clear. They were cautious like men wading a river in winter. They were reluctant like men who feared their neighbors. They were reserved like guests in the presence of their host. They were elusive like ice at the point of melting. They were like unseasoned wood. They were like a valley between high mountains. They were obscure like troubled waters. (They were cautious because they were conscious of the deeper meanings of life and its possibilities.)

We can clarify troubled waters by slowly quieting them. We can bring the unconscious to life by slowly moving them. But he who has the secret of the Tao does not desire for more. Being content, he is able to mature without desire to be newly fashioned.

16

RETURNING TO THE SOURCE

Seek to attain an open mind (the summit of vacuity). Seek composure (the essence of tranquillity).

All things are in process, rising and returning. Plants come to blossom, but only to return to the root. Returning to the root is like seeking tranquillity; it is moving towards its destiny. To move toward destiny is like eternity. To know eternity is enlightenment, and not to recognize eternity brings disorder and evil.

Knowing eternity makes one comprehensive; comprehension makes one broadminded; breadth of vision brings nobility; nobility is like heaven.

The heavenly is like Tao. Tao is the Eternal. The decay of the body is not to be feared.

17

SIMPLICITY OF HABIT

When great men rule, subjects know little of their existence. Rulers who are less great win the affection and praise of their subjects. A common ruler is feared by his subjects, and an unworthy ruler is despised.

When a ruler lacks faith, you may seek in vain for it among his subjects.

How carefully a wise ruler chooses his words. He performs deeds, and accumulates merit! Under such a ruler the people think they are ruling themselves.

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