Tao Te King
Ray Larose, ~ 2000
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Following is a translation of the Dao De Jing as seen by Siji Tzu. The original work was aimed at the people and those wishing to lead the people. This translation of the original Chinese texts brings the philosophies of Lao Tzu into a fresh light. It has been broken up into two sections for you to follow. The Dao Jing and the De Jing. This is the only place that currently holds this wonderful translation.
The setting is in the Valley of the Mountains in Siji Tzu's village on a warm spring morning. Gathered are a group of students sitting on the rivers edge. The sun is rising over a mountain behind Siji Tzu. The grass they sit on is a deep green. The river and sky are of deep blues.
From memory, Siji Tzu recites his interpretation of the Dao De Jing in words he feels will relay its true meaning to his students. Though the thoughts are of the great master, Lao Tzu, the heart of this text is of Siji Tzu.
Green tea is wonderful. There are many words that can describe its aroma, its flavor. I can tell you of the temperature of the tea as I sip it from its cup. The smells that fill my nose just as my tongue tastes the first drips. I can explain to you the benefits of the tea. But, you still have not experienced the tea. You only have a rude concept of what it might be. Unless you sip from the cup yourself, you are not experiencing the real. And this is true with the Dao.
Walk through a garden. Do you see beautiful flowers? If they are beautiful to the eye and nose, then you must also label what is ugly. Describe a neighbor as a good person and another person becomes bad. Loud and quiet. Soft and hard. Before and after. The existence of each creates the other. Teach without word. Study and then forget. Let the tide ebb and flow.
Put a value on items in the village and people will want to steal them. Put a value on leaders and people will want to overthrow them. Prize a songbird and he will become caged. Lose this concept. Empty your mind of such notions. Desires and wants lead you away from the Dao. Wu-wei brings you closer.
Each day I enjoy tea. I talk of it often. I have a wooden container I use each morning to draw water from the well. I bring the water into my home and heat it over a fire. I choose a tea to steep and then enjoy it while watching the sunrise. Each morning I take what I need from the well. Each morning it provides. It has always been there. Perhaps it always will.
Nature does not make one species evil or another pleasant. Nor does she judge the species of their actions. A bird of prey can pounce a harmless mouse. A doe can sip from the river. Each is the same. It does not matter.
As told by the ages, everything is of the Dao. Everything is not the Dao. We are all born with it. We are all born without it. If you will use it, then use it.
What has no beginning can have no end. What has no self-desire is available for all. Separate yourself from possessions and desires and you will be one. Not wanting, you will have everything you need.
Behind me are tall mountain peaks. Behind you is a valley river. The water makes its way from the sky to the peaks. The peaks to the river. Along its journey, a doe will sip from it. A tree will sink its roots into it. A murderer will wash the blood from his hands in it. The water does not care. This is like the Dao. Keep to the simple in thought, in work, in pleasure, in living. When you are content like the river, you will have admiration. But that does not matter.
As I have said before, a teacup can hold a set amount of water. You can pour in all you like, but it will eventually spill over and much will be lost. At a certain level you can be satisfied. The water in the cup is all you need. That which is still in the pot is desires like fame and fortune. Chase it and your cup will spill.
The sun and moon will rise each day. We do not meddle. Have a nice home, but do not possess it. Give to those in need, but do not wait for a thank you. Show your family happiness without forcing them to your defined path of happiness. This is the ultimate virtue.
Wei is what we do. Wu-wei is how we live. We put a roof over our heads to protect us from the elements. But it is the space inside where our family grows. I have a wooden vessel to carry water from my well to my house. But it is the inside that contains the elixir. It is what we don't see that makes us full.
Is a sunset beautiful to a blind man? Is a songbird harmonious to a deaf? Thoughts of this will weaken your mind. Be like a tree bending to the wind. Observe the world, but do not desire it.
You are in everything. Everything is in you. Create hope and fear and you throw away the Dao. Create happiness and sorrow and you will collapse. Keep your feet on the ground. Love everything as you love yourself. Then everything is within your reach.
Focus your eyes on the Dao. There is nothing to see. Tune your ear to its music. There is nothing to hear. Hold the Dao in your hands and it slips through your fingers. Be one with it and fill with true wisdom.
Like our ancient masters, do not seek, do not expect. Stir up the lakebed and watch it settle. Pour water into your teacup, but do not overfill. Enjoy a flower the same in a battlefield just as on a rivers edge. Be like nature and do not judge good from bad. Accept an honorable guest the same as a criminal.
From whence everything came, it returns. And it is to one source that everything is. The wonder of the Dao exists in the wisest sage and in the newborn baby. Those that do not see this fill their life with ever-seeking sadness. Those that can see it awake with a smile to greet the day and a smile to great the end.
A leader that lives among his people is respected. He shops in their stores and does not stand out. He shows respect to everyone he passes. He does not lecture law, but lives the example of it. He gives credit to the people of the community and takes none for himself. There is no telling the leader from the crowd. One that lives above them is despised.
As the Dao fades, law and justice take hold. The great truths are lost and knowledge will flow from a book rather than the heart. The ruling class will discern the loyal from the treacherous and war will loom on the horizon. Lead your sons with your heart, not with your fist.
If there were no books of wisdom, books of sacrament or books of law, would there be war? Take away law and there is peace and harmony. Take away money and value and thieves will vanish. Observe like an oak and the sun will rise in the morning.
Are good and evil different? Do I fear what the next man fears? Such wretchedness. Do not follow who is in front of you for he may fall off a cliff! Drift like a leaf blowing in the wind. Flow like water around an obstruction. Clear your mind and throw your desires away. Nourish yourself in the Dao.
You cannot grasp the Dao. Yet the sage is at one with it always. The sage does not hold firm to concepts, ideas, right or wrong. The Dao is vague and obscure. It is everything and nothing. There is no shape, no form. Yet form and shape are born from it. It is unchanging and has always been. Yet it is always evolving. All this can be seen within. But do not look.
The ancients used to say, "The one who yields becomes whole." In giving up everything, you gain everything. In emptying your mind, it becomes full. In becoming partial you become whole. Teach by acting, not by lecture. Be like the un-carved block. Do not contend or defend. Then people will see themselves in you. Do your work each day then rest.
Live your life with your heart. Meditate in this valley. When the wind brushes your face, be only with the wind. When the rain comes off the mountain, be only with the rain. You with your loved ones, be only with them. Accept, use and embody everything completely.
Balance on one leg and you will fall. Reach for the fruit that is ungraspable and you will starve. Do your work and then rest. Live in the Dao.
Lao Tzu said there are four great powers. The Dao, the Universe, the Earth and Man. Yet these four are all of one. He said, "Man follows the Earth. Earth follows the Universe. Universe follows the Dao. The Dao follows itself."
Wander the land when you can. Take in the scent of flowers but stay serenely within yourself. Keep touch with your source by following your core.
Wander the lands with no intent on getting somewhere. Accept anyone the knocks on your door. Give your sandals to someone that would steal them. The bad that do not value the good, and the good that do not love the bad are lost and confused. This is the essential wonder.
Be like this valley. Accepting sunlight. Accepting rain. Accepting sages and villains. Do this and the Dao will always be with you. Know darkness in this valley. Know the sunlight. The Dao is strong in you. Your tools are from a block of wood. Keep to the block.
The grasses are green in this valley. The clouds are white. The sky is blue and the water will always be wet. That is how they are and there is nothing you can do about it. So stop thinking.
Wake up. Do your work. Rest. Believe in yourself and leave it at that. The planets are in their orbits. The falcon will feed on the rodent. Accept this and the Dao will accept you.
Value peace above all. Opposing armies are filled with your children and your elders. Violence is to be detested.
Look into a microscope and the Dao is there. Look into the sky and it is filled with the Dao. Do not label what is in the lens. Do not label what is above. All waters will flow into the sea, so why think more on it?
Knowledge from a book is intelligence. Sipping the tea is wisdom. You already have all you need.
The Dao is like the river behind you. It creates life where it travels, but does not take credit. It nourishes the fish that swim in it, but doesn't possess them. Man and beast take refreshment and sustenance from it and it never ends. It is therefore great. But it doesn't think so.
When you look into a deep well, you see nothing. Put your ear to it and you hear nothing. Try to smell it and again there is nothing. It would seem a useless thing. Until you use it.
A river can penetrate the toughest rock. A glacier can create the tallest mountain. It is not the work that we admire, but the result.
The Dao has no agenda. So at the end of the day, everything is done. The man that lives in this lives in a peaceful and harmonious home.
The blossoms of a plum tree greatly please the eye, but do not feed the stomach. The cover of a book does not tell the story. If you do nothing, you leave nothing undone. Live simply in the now. Illusions are for the lost.
The lake is peaceful and clear. Jump into it and the water ripples, muck stirs, fish scatter. Step lightly into it and all will remain. Have compassion and practice modesty.
Return to the simple. Yield like the tree in the wind. In the words of Lao Tzu, "All things are born of being. Being is born of all things." Your children are born of your love. Love is realized in your children.
Be as a child and encompass the greatest wisdom. Do not seek, as the Dao is nowhere to be found. The river nourishes all things.
Nothing begot One. The One begot Two and the Two begot Three. The Three gives birth to the ten thousand things. Within the ten thousand things are yin and yang. One will lose by gaining, and will gain by losing. You are always one with the Dao.
A silent parent can give wisdom unto his child. Without a gesture, the child can understand.
Fortune or glory? Which is better? Answer and I will strike you. All you need is already within you. Leave things alone and you will be full.
The true wisdom is found within a child. The oldest tree bends to the wind. The perfect art is an un-carved block. Nature has done her work. Let the Dao speak through it.
Fear is an illusion. An illusion is a lie to the truth. In line with the Dao, plant flowers. Out of line, plant bodies.
Sip tea and achieve. Read books to gain and deteriorate. You need not journey ten thousand miles to see the world. You need not follow a river to know its source.
The knowledgeable have volumes of great works. The wise walk in the tall grasses. The knowledgeable have more research to do; their work is never complete. The wise have nothing to do. The day unfolds on its' own.
The wolf dare not take on a bear alone. It is the pack, acting as one, that gets the job done. Nature tends to those who hunt, and those who are hunted. The sage lives in the world, among his people. He merges his mind with theirs.
When drinking tea, don't talk of coffee. When drinking coffee, don't talk of tea. Wholly give yourself up. Have no illusion about death, your mind or your body. Flow like the oceans waves. Rest after your work is complete.
Everything is a perfect expression of the Dao. In harmony, things take their own course. The ten thousand things are of the Dao. Yet the Dao does not possess any of them. Your nature is to love yourself, and in doing so, loving the Dao, which is all things.
Before the illusion of time existed, there was the Dao. From it, everything comes and everything goes. Judging goes against the Dao. Do so and you will never have peace. Be clear like the undisturbed lake. Be strong like the yielding tree.
The exciting path that runs through the woods is not necessarily the one to be on. It is the easy route that will lead to the Way. The path that promises illusions delivers sadness. In the false, the rich enjoy exotic foods while the poor scramble for scraps.
Look at yourself in a mirror. When you see yourself smile, you feel good. When you smile at others, they feel good. Be true to your nature and you will true to the Dao. It will reflect on your children and your neighbors and spread like the sun.
Do you want the secret of an old age? Do not let yourself become disappointed. Be as effortless as a floating cloud. Go where the winds will take you. Expect nothing. Never be disappointed. Grow old.
Say there are two sages in the village. One openly talking of knowledge and one in silent meditation. The loud one talks to preach his understanding of the Dao. The quiet one does not question it and is content. For he knows all there is to know of the Dao.
Lead by not leading. Do not script laws and concepts. Rid yourself of weapons and fears. Let go of desire and stop valuing items. Your belly will be full and the grass will be green.
People ruled with an iron fist are depressed and plan revolt. People who live among a charitable leader have no fears. Live, as you would want your country to live.
If a tree stands firm to the wind, it will not be around long. Be free from your thoughts. Travel without destination. Make do with what you have, and then let go.
Lead and live in union with the Dao and evil has no room. When there are no enemies there will be plenty of food for everyone.
When you err, admit it, and then correct it. Hide in your error and you have created the ultimate enemy. Everything you need is within your bounds.
You cannot achieve the Dao. Nor can you possess it. It equally accepts the good and the bad. When you make a mistake, you are forgiven.
Do not strive for fame and fortune and have it all. When facing an obstacle, walk around it.
You have heard that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and that the mightiest tree was once a seed. Do not dream of the future. Be calm, take a breath and live now. In the end, it will be a job well done, and you can rest. Do not desire; and forget something each day. Soon, all will be of the Dao.
A clever man is not a good father. The simple man holds the key to the Universe.
A true leader walks with his people. Be no greater than the poorest person and they will respect you.
Lao Tzu had just three things to teach: simplicity, patience and compassion. Look into these words and don't know them, but live them.
To be in harmony with the Dao, be like the child playing sports. Not in it for fame or fortune. Not in it to win. They play to enjoy.
If you are unable to bend, you will break. If you think your enemy as evil, you destroy your three treasures. The greatest victory is when there is no battle.
Try to practice what was said here and you might as well pour your entire vessel of water into the teacup. These words are garbage. Forget them. Look in your heart to understand.
True knowledge is not from a book or even from a wise sage. These are all illusions. Destroy your illusions and don't know. Then you will be whole.
Try to teach and you will confuse your family. Give them nothing to learn and they will learn everything.
The Dao does not speak and it cannot be spoken. It has no design and is nowhere. Yet everywhere is it found and its work is always complete.
You cannot move a mountain with your bare hands nor can you control the flow of a river. The future is quite like this. Things will always change. The river will always flow. Your work will come to an end. Accept things as they are and achieve anything.
Do away with rules of the home. The family will fall into harmony and there will be no struggle lead by not leading.
The tiny goldfish that stands up to a shark will be a tasty dinner. The tiny goldfish that swims around the danger will see another day.
The rich have too much and the poor do not have enough. Balance the scales, but don't take the credit.
A quiet voice of reason is louder than weapons of war.
If you shatter someone's teapot, offer to replace it.
Live a long and healthy life. Be content with your home and your village. Your travels need not leave your home.
And finally, in the parting words of Lao Tzu, "True words are not eloquent; eloquent words are not true." Listen to the silent sage, and then forget.