Humble Wisdom: ‘Tao Te Ching’ by Lao Tzu

Tao Te Ching

Description

Tao Te Ching, which can be translated from the traditional chinese to The Book of the Way and its Virtue, is an important classic Chinese text.

Written around 600 bce by Taoist Lao Tzu (or Lao Tsu, Lauzi), who was a sage and keeper of records at the court of the Zhou Dynasty.

The Tao Te Ching is an important compilation of maxims from a significant period in the history of Taoist Chinese philosophy, and has strongly influenced Chinese Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism.

Tao Te Ching has often been used by Chinese poets, painters, and calligraphers as a major source of inspiration.

Book Review

The old Chinese sage, Lao Tzu wrote this timeless book primarily as a code of conduct to living.  It contains Lao’s precepts towards following ‘the Way’, and is what one must do to achieve a long, trouble-free and contented life.

The advice offered by Lao, in which he put into two books (combined as one), was mainly for those who governed the people and who held the power to lead by example.  The Emperors, in Lao’s eyes, who were sitting at the top in a somewhat precarious position, appeared to be in more danger compared to most, with probable ambitious plans being drawn against them; traitorous subjects amongst them; and restless citizens to tame.

In my interpretation of what Lao wrote, he seemed to be advising that if one should follow the precepts of ‘the Way’ religiously, one will then attain the virtue and wisdom to not only govern oneself, but to be able to govern the empire towards peace and harmony – and with this, one can survive to very old age.

Another aim of ‘the Way’ is to make those in high positions become humble,  live simply and wisely – this is the only way to achieve true contentedness within oneself whilst at the same time not to harm the people of his kingdom due to personal ambitions.

Now, looking at the book in relation to us ordinary plebs, there is much to learn from it, and its wisdom can be applied to our daily lives.

The Tao Te Ching is relatively a small book with short numbered passages, but with its poetic prose and seemingly hidden treasures, it can take a few readings to unearth the apparent wisdom buried away.

So I recommend you carry this book around with you at all times and make good use of it when your lofty ambitions rears its ugly head.  Because when the need arises for you to read a couple of  passages, you will at once choose to let go of any pompous or competitive ways, and will soon discover that choosing to live a simple and humble life is probably the wiser course of action in regards your own personal well-being.

Apparently, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”…something to think about when you feel the need to be extremely hard with someone you think you have power over.

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”

~ Tao Te Ching

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4 Comments

  1. My favorite-along with Leaves of Grass, The Book of Ecclesiastes and the Essays of Montaigne. Enough good sense there to last 50 lifetimes..

  2. Jason Cooper says:

    I haven’t read “Leaves of Grass” and “The Book of Ecclesiastes”, so I may have to give both of those a go – we do seem to share the same outlook of life so I think they maybe right up my street.

    Thanks again, NP!

  3. Socrates says:

    Terrific post, my friend. The Tao Te Ching is a classic that should be in everybody’s library. There is much to learn from the great Lao Tzu.

    Along with The Analects of Confucius, The Tao Te Ching is one of my all-time favorites. Again, thank you for the excellent post…

  4. Jason Cooper says:

    Thanks again, my friend!

    There is much we can learn from the ancient sages. it’s just a pity that most people today have no idea, or no interest of reading this timeless wisdom so to apply it to their lives, hence the reason I have created this blog.