Tuesdays with Tao: Three - The Way to Wu-Wei
:: Every Tuesday, I'll be publishing one more chapter of my personal re-interpretation of Lao-tzu's awesomely inspiring and quietly wise Tao Te Ching. Despite being written down some 25 centuries ago, it is a marvel of contemporary insight. The opening chapter, The Essence of Tao, is here; Two To Tango is here.
The first chapter introduced us to "Tao" and some of the inherent paradoxes of trying to describe the indescribable. Last week, the Sage was first invoked as someone who emodies Te -- the way in which Tao manifests in the universe. This week, "wu-wei" or not doing -- that is, taking action with instead of against -- is discussed along with related advice about desire: desire is a distraction from Tao. Much of the first 37 chapters revisit these ideas repeatedly so that gradually you come to "know" what Tao and Te is, without having to "figure it out".
Three - The Way to Wu-Wei
Exalting those who do good works, instead of celebrating the work itself, creates jealousy.
Withholding that which is rare creates artificial value and thus leads to scheming to attain it.
Placing the beautiful out of reach in glass cases quickens the desire to grab it.
Knowing this, the Sage distracts the People by:
Emptying their minds;
Filling their bellies;
Discouraging their ambitions;
Strengthening their bodies.
When the People are not exposed to trivial knowledge, they will not act from desire.
Then even the cunning ones cannot tempt them.
When not-doing is embraced, all is done, nothing is left undone, and peace reigns throughout the land.