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Taoist Philosophy - Chapter 95

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Profound Virtue


Give birth to them and nourish them.
Give birth to them but don’t try to own them;
Help them to grow but don’t rule them.
This is called Profound Virtue.

To give birth, to nourish,
To give birth without taking possession,
To act without appropriation,
To be chief among men without managing them;
This is the Mystic Virtue.

Leaving Things Alone

I know about letting the world alone, not interfering. I do not know about running things. Letting things alone so that men will not blow their nature out of shape! Not interfering, so that men will not be changed into something they are not! When men do not get twisted and maimed beyond recognition, when they are allowed to live, the purpose of government is achieved.

Too much pleasure? Yang has too much influence. Too much suffering? Yin has too much influence. When one of these outweighs the other, it is as if the seasons come at the wrong times. The balance of cold and heat is destroyed; the body of man suffers.

Too much happiness, too much unhappiness; out of due time, men are thrown off balance. What will they do next? Thought runs wild. No control. They start everything, finish nothing. Here competition begins, here the idea of excellence is born, and robbers appear in the world.

Now the whole world is not enough reward for the “good,” nor enough punishment for the “wicked.” Since now the world itself is not big enough for reward or punishment. How can they find time to be human?

By Taking No Action

By taking no action is not meant folding one’s arms and closing one’s mouth. If we simply let everything act by itself, it will be contented with its nature and destiny. To have no alternative but to rule an empire is not to be forced into doing so by power or punishment. If only Tao is embraced and simplicity cherished, and what has to be is allowed to run its maximum course, then the world will naturally be contented with itself.

Edited by Marblehead

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