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Taoist Philosophy - Chapter 101

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Don’t Make Light Of Your Body


Music and food;
For these passing travelers stop.

The gentleman,
In traveling all day,
Does not get far away from his luggage carts.
When he’s safely inside
A walled-in protected hostel
And resting at ease;
Only then does he transcend all concern.
In the midst of honor and glory,
He lives leisurely,

How can the ruler of a great country
Make light of his body
By rushing about in the empire?

No Heed To Worldly Affairs

“I heard the Master say the true Sage pays no heed to worldly affairs. He seeks no gain but avoids injury. He asks nothing at the hands of man and does not adhere to rigid rules of conduct. Sometimes he says something without speaking and sometimes he speaks without saying anything. To me this is the embodiment of the most wonderful Tao.”

The Active Life

If an expert does not have some problems to vex him, he is unhappy! If a philosopher’s teaching is never attacked, he pines away. If critics have no one on whom to exercise their spite, they are unhappy. All such men are prisoners in the world of objects.

He who wants followers seeks political power. He who wants reputation holds an office. The strong man looks for weights to lift. The brave man looks for an emergency in which he can show bravery. The swordsman wants a battle in which he can swing his sword. Men past their prime prefer a dignified retirement in which they may seem profound. Men experienced in law seek difficult cases to extend the application of laws. Liturgists and musicians like festivals in which they parade their ceremonious talents. The benevolent, the dutiful, are always looking for chances to display virtue.

Where would the gardener be if there were no more weeds? What would become of business without a market of fools? Where would the fools be if there were no pretext for getting jammed together and making noise? What would become of labor if there were no superfluous objects to be made?

Produce! Get results! Make money! Make friends! Make changes! Or you will die of despair!

Those who are caught in the machinery of power take no joy except in activity and change; the whirring of the machine! Whenever an occasion for action presents itself, they are compelled to act; they cannot help themselves. They are inexorably moved, like the machine of which they are a part. Prisoners in the world of objects, they have no choice but to submit to the demands of matter! They are pressed down and crushed by external forces, fashion, the market, events and public opinion. Never in a whole lifetime do they recover their right mind! The active life! What a pity!

And so all these people follow their routine, year in, year out, submerged in their own affairs, and cannot get out. They let their bodily desires run away with them and get tangled up in the thousand and one affairs until they die. Alas!

Flight From The Shadow

There was a man who was so disturbed by the sight of his own shadow and displeased with his own footsteps that he determined to get rid of both. The method he hit upon was to run away from them.

So he got up and ran. But every time he put his foot down there was another step, while his shadow kept up with him without the slightest difficulty.

He attributed his failure to the fact that he was not running fast enough. So he ran faster and faster, without stopping, until he finally dropped dead.

He failed to realize that if he merely stepped into the shade, his shadow would vanish, and if he sat down and stayed still, there would be no more footsteps.

Edited by Marblehead

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The sub-title says:Don't make light of your body

and then in the post the words are:

"How can the ruler of a great country

Make light of his body

By rushing about in the empire?"

What is ment with making light of the body?


Also this verse, similar to yours I think. About peace:

"If you offer music and food

Strangers may stop with you;

But if you accord with the Way

All the people of the world will keep you

In safety, health, community, and peace.

The Way lacks art and flavour;

It can neither be seen nor heard,

But its benefit cannot be exhausted."


Then this one came into mind:

"Beyond the gate of experience flows the Way,

Which is ever greater and more subtle than the world."


Then this:

"Experience is a riverbed,

Its source hidden, forever flowing:

Its entrance, the root of the world,

The Way moves within it:

Draw upon it; it will not run dry."


And this:

"Beneath sensation and memory

The Way is the source of all the world.

How can I understand the source of the world?

By accepting."

Conclusion: Accord with the way, beyond the gate of experience, by accepting within experience. Peace will follow. This is what comes to my mind. But I'm not sure exactly if what you posted is about Peace. Perhaps I'm wandering off here?

Edited by Everything

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Hi Everything,


Wander on my fellow human. Hehehe. I have been known to do that. One thought leads to another.


Yes, the main theme above is on the Manifest, our physical body and caring for it.




"How can the ruler of a great country

Make light of his body

By rushing about in the empire?"


suggests that the ruler should not run around making war on everyone. Back in those days the ruler most often fought along side his troops. When we put ourself in harm's way Murphy's Law will get us eventually. So we wasted the rest of our life in trying to conquer others.


The other parts of the chapter where this came from were used in different areas of my work. Just wanted to talk about taking care of and safeguarding our body in this chapter of mine.

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