stan herman

What's Your Favorite Verse -- and Why?

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What's Your Favorite Verse -- and Why?


Don't get me wrong, I like the discussions--the different translations and interpretations and reactions, but what I'm most interested in are the people who speak here, what they find within the Tao most relevant and important to their lives. Refer to any translation/interpretation you like.


So I'll start with a couple of my favorites


36. Power is most secure when not displayed

Large egos are vulnerable to slight

Aggression is vulnerable to counter-attack

High status is vulnerable to failure.



Still, power is the flour of change

Egos provide its yeast

Aggression gives the heat for baking and

Status turns the oven on.


And so the Tao makes bread.



I like this because it seems to me to present a more balanced, truer and dynamic picture of the way the world really works.



37. In the midst of action hides tranquility. Those who find it act without exertion, allowing their natures to select their choices and motions.


Leaders who know tranquility are not obsessed by maximum yields or compelled to self-righteous destinations. Setting aside the weighty burden of an ultimate goal they guide people more gracefully through both difficult and easy times, continuing without concluding.


Though it must be sought, tranquility can not be found by hunting. It eludes the hunter, until, of its own free will, it seeks out the one who awaits it.



This one speaks to me personally. What I have needed to learn through most of my life has been patience and calm. I've been a hard driver and a goal seeker (still am, but less so now). I 'worked hard at' becoming more patient for years without much effect until, quietly it snuck up on me. Maybe it was a matter of aging--like good bourbon?


What about you?

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The basic task of government is to make the populace secure. The security of the populace is based on meeting needs. The basis of meeting needs is in not depriving people of their time. The basis of not depriving people of their time is in minimizing government expenditures. The basis of minimizing government expenditures is moderation of desire. The basis of moderation of desire is in returning to essential nature. The basis of returning to essential nature is in removing the burden of accretions.


Remove the burden of accretions, and there is openness. To be open is to be equanimous. Equanimity is a basic element of the Way; openness is the house of the Way.


- The Huainan Masters, 2nd Century B.C.E.



I'm always on the lookout for basic principles that apply to both the individual and the collective. The Huainan Masters were a little more optimistic toward humanity than the Warring States era of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu that preceded them, hence the egalitarian theme. But this speaks to the corrupting influence that modern consumerism has on individuals and governments.

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but I always check out the 16th chapter of a TTC to determine the translation's emphasis.

To me, that chapter is an eye into the whole volume.

The Guodian chapter 16


Everything do shoulder to shoulder begin to sit down waiting for to return,

having defended the center surefooted, when reaching the zenith of emptiness.

Heaven and Tao are colleagues.

Colleagues do individually return to their bases.



A humoristic but too deep commentary to these Ta Yi Sheng Shui lines:


Below the soil is similar to the word earth.

Above the air is similar to the word heaven.

Tao is also their character; Early Dawn is their name.

Why Tao follows what's duty surely rely on their name.

Therefore is the duty completed and itself prolonged.

Edited by lienshan

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Why because i like it. Um i really dont know beyond that um it just always seemed cool to me.

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My question(s), what evidence or intuition convinces one that new-borns are endowed with integrity and innocence? Does not each infant carry the DNA of all predecessors and breathe in the customs and mores of the race?



I don't know about integrity but I've found babies to have spontaneity and authenticity. Like the fabled zen master they do what they feel without regard to customs, mores or sleeping parent. They'll really cry, laugh and move.


Its hard to genuinely feel the oneness of all things, but holding your baby you can kinda grasp a feeling of oneness with it. You were that, it will be as you.

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