Lao Tsu’s philosophy is simple: Accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than it is. Study the natural order of things and work with it rather than against it, for to try to change what is only sets up resistance. Nature provides everything without requiring payment or thanks. It does so without discrimination. So let us present the same face to everyone and treat them all as equals, however they may behave. If we watch carefully, we will see that work proceeds more quickly and easily if we stop "trying," if we stop putting in so much extra effort, if we stop looking for results. In the clarity of a still and open mind, truth will be reflected. Te—which may be translated as "virtue" or "strength"—lies always in Tao meaning "the way" or "natural law." In other words: Simply be.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Edition description:||Illustrated Feng/English/Lippe translation|
|Product dimensions:||8.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.40(d)|
About the Author
JANE ENGLISH, whose photographs form an integral part of this book, was born in Boston. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received her doctorate in experimental high energy particle physics from the University of Wisconsin. Her other books and calendars include Different Doorway: Adventures of a Caesarean Born, Fingers Pointing to the Moon, and the IceWisdom Calendar. She lives in Vermont. Her current work may be seen at www.eheart.com.
TOINETTE LIPPE worked at Alfred A. Knopf for more than thirty years. In 1989, she founded the Bell Tower imprint. Her own books include Nothing Left Over: A Plain and Simple Life and Caught in the Act: Reflections on Being, Knowing, and Doing. She now devotes herself to East Asian brush painting and her paintings and cards can be seen at www.toinettelippe.com.
JACOB NEEDLEMAN is professor emeritus of philosophy at San Francisco State University. Among his books are Lost Christianity, The American Soul, and What Is God?. In addition to his teaching and writing, he serves as a consultant in the fields of psychology, education, medical ethics, and philanthropy, and he was featured on Bill Moyers’ acclaimed PBS series, “A World of Ideas.” www.jacobneedleman.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations. These two spring from the same source but differ in name; This appears as darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery.
Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil. Therefore having and not having arise together; Difficult and easy complement each other; Long and short contrast each other; High and low rest upon each other; Voice and sound harmonize each other; Front and back follow each other. Therefore the wise go about doing nothing, teaching -no--talking. The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease, Creating, yet not possessing, Working, yet not taking credit. Work is done, then forgotten. Therefore it lasts forever.
Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling. Not collecting treasures prevents stealing. Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart. The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies, By weakening ambitions and strengthening bones. If people lack knowledge and desire, Then it is best not to interfere. If nothing is done, then all will be well.
The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled. Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things! Blunt the sharpness, Untangle the knot, Soften the glare, Merge with dust. Oh, hidden deep but ever present! I do not know from whence it comes. It is the forefather of the ancestors.
Heaven and earth are impartial; They see the ten thousand things as they are. The wise are impartial; They see the people as they are. The space between heaven and earth is like a bellows. The shape changes but not the form; The more it moves, the more it yields. More words count less. Hold fast to the center.