is both simple and complex. It is complex when we try to understand
it, and simple when we allow ourselves to experience it".
was perhaps the first 'belief system' of the ancient indigenous
Chinese people and may thus be regarded as that of the 'aboriginal'
population of this, one the oldest civilisations on this planet.
What we now call Taoism was therefore intrinsic to the spiritual,
social and political development of those people and contributory
to the systematising of fundamental 'rules' for "governing
the country and the self". By today's standards these
rules would be considered as, at one extreme, a leaderless
Anarchy, and at the other extreme, an unattainably retrogression
to a simplistic rustic idle. The Tao Teh Ching is in fact
undeniably 'radical', if only for the fact that it projects
forward to us the innermost thoughts or aspirations of peoples
not then burdened with the existential dilemmas which occupy
or even posses most us these days. In this respect - we can't
un-invent all that we have invented since I don't know when;
and we cannot rewrite history, pretending that wars were not
waged, borders redrawn, rulers imposed ... wars waged, borders
redrawn, rulers imposed ... Yes, compared to this 'way' the
Tao that is spoken of in the Tao Teh Ching is radical. It
is radical now as it was then when it was urged in its third
If you do not adulate the worthy, you will make others non-contentious.
If you do not value rare treasures, you will stop others from
If people do not see desirables, they will not be agitated.
Therefore, when the sage governs, He clears peoples minds,
Fills their bellies, Weakens their ambition and
Strengthens their bones.
If the people are kept without cleverness and desire
It will make the intellectuals not dare to meddle.
Acting without contrivance, there is no lack of manageability.
whilst it is (by me) agreed that Taoism and the Tao Teh Ching
is radical in concept, the sympathetic ear may hear that at
the same time that it is no more an observation of the way
things are (now) - rather that the way we would like them
to be (now).
at chapter/verse 1, The Tao Teh Ching began begins with the
Tao can be talked about, but not the Eternal Tao.
Names can be named, but not the Eternal Name.
The philosophy or 'spirit' Taoism as handed down by the Masters
does not claim to have any answers to any questions at all,
and indeed perhaps the only certainty proposed is that any
man made and imposed order is "rivers and mountains"
away from 'the truth'. In the Tao, discriminatory views thinly
veiled as dubious self assertion or as 'certain' are cautiously
verse of the Tao Teh Ching continues:
When all the world recognises beauty as beauty,
this in itself is ugliness.
When all the world recognises good as good,
this in itself is evil.
Take for instance apparent fundamentals such as "good"
and "bad" or "right" and "wrong".
As far as Taoism is concerned all of these are erroneous or
misleading. In Taoism everything is just 'as it is' or 'what
it is' and therefore "right" or "good"
is simply the opposite of "wrong" and "bad"
based upon those afore mentioned preconceived concepts, conditioned
behaviour and cultural expectations. This also applies to
'the way', the 'good way' or the 'right way'. Right and good
are, like names, just words, human constructs that state an
opinion - not what it is, but what we call it.
not that beauty cannot be appreciated, however Taoism asserts
that the natural world is incapable anyway of producing 'wrong'
or 'bad' - and that all apparitions of 'ugly' are again only
those man made - those conceptualized and/or constructed.
'way' (tao) of seeing without conceptualizing is suggested
in the Tao Teh Ching as early as the third verse, which begins:
By not exalting the talented you will cause the people to
cease from rivalry and contention.
By not prizing goods hard to get, you will cause the people
to cease from robbing and stealing.
By not displaying what is desirable, you will cause the people's
hearts to remain undisturbed.
Taoism proposes that to act spontaneously and without desire
of gain (or loss) is the way to become (at) one with the Universe.
This is deduced by non-discriminate observation of nature
and the natural world.
The 'as it is - ness' of nature is that it is in a state of
permanent flux and forever moving effortlessly, without purpose
and without a goal. Once again, the only calculation and constructions
over and above plain survival ... are human.
summary of Taoism began with the admonition that it should
not be talked about; and that despite being ancient in origin
the ideas contained within the Tao Teh Ching are in fact highly
radical. If some of the statements made herewith have caused
you to raise your eyebrows, or wrinkle your forehead and think
'that can't be right', is this not confirmation enough that
"The Eternal Tao cannot (should not) be talked about".
By speaking of it ... I have destroyed it. By trying to conceptualize
it into words I proven no more than what Stanley Rosenthal
said is true: "Tao is both simple and complex. It is
complex when we try to understand it, and simple when we allow
ourselves to experience it".
are another 78 of these short verses that I have not yet made
commentary on, but I think that this is as far as I need to
go for now and I shall bring this to an end here now with
a few personal impressions of this 'way' that may only be
understood through experience ... and not words.
non-violence, non-aggression, non-competition, and compassion
is the essence, and Harmony the basic principle.
composed of all things and all people, and If even one piece
is rejected, the Tao is no more.
in their original simplicity contain natural/pure power -
an innate virtue. This power is easily spoiled/diluted and
lost when the simplicity is changed or complicated by desire
and calculations of personal (material and emotional) loss.
of Tao is therefore to empty yourself of ego, ambition, attachment
and fixed ideas about the way of the world. When that is accomplished,
you can then face life with tranquillity and be able to see
the world as it truly is and be a part of it.
that anything collected or considered valuable, must eventually
But anyway, If you collect objects of value you will only
cause envy and people will seek to take that which you protect.
a lot and you will stop.
human nature to have desires, but you must not become attached
to the desire. The Taoist simply takes care of that which
is necessary - no more and no less - and without ado.
(the Tao) simply moves by following its nature according to
its own principles. It flows effortlessly, without purpose
and without a goal. Therefore, to move and act spontaneously
from your nature and without purpose is the only way that
you too can become one with the Universe.
is the only constant in the Tao.