Wednesday, February 23, 2011

15: Ancient Excellence


Ancient masters of excellence had a subtle essence,
And a depth too profound to comprehend.
Because they were impossible to comprehend,
I will try to describe them by their appearance.
Cautious, like crossing a river in the winter.
Wary, as if surrounded by strangers.
Dignified, like a guest.
Yielding, like ice about to melt.
Simple, like uncarved wood.
Open, like a valley.
Obscure, like muddy waters.
Who can wait in stillness while the mud settles?
Who can rest until the moment of action?
He who holds on to the Way seeks no excess.
Since he lacks excess,
He can grow old in no need to be renewed.

Ancient Excellence

In the Eastern tradition as well as many other cultures around the world, the past has been regarded as superior to the present. The ancestors were supposed to be wiser and nobler, their society more advanced, and their lives richer in every way...

Here is my full commentary on this Tao Te Ching chapter:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 15 Translation and Commentary

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