Wednesday, February 23, 2011

39: Unity with the One


These things of old obtained unity with the one.
Heaven obtained unity and became clear.
Earth obtained unity and became firm.
The spirits obtained unity and became deities.
The valleys obtained unity and became abundant.
All things obtained unity and became animate.
Princes and kings obtained unity and became rulers of the world.
They all obtained unity with the one.
If Heaven were not clear it might rend.
If Earth were not firm it might crumble.
If the spirits were not deities they might wither.
If the valleys were not abundant they might dry up.
If all things were not animate they might perish.
If princes and kings were not exalted they might be overthrown.
The noble must make humility his root.
The high must make the low its base.
That is why princes and kings call themselves orphaned, desolate, unworthy.
Is that not to make humility their root?
The separate parts make no carriage.
So, do not strive for the shine of jade,
But clatter like stone.

Unity with the One

The one is surely Tao, the Way. By conforming to Tao so much that it became unity, the powers of the world were established. Without that unity, they would lose their roots, and their substance would dissolve. This is no greater mystery to Lao Tzu, than it is to us that neither galaxies nor their stars and planets would have appeared without gravity to pull them together...

Here is my full commentary on this Tao Te Ching chapter:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 39 Translation and Commentary

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