Thursday, February 24, 2011

76: Life Is Soft and Weak


People are born soft and weak.
They die hard and stiff.
All things such as grass and trees
Are soft and supple in life.
At their death they are withered and dry.
So, the hard and stiff are death's companions.
The soft and weak are life's companions.
The unyielding army will not win.
The rigid tree will be felled.
The rigid and big belong below.
The soft and weak belong above.

Life Is Soft and Weak

Lao Tzu uses drastic imagery, comparing the newborn baby with the dead corpse, the former being soft and the latter stiffening in rigor mortis. The fact that we stiffen after death confirms the point he wants to make...

Here is my full commentary on this Tao Te Ching chapter:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 76 Translation and Commentary

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