Thursday, February 24, 2011

81: The Ideal


True words are not pleasing.
Pleasing words are not true.
Those who are right do not argue.
Those who argue are not right.
Those who know are not learned.
Those who are learned do not know.
The sage does not hoard.
The more he does for others,
The more he has.
The more he thereby gives to others,
The ever more he gets.
Heaven's Way
Is to benefit and not to harm.
The sage's Way
Is to act and not to contend.

The Ideal

The final chapter of the Tao Te Ching sums up the most important aspects of living up to the ideal of Tao, the Way, and what signifies the sage who follows it. The similarities to the Christian ideals, as expressed in the words of Jesus, are obvious...

Here is my full commentary on this Tao Te Ching chapter:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 81 Translation and Commentary


  1. it s the path without destination. why bother for the result? where you re standing is the path, even a blind man knows it,,,,

  2. Thank you for your excellent post Stephen. I found your last comment very interesting. Following the Tao is not easy but for me it has become sort of inevitable. I forget and slip back into old mind patterns but each time it is a little easier for me to notice that I've lost the path. Each time the way back is a little easier. I see this pattern of return growing. I hope that those who practice Tao can let, rather than make, Taoism show them the way.

    Thanks again for your excellent post.


    1. Nice that you are also promoting tao te ching, good luck on your work. Have you ever wonder Tao Te Ching is not a book of Tao but a book of virtues? how many virtues did you see in your readings? Maybe you want to read some rare history on lao zi and probably find that it is not even a book by him.

  3. Very intersting point Mak Jo Si. It is impossible to write a book on Tao because the Tao itself is undescribable. We can however see its effects (virtues.) Well stated.

    Joel Stottlemire, author

  4. I Ching - Not a book of divination but of Wisdom -
    the I Ching is a book of wisdom made from observations of life - one does not divine anything, one casts to remove mans intent to cause an outcome -
    Each trigram represents a situation, If one has what is required and is in the correct place and time 'good fortune' will result otherwise varying fortune and ultimately bad fortune results i.e.
    a good beginning but a bad ending.

    The pairs of lines represent positions in family/society
    a skilled person can reverse engineer by finding the required situation and see what is required to attain the desired outcome or one may cast the arrow stalks (an ingenious early way to randomize) and allow heaven to serve some constructive criticism to contemplate.

    Thank you for your insights I found them valuable.