Home - Dharma for Awakening - Tao Teh King for Awakening–Preface - Brigandage

Brigandage

Part 53 of the Tao Teh King for Awakening

Tao Teh King for Awakening cover
Also available a free PDF download from our E-Library and as an ebook and paperback from Amazon International.

If only I had the tiniest grain of wisdom, I should walk in the Great Way, and my only fear would be to stray from it.

The Great Way is very smooth and straight; and yet the people prefer devious paths.

The court is very clean and well garnished, but the fields are weedy and wild, and the granaries are very empty!

They wear gorgeous clothes, they carry sharp swords, they surfeit themselves with food and drink, they possess more riches than they can use! They are the heralds of brigandage! As for Tao, what do they know about it?

(Tao Teh King 53–Wu translation)

If only I had the tiniest grain of wisdom, I should walk in the Great Way.

We must not forget that Tao means Way. In other philosophies, walking in a “way” means following a prescribed order of thought and action that was formulated by some external authority. It is a process of conformity and intellectual profession. Not so here. Walking the Tao is living in the perfect consciousness that is the Tao, of manifesting the inherent Truth and Reality of the universe itself. The Tao has no basis but itself. No ideas or verbal formulations can establish or explain it. No one who “follows” in any manner understands the Tao, much less expresses It. What is needed is even a tiny grain of wisdom. That living seed will reveal itself as the Tao, for the Tao is not perceived as an object separate from anything.

And my only fear would be to stray from it.

There is a healthy fear: the fear of deviating from the Tao and losing It. For if the Tao is lost, what remains to us? Nothing.

The Great Way is very smooth and straight; And yet the people prefer devious paths.

Our evolutionary path has taken us through many forms in which we have only been parts of something, never a self-sufficient whole. Therefore being part of a herd is deeply conditioned in us. Consequently, however independent-minded we may potentially be, the habit of identifying with others and being part of an association is not just hard to break, it is systemic in our subconscious and therefore totally reflexive. We run with the herd without giving it a thought, even if the running is internalized and basically intellectual/emotional. Since the Path that is the Tao is only walked by a single person at a time, those who need company and support are at a marked disadvantage all the way. Because of this people are strongly attracted to devious, roundabout and ultimately futile paths, for all paths except the Tao are exactly that: futile. We live multitudes of wasted lives as a result.

When I was first in India a man told me the story of a man who went into the astral world and saw a gigantic heap of bones. When he asked what they were he was told that those were the bones of the lives in which he had remembered and sought God. This impressed him very much and he began to think that he might not be appreciating himself enough. All those bones! Then he saw an even bigger mountain of bones. These, he was told, were the bones of the lives in which he did not remember or seek God. Suddenly things were back in perspective!

A person’s mind is like a mirror. If the mirror is bent or distorted in any way it relays a bent or distorted image. So naturally those with flawed minds pursue only flawed paths. This is why Sri Ramakrishna often said: “The mind is everything.” For practically speaking it is.

The court is very clean and well garnished, But the fields are weedy and wild, And the granaries are very empty!

That which is artificial, the creation of man, is well kept and impressive, but that which is of nature, that which is of life itself, is neglected and sterile. Such are those who are alienated from the Tao. Enemies of the Tao, they are enemies of themselves.

They wear gorgeous clothes, they carry sharp swords, they surfeit themselves with food and drink, they possess more riches than they can use! They are the heralds of brigandage! As for Tao, what do they know about it?

Everything looks admirable, but they are embodiments of dishonesty and deceit. In time they shall bring themselves and all society down into the muck and chaos of all that oppose the Tao, the True Way. Such people are forerunners of death and destruction. We who like to boast of our “high standard of living” should pause and reconsider the way along which we find ourselves rushing and being rushed.

Next in the Tao Teh King for Awakening: The Individual and the State

(Visited 107 time, 1 visit today)

Introduction to The Tao Teh King for Awakening

Chapters of The Tao Teh King for Awakening

Preface to The Tao Teh King for Awakening

  1. On the Absolute Tao
  2. The Rise of Relative Opposites
  3. Action Without Deeds
  4. The Character of Tao
  5. Nature
  6. The Spirit of the Valley
  7. Living for Others
  8. Water
  9. The Danger of Overweening Success
  10. Embracing the One
  11. The Utility of Not-Being
  12. The Senses
  13. Praise and Blame
  14. Prehistoric Origins
  15. The Wise Ones of Old
  16. Knowing the Eternal Law
  17. Rulers
  18. The Decline of Tao
  19. Realize the Simple Self
  20. The World and I
  21. Manifestations of Tao
  22. Futility of Contention
  23. Identification with Tao
  24. The Dregs and Tumors of Virtue
  25. The Four Eternal Models
  26. Heaviness and Lightness
  27. On Stealing the Light
  28. Keeping to the Female
  29. Warning Against Interference
  30. Warning Against the Use of Force
  31. Weapons of Evil
  32. Tao is Like the Sea
  33. Knowing Oneself
  34. The Great Tao Flows Everywhere
  35. The Peace of Tao
  36. The Rhythm of Life
  37. World Peace
  38. Degeneration
  39. Unity Through Complements
  40. The Principle of Reversion
  41. Qualities of the Taoist
  42. The Violent Man
  43. The Softest Substance
  44. Be Content
  45. Calm Quietude
  46. Racing Horses
  47. Pursuit of Knowledge
  48. Conquering the World by Inaction
  49. The People’s Hearts
  50. The Preserving of Life
  51. The Mystic Virtue
  52. Stealing the Absolute
  53. Brigandage
  54. The Individual and the State
  55. The Character of the Child
  56. Beyond Honor and Disgrace
  57. The Art of Government
  58. Unobtrusive Government
  59. Be Sparing
  60. Governing a Big Country
  61. Big and Small Countries
  62. The Good Man’s Treasure
  63. Difficult and Easy
  64. Beginning and End
  65. The Grand Harmony
  66. The Lords of the Ravines
  67. The Three Treasures
  68. The Virtue of Not-Contending
  69. Camouflage
  70. They Know Me Not
  71. Sick-Mindedness
  72. On Punishment (1)
  73. On Punishment (2)
  74. On Punishment (3)
  75. On Punishment (4)
  76. Hard and Soft
  77. Bending the Bow
  78. Nothing Weaker than Water
  79. Peace Settlements
  80. The Small Utopia
  81. The Way of Heaven

Visit our e-library page for Free Downloads of this and other ebooks in various formats.

(Visited 107 time, 1 visit today)