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Governing a Big Country

Part 60 of the Tao Teh King for Awakening

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Govern a big country as you would fry a small fish.

Approach the world with the Tao and evil will have no power. Not that evil has no power, but it will not harm people.

Not that evil is not harmful, but the Sage is dedicated to not harming people–even evil people.

When no one hurts another, all will eventually return to the good.

(Tao Teh King 60–Mabry translation)

Govern a big country as you would fry a small fish.

Perhaps this means that the governing of a large country should not intimidate or overwhelm us, but that we should approach it as simply, directly and easily as it is to fry a small fish.

Approach the world with the Tao and evil will have no power. Not that evil has no power, but it will not harm people.

When life is lived according to the divine plan (Tao) evil will not be able to work harm. Those in harmony with the Tao live in a completely other world, though they seem to be in this world with everyone else. Just as a magnet cannot pick up brass, so those who live in perfect rectitude are simply on a different wave length from evil forces and they cannot harm them, cannot even touch them, really. This is seen continually, but it is not noticed, so the lesson is rarely learned.

Often negative occultists have done their evil best to harm others through psychic means but were unable to do so. Aleister Crowley decided to kill Bishop Charles Leadbeater of the Liberal Catholic Church with black magic. After a while the bishop wrote to Crowley asking him to stop, since he had to spend at least ten minutes every month deflecting Crowley’s curses. Infuriated at the idea that it only took ten minutes to dispel what he considered powerful spells, Crowley desisted. I have witnessed similar situations in which occultists bragged about the mayhem they were going to work on a particular person, but could not do a thing. One of my friends, a Coptic Orthodox bishop, came under the notice of a local magician who boasted that he would soon be dead as a result of his magical workings. When his magic did not affect the bishop, he resorted to putting arsenic in his food, but he put so much in it virtually singed the bishop’s nose! So he did not eat it. Meanwhile, at a public meeting the magician was telling his followers that in the morning they would be reading about the bishop’s death. But they did not.

Not that evil is not harmful, but the Sage is dedicated to not harming people–even evil people. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Though a scientific statement, this applies equally well to karma. The Yoga Sutras say that a person perfected in harmlessness cannot be harmed by others. A person who truly loves everyone is particularly shielded. Jesus, the embodiment of divine love, made it very clear to his disciples (and later to Pilate) that he was willing to suffer and die for the welfare of others, but that if he had not been willing, then nothing on earth could touch him. (“Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). “Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above” (John 19:10-11.)

When no one hurts another, all will eventually return to the good. This is a truth that not many groups or nations have cared to try out. However on a small scale it is seen over and over that it is true and can be relied on. Good is contagious. This, too, is rarely tried out.

Next in the Tao Teh King for Awakening: Big and Small Countries

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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

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